Netflix will only stream in 4K to Macs that have a T2 security chip

Only Macs released since 2018 include the co-processor.

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2020 MacBook Air
Dana Wollman / Engadget

When Apple releases macOS Big Sur later this year, Mac users will finally have the chance to start streaming Netflix in 4K HDR on their computer. But you’ll need more than a 4K-capable display to do so. In a support document spotted by Apple Terminal (via 9to5Mac), Netflix says you’ll also need a computer with a T2 Security chip. With that hardware requirement means is that only recent Macs have the ability to play UHD content from Netflix.

Here’s the full list of T2-equipped Macs: 2018 or later MacBook Pro, 2018 or later MacBook Air, 2018 Mac mini, 2019 Mac Pro, iMac Pro and 2020 iMac. If you’re not sure whether your Mac has the necessary hardware, you can find out by following the steps Apple details on its website.

The Verge suggests the requirement could have something to do with the T2 chip’s ability to process HEVC encoded videos. On its webpage for the iMac, Apple says the coprocessor can transcode HEVC video up to twice as fast as its previous generation T1 chip. If Netflix is encoding streams using HEVC, that could explain the requirement. Whatever the case, we’ve reached out to both Apple and Netflix for more information, and we’ll update this article when we hear back from them.

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If you do have a T2-equipped Mac, you’ll need to keep a couple of other requirements in mind. Obviously, macOS Big Sur is a must, but don’t forget you also need to subscribe to Netflix’s $16 per month Premium plan. Lastly, you can only stream 4K content through Safari; other browsers will limit you to 720p on a Mac.

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