The upcoming macOS Big Sur update will bring 4K HDR content from Netflix. But not all Mac owners will be able to take advantage of the opening opportunities. According to Netflix support documents, only devices released since 2018 and equipped with the Apple T2 security chip will be able to play 4K HDR video. Owners of older models are out of luck.
Currently, only the following devices will be capable of streaming 4K HDR content from Netflix:
- iMac (2020)
- iMac Pro
- Mac Pro (2019)
- Mac mini (2018)
- MacBook Air (2018 and newer)
- MacBook Pro (2018 and newer)
As Apple points out on its website, there is an easy way to check for a T2 chip on a Mac. The corresponding instruction is located at the following address.
So far, it has not been reported why devices without the Apple T2 chip are not capable of playing 4K HDR video (either through the built-in display or through a plug-in monitor). Netflix and Apple did not comment on the situation. Considering Apple’s previous statements, we can assume that this chip acts as a coprocessor and supports the HEVC codec. In October 2018, during a presentation, Apple stated that the T2 chip “transcodes HEVC videos twice as fast as the previous generation.”
It is not clear that Netflix is using HEVC to stream 4K HDR content. But if that is the case, perhaps the T2 chip is playing a key role in ensuring smooth playback of such Netflix videos on Mac.
Source: The Verge