Safari in macOS Big Sur Works With 4K HDR and Dolby Vision Content From Netflix on Newer Macs

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Safari 14, introduced in the iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur betas, introduces HDR video support and allows Netflix users to watch content in 4K HDR and Dolby Vision for the first time.


As pointed out by 9to5Mac, Netflix has long offered 4K content that can be viewed on other platforms like the 4K Apple TV, but it has not been available to Mac users due to hardware limitations.


Safari in macOS Catalina and earlier has limited Netflix content to 1080p resolution, but with macOS Big Sur, Netflix works in 4K and supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 for more vivid colors.

Watching 4K HDR content on Mac requires a Mac introduced in 2018 or later, so older Macs will continue to be limited to 1080p resolution on Netflix with macOS Big Sur.

As we covered last week, tvOS 14 and iOS 14 are now compatible with YouTube's VP9 codec, allowing 4K YouTube content to be watched on those platforms, but the codec is not yet supported in Safari 14 in macOS Big Sur.

Article Link: Safari in macOS Big Sur Works With 4K HDR and Dolby Vision Content From Netflix on Newer Macs
 
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Kylo83

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Apr 2, 2020
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will final version allow safari to use 4k on safari and we still cant live stream on safari I have to use chrome
 

konqerror

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Dec 31, 2013
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That looks like it says “mp4” and “hevc”. Sounds like YouTube is supporting H.265. Rather than Apple supporting VP9. If so, that’s a good thing.
The screenshot/article is talking about Netflix, not YouTube. Netflix always supported HEVC.

It was a DRM issue for 4K on the computers, as I recall. They only supported Microsoft PlayReady which requires Edge or Silverlight (when that was still a thing).
 

SoN1NjA

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Feb 3, 2016
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That looks like it says “mp4” and “hevc”. Sounds like YouTube is supporting H.265. Rather than Apple supporting VP9. If so, that’s a good thing.
Google will never support HEVC, not even in hell

Why on Earth would Google spend loads of money developing VP9 and now AV1, all to bow down to Apple who has to flick a switch on their side?
 

CausticSoda

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Feb 14, 2014
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I am of the age where I notice little or no difference when it comes to HD and 4K etc. Most things on my screen look fine to me. Bit I am surprised to see that people paying for 4K Netflix and using Safari have only been viewing Netflix at 1080p. Is that really the case? I have only ever subscribed to Netflix "standard" on the grounds I probably wouldn't notice the difference. I wonder how many people have paid for the "premium" and have only been seeing 1080p anyway, and have not even realised. I may have misunderstood this article after a glass or wine too many, which is probably another reason why I would see little difference anyway.
 

IamTimCook

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Dec 13, 2016
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It's not a hardware limitation. Older MacBook Pros can play H.265 4k content just fine. The only reason it doesn't work is that someone made a decision that it's not supposed to work. DRM isn't a technical necessity.
Agreed. Having the 2017 iMac Pro relegated to 1080p viewing for Netflix and iTunes is the biggest load of....
Both the 2017 iMac and the 2017 iMac Pro have the necessary CPUs for DRM streamed media.
 

ipponrg

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Oct 15, 2008
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Studios probably don't want people to record 4K content from the browser. I'm sure once Netflix realizes this, they'll disallow.
 
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EugW

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Jun 18, 2017
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Agreed. Having the 2017 iMac Pro relegated to 1080p viewing for Netflix and iTunes is the biggest load of....
Both the 2017 iMac and the 2017 iMac Pro have the necessary CPUs for DRM streamed media.
Yes, I specifically bought the 2017 models for this reason. Arrggh. It doesn't really bother me on my MacBook 12, but it's still kinda irksome for my 27" iMac.
 

farewelwilliams

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Jun 18, 2014
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Google will never support HEVC, not even in hell

Why on Earth would Google spend loads of money developing VP9 and now AV1, all to bow down to Apple who has to flick a switch on their side?
because they realized they lost. Macs with Apple Silicon will never have VP9 hardware acceleration while it'll have HEVC encode/decode acceleration.
 

simonmet

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Sep 9, 2012
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Ok so who would watch 4K content on a laptop? I hardly can tell any difference between that and 1080p. Makes sense for large TV's though.
The 15” and 16” Pros are significantly above 1080p resolution, but not 4K; more like 3K for the 16”. That coupled with higher bit-rates and the sharpening effect of downscaling means 4K should look noticeably better compared to 1080p on these laptops—assuming you have the bandwidth! I wouldn’t bother with 4K on a 13” or below however.

A 4K panel on the larger MacBooks would be ideal though.
 
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simonmet

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The article cites no evidence that iOS has VP9, it merely asserts it.
If YouTube is working in 4K and they only use VP9 would that not be evidence? I don’t know if either of these are true, but I’m sure it was mentioned or discussed in one of the WWDC sessions.
 
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