Netflix 4K HDR is sealed in macOS 11 using an Apple security chip

The streaming service requires that users have an additional T2 processor in their machine – and this is only available from the 2018 vintage.

With macOS 11 alias Big Sur it is possible for the first time to play 4K videos in HDR quality in the Apple browser Safari – this applies to before especially Netflix. The new operating system, which appears in a few weeks, only fulfills this long-cherished wish of users if the hardware is right. It had been known for a long time that it had to be a newer Mac from the 2018 vintage. Now it has been shown that this not only has something to do with performance aspects – it is also about copy protection measures on the part of the streaming services.

Requirements as well for the connection of external displays

Because Netflix requires, as a new auxiliary document explicitly states, that the Apple computer has the latest security chip T2, which, among other things, is used for SSD encryption and control of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor responsible is. “Ultra HD”, as Netflix 4K HDR also calls it, therefore only works on “selected Macs from 2018 or later with an Apple T2 security chip”.

In addition, every display that you needs to be connected to the computer via an HDCP 2.2 connection, up to 4K at 60 Hertz is possible here.

Which Macs are allowed to play

What is confusing about the requirement is that 4K HDR can be played on Windows computers without an integrated security chip – something comparable to the T2 does not exist here. Netflix is ​​more aggressive when it comes to copy protection on Macs than on Windows. The devices that meet the necessary requirements are the iMac from 2020, the iMac Pro, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro from 2018, and Mac mini from 2018 and Mac Pro from 2019.

In When it comes to HDR, Safari in Big Sur can now play back Dolby Vision or high dynamic range content according to HDR10 if the Mac is compatible. Another new technology that Safari 14 supports for the first time is the Google WEBP image format, which is displayed directly in addition to JPEG, PNG and GIF; Mac users previously needed alternative browsers such as Chrome or Firefox.