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13 Best Ways to Fix Netflix Not Playing in 4K on PC

by Gaurav Bidasaria
Fix Netflix Not Playing in 4K on PC

Netflix has different plans that offer content in different streaming qualities all the way up to 4K. Because 4K content is reserved for the top tier plan, users often are frustrated when Netflix doesn’t play content in 4K on their Windows PC. Not everyone streams on smart TVs, eh? Here’s how to troubleshoot Netflix not playing content in 4K on Windows PC.

1. Check Your Plan

4K content requires you to subscribe to Netflix’s Premium plan which costs $19.99 monthly. Maybe you or someone with access to your Netflix account downgraded the plan?

netflix change plans

To check, open the Netflix Change Plan page. Your current plan will have a blue check on the left. You can view all the available plans here and what they offer and if needed, upgrade.

2. Check Internet Speed

You require decent internet speeds to stream Netflix content in 4K resolution. Netflix recommends a minimum of 15Mbps for 4K but most experts say it is more like 25Mbps.

netflix 4k streaming internet recomendations

Netflix app checks your internet speed and adjusts the quality in real-time accordingly. You can use Fast.com, also owned by Netflix, to check your internet speed.

3. Hardware Requirements

Your Windows PC needs to meet some hardware criteria before it can stream Netflix in 4K resolution.

  • 60hz display with support for HDCP 2.2. HDCP is used to protect copyright content while streaming to external monitors using HDMI cables.
  • Intel 7th gen core CPU or above or AMD Ryzen CPU integrated graphics card
  • HEVC Codec that can be downloaded on Microsoft Store but most PC already have it so do check before buying.

You check your system specifications in Settings > System > About.

check windows specifications

Download Speccy to view even more details like display resolution and frequency which are also in the prerequisites list.

Note: If you are using an HDMI 2.0 cable or adapter, make sure it supports 4K at 60Hz and is rated for 18Gbps or more.

4. Netflix Playback Settings

Netflix allows you to control playback settings for most users, set to default settings where Netflix automatically decides the playback quality based on internet speed. However, you may visit the Netflix Playback page from Auto to High to force Netflix to play in 4K on your PC.

netflix playback settings

5. For Dual Monitors Setup

If you are using more than one monitor then each monitor must meet the criteria set above. Or else, you will have to disconnect the ones that don’t meet the criteria even if you are watching 4K content on a monitor that does meet the criteria.

Pro Tip: How to Remove Titles From Continue Watching List on Netflix

6. Check Netflix Status

Netflix serves the whole world and as such, they have servers across the planet. Sometimes, it experiences downtime which may lead to lower video quality while streaming content. If Netflix is not playing 4K on your PC, visit Netflix Status page or Downdetector to check for outages.

check netflix outage status

7. Number of Devices

Netflix allows users to create multiple profiles for different family members. That means more people in the household streaming content which may put a strain on your internet speed. Multiply 25Mbps by the number of people you have under one roof to make sure everyone has enough bandwidth to support 4K streaming.

8. Content Availability

Not all content is available in 4K quality. Netflix specials and originals are shot in 4K these days but some movies and web series are still only 1080p. How do you know?

netflix 4K, DV, UHD content

Shows and movies that are shot in 4K are marked with UHD (Ultra High Definition) or 4K or DV (Dolby Vision). You should see the logo underneath the play button. They all mean the same thing but depending on which country you are in, content may be marked differently. I know this is slightly confusing but it is what it is.

9. Supported Browsers, Apps, and OS

Chrome is one of the most used browsers in the world but guess what? Netflix will not play content in 4K on your Windows PC if you are using Chrome to stream. On Windows, you either have to use the Edge browser or download the official Netflix app from the Microsoft Store.

Chrome only supports up to 720p on Windows and Linux and 1080p on ChromeOS and macOS out of the box. There are some extensions that may help but for the best experience, get Edge or the desktop app.

Finally, 4K streaming is supported by Windows 10 and 11 only which is another reason why you should ditch Windows 7.

10. Enable Hardware Acceleration

Edge browser needs hardware acceleration to be enabled in order to be able to let Netflix play 4K content on PC.

1. Open Edge browser and under the hamburger menu, select Settings.

edge browser settings

2. Under System and performance, enable Use hardware acceleration when available option.

enable hardware acceleration in edge on windows pc

Must Read: Watching Netflix with friends? Here is how to throw a Netflix party on TV.

11. Check If Netflix Is Playing in 4K

Even if the content is playing in 4K on your Windows PC, how do you know? A lot of people find it hard to differentiate between HD and UHD content.

Play any movie that is marked UHD or 4K or DV on Netflix and when the movie begins streaming, press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+D on your keyboard.

check netflix streaming quality

If the Playing bitrate is 3840×2160, then you are streaming in 4K alright, and have nothing to worry about.

Note: The reason why you see a black screen in the screenshot above is that the content is DRM protected. Netflix doesn’t allow screenshots or screen recordings to protect its rights.

12. Windows Display Settings

Here is how you can check if your Windows computer screen supports HDR and 4K resolution.

1. Press Windows+I to open Settings.

2. Go to System from the sidebar and click on Display.

windows display settings

3. Click on HDR.

windows HDR settings

4. You can choose the display from the drop-down menu to check if HDR is supported or not.

check if windows supports HDR

5. Now go back to the previous screen. The Display resolution should be, as noted in the above section, 3840×2160. If not select it from the drop-down menu.

windows display resolution settings to play 4k content

13. Update Video and Display Drivers

Display or graphics card or video drivers may be outdated preventing Netflix from displaying content in 4K on your PC even if you meet other criteria. Let’s fix that.

1. Press Windows key and search for Device Manager.

windows device manager

2. Right-click on the graphics card, integrated or dedicated, and select Update driver from the context menu.

update graphics card driver on windows

3. In the same context menu, if you select Properties, you can also try uninstalling and reinstalling or rolling back updates. Click on Uninstall Device to uninstall drivers. Reboot the computer to reinstall drivers automatically. If an update was installed recently, click on Roll Back Driver to remove those updates.

u[date, rollback, and uninstall/reinstall drivers

Here is an extensive guide on how to find and install drivers for your computer.

Netflix, Now in 4K

There are several reasons why Netflix would not play content in 4K on your Windows 10 or 11 PC. And when it does stream in 4K, how would you know? Hopefully, this guide answers all these questions. Go Netflix and chill.

Wait, not happy with Netflix and want to cancel? Learn what happens when you cancel your Netflix subscription.

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