AMD Adds Netflix 4K Support To Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition Drivers
A few days ago, AMD started pushing out a new Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.4.1 driver release that, according to the release notes, introduced support for the April 2018 Update for Windows 10. Other than a handful of bug fixes, there didn't appear to be anything else special about the latest driver package—no game optimizations and no additional features, or so we thought. While not listed in the release notes, AMD's latest GPU drivers enable streaming 4K Ultra HD video from Netflix on your PC.
The added functionality was first spotted by Hardware.info, which noticed that latest driver release has built-in support for Microsoft's PlayReady 3.0, a digital rights management (DRM) scheme that is required for playing back 4K content from Netflix.
It's a bit odd that AMD is not making a bigger deal out of this, or any kind of noise at all. The ability to stream Netflix content in 4K has eluded Radeon graphics card owners up until now, even though it's been available to AMD's rivals for quite some time—NVIDIA added the ability starting with its GeForce 387.96 driver release last year, and starting with Kaby Lake, Intel users running on integrated graphics have had the same luxury since the end of 2016.
There are a few caveats, the most obvious being that a 4K-capable display is required, and it must support HDCP 2.2. Beyond that, however, customers running AMD hardware will also need to stream Netflix through Microsoft's Edge browser if they want to watch content in 4K. And finally, customers need to ensure they are subscribed to Netflix's Premium plan ($13.99 per month)—4K is not available through Netflix's Standard ($10.99/month) and Basic ($7.99/month) subscription plans.
Also be advised that streaming at 4K chews through more data. Users who are on a data cap from their ISP will want to monitor this more closely. Relatively fast Internet connectivity is required, too—Netflix recommends a steady speed of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) or higher.