According to a Netflix support document, an Apple T2 Security chip is required to stream Netflix in 4K HDR on a Mac. “What that hardware requirement means is that only recent Macs have the ability to play UHD content from Netflix,” reports Engadget. From the report:
Here’s the full list of T2-equipped Macs: 2018 or later MacBook Pro, 2018 or later MacBook Air, 2018 Mac mini, 2019 Mac Pro, iMac Pro and 2020 iMac. If you’re not sure whether your Mac has the necessary hardware, you can find out by following the steps Apple details on its website. The Verge suggests the requirement could have something to do with the T2 chip’s ability to process HEVC encoded videos. On its webpage for the iMac, Apple says the coprocessor can transcode HEVC video up to twice as fast as its previous generation T1 chip. If Netflix is encoding streams using HEVC, that could explain the requirement. Whatever the case, we’ve reached out to both Apple and Netflix for more information, and we’ll update this article when we hear back from them. There are some other requirements too. In addition to having a T2-equipped Mac, you’ll need macOS Big Sur, a Premium Netflix subscription, and the Safari browser – other browsers will limit you to 720p on a Mac.