Safari in macOS Big Sur delivers support for 4K Netflix streams with Dolby Vision

in macOS edited August 2020
Apple's upcoming macOS Big Sur update appears to enable 4K video streams encoded using the HEVC codec, delivering Safari support for popular platforms like Netflix.

Safari 4K HDR in Big Sur
Source: Isan Agarwal via Twitter

The forthcoming Safari capability was spotted by Ishan Agarwal, who shared the discovery in a tweet Monday.

During beta testing, Agarwal was served a 4K stream with Dolby Vision while viewing Netflix content on Safari in Big Sur. Dolby Vision is a branded HDR technology used by a variety of video streaming and on demand services to deliver content tailored to high-resolution screens.

Apple currently provides support for both 4K and Dolby Vision on iOS and Apple TV 4K, though access on Mac and macOS is restricted due to software limitations. As it stands, Mac is relegated to 1080p Netflix streams, though Dolby Vision is supported for select content. That will apparently change when Big Sur arrives this fall.

As noted by 9to5Mac, 4K HDR streams are supported on Mac hardware introduced in 2018 or later, meaning older Macs will not be able to take advantage of the Safari improvements under Big Sur.

Apple is working to expand platform support of 4K streaming content. Last week, the company announced iPhone and iPad will be capable of streaming 4K YouTube videos for the first time with iOS 14.


  • Reply 1 of 4
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,941member
    I was thinking I could use an old Mac mini as a more capable media streamer (eg storage), then realised hardware limitations stop that.
  • Reply 2 of 4
    normangnormang Posts: 118member
    I heard that ATV will finally get 4K YouTube, how about the same for Safari 
  • Reply 3 of 4
    egold44egold44 Posts: 14member
    What is the hardware component in an iMac Pro that is missing from a mid-2017 iMac 5K (i7 Kaby Lake, Radeon Pro 580 with 8GB of VRAM) to enable this?
  • Reply 4 of 4
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,577member
    If only YouTube's 4K would run in Safari.  I know it is a codec issue, it is a shame there is no workaround other than using Edge (I refuse to use Chrome).
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