An update to Safari in the developer version of macOS Big Sur brings a long missing, frequently requested function: support for 4K HDR streams from Netflix. Apple TV also gets support for the VP9 video codec, so Apple TV 4K owners can finally watch 4K YouTube videos in this device's YouTube app.
Both changes affect frustrations that users in the Apple ecosystem have had while consuming video content. The Apple TV 4K is positioned as the most powerful consumer streaming box in the world, but does not support higher resolutions for one of the world's most popular apps. And although Macs are less in demand for 4K HDR, since most Macs don't have 4K or full HDR screens, this is a welcome change for those who use external displays that support these things.
However, there is an important limitation. 4K HDR Netflix streams are only supported on a few Macs. Only the 2018 or 2019 MacBook Pro models and the iMac Pro support HDR on the device's own display (again, the technical data does not meet the same HDR brightness standards as high-end televisions). These machines, as well as the 2018 Mac mini and 2019 Mac Pro, can run HDR on external displays.
Even though the Apple TV YouTube app was 4K capable, Big Sur & # 39; s Safari doesn't seem to have been updated to get the same features on YouTube. However, that could change until Big Sur is finally released.
In theory, adding HDR support to Safari on Macs isn't just for Netflix. However, this is the first publicly known example. The Twitter user Ishan Agarwal has shared a screenshot that proves that the functionality is available. He made this discovery when he noticed that the video he saw on Netflix was played in 4K and Dolby Vision, a popular HDR standard. 9to5Mac reported the tweet and shared the story with more people.
It's worth noting that AirPlay 2 newly supports 4K in iOS 14 and Big Sur. So this seems to be part of a concerted 4K push from Apple on all platforms. In a development that is only tangentially related, the Apple TV app on LG TVs now supports Dolby Atmos.
iOS 14, tvOS 14 and macOS Big Sur are still in a test phase with developers, so some things could change before they are released, but things are here now.