Barely a year after Intel revealed then-exclusive support for PlayReady 3 and hence Netflix 4K on their Kaby Lake platform, and nine months after NVIDIA previewed support on Pascal-based GPUs, AMD finally appear to be getting their ducks in a row with Microsoft's DRM schema. Buried within the review guide for Ryzen APUs and the Raven Ridge platform is news that driver support for PlayReady 3.0 will finally be coming in Q2 2018 (as reported by Hardware.info). The guide is quoted as stating the following:
Please note that HDCP 1.4/2.2 are supported for the purposes of streaming 4K+HDR content. AMD intends to have a production PlayReady 3-capable graphics driver in early Q2.
PlayReady 3 is the hardware DRM wrapper developed by Microsoft which provides end-to-end copy protection specifically for high resolution content, such as Netflix 4K streams. It specifically requires HDCP 2.2 over HDMI 2.0 support, something which AMD's Polaris and Vega architectures should be capable of, but also certification as a Trusted Execution Environment platform (i.e. SL3000 certified). Even if all the hardware requirements are met support at the driver level is necessary for playback. It goes without saying that streamed content for APUs is an important use case, hence AMD's note in review guide.
So, AMD Radeon is getting Netflix 4k support in the very near future. Great huh? Well, there is a problem: in a lack of foresight that is almost typical of AMD the vast majority of 300-series motherboards with integrated video-out are currently equipped with HDMI 1.4 ports, not HDMI 2.0. As a result all those fancy APUs launched this week will require a new motherboard to support Netflix 4K due to a particularly myopic decision not to demand support for the latest video I/O standards from partners.
This is an echo of the AMD Radeon R9 Fury which, despite its flagship GPU status and their competitor's own roll-out of HDMI 2.0a support across the 900-series the previous year, was also limited to HDMI 1.4. Thankfully it appears that Raven Ridge-based laptops launched late last year, such as the HP Envy, are properly equipped with the necessary ports.
In fairness, official NVIDIA support for Netflix 4K through their driver has been decidedly uneven. And of course the green team don't have a consumer motherboard chipset to maintain. Maybe we should cut AMD some slack... But that's easy to say when I'm not forced to fork out $100+ for a new 400-series motherboard due to poor planning and failure to launch the HDMI 2.0 compliant motherboards alongside the Ryzen APUs. If you're planning on building a PC specifically for use as a Home Theatre take a very close look at the parts in your build for compliance.
Netflix 4K on PC also requires an HDCP 2.2 and HDMI 2.0 compliant monitor, and use of the Microsoft Edge browser or Windows 10 Netflix app.
SOURCE: Hardware.info (Dutch)