Safari in macOS Big Sur supports Dolby Vision and 4K HDR content from Netflix, but only with newer Macs

Hardware limitations have made Mac users miss the boat when it comes to 4K HDR and Dolby Vision content from streamers like Netflix when using the Safari web browser, but it looks like that little hurdle has finally been put behind us.

As first reported by 9to5Mac on Monday, Apple will soon let the public enjoy 4K HDR and Dolby Vision content on their Macs, directly within Safari, with the upcoming release of macOS 11.0 Big Sur later this year. Up to this point, Safari has limited viewing to 1080p HD, so even though Netflix has added content that supports the better resolution and higher detail, Macs have missed out.

But while macOS Big Sur will correct this issue, there’s a bit of a catch. The report also notes that hardware limitations will still play a role, but only for older Macs. Specifically, this new support for 4K HDR and Dolby Vision content will only be available from Macs released in 2018 or newer (and those running macOS Big Sur, obviously). If you have a Mac older than that, this new feature support in Safari won’t be available.

This is a big win for folks who use Safari to watch Netflix, and who want to enjoy HDR10 and Dolby Vision content (when available). But we’re still waiting for YouTube support for Macs, because macOS Big Sur doesn’t appear to add support for the VP9 codec. (iOS 14 and tvOS 14 do, though, so 4K YouTube content will be available on the Apple TV 4K and select iOS devices beginning later this year.)

What do you think of this change? Will you be happy to take advantage of the support once it rolls out this fall?