How to get Netflix 1080p or 4K on non-Windows 10 devices

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 24, 2017
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Music and Video, Windows 10

The web browser and/or device determines the highest quality level (resolution) that you get when you play TV shows or movies on Netflix.

You get 1080p and 4k playback only in Microsoft Edge currently when it comes to web browsers. This means, that you get that only if your computer runs Windows 10, Microsoft's newest operating system.

Note: Internet Explorer and Safari support up to 1080p on Netflix, but Edge is the only browser that supports up to 4K playback.

If you run any other operating system, or a different web browser on Windows 10, all you get is a maximum of 720p instead.

There are other requirements that devices need to meet for 1080p or -- god beware -- 4K playback on Netflix. The Internet connection speed needs to support at least 5 Megabits per second, and you need to be subscribed to a plan that supports the resolution as well.

Tip: check out Netflix's system requirements for additional details on the requirements.

How to get Netflix 1080p on non-Windows 10 devices

netflix 1080p non-windows 10

What if you don't have access to a device running Windows 10, or don't want to use Microsoft Edge or the Netflix application for Windows 10, to watch shows and movies on Netflix?

There is a solution for the former issue, but not for the latter. In short, you may use a virtual machine image of Windows 10 to run Netflix using Microsoft Edge or the Netflix application for Windows 10.

Note that this requires fairly modern hardware as running anything in a virtual machine puts more strain on the system. Still, if you want 1080p playback or even 4K playback, and don't have access to other means, this is your only option for that.

Check out our instructions on how to run Microsoft Edge using a virtual machine which we published recently. Basically, what it involves is downloading and installing a free VM software such as Oracle's VirtualBox, and installing a freely available trial version of Windows 10 as a virtual machine using it.

All that is left then is to start the virtual machine, open Microsoft Edge, then Netflix in the browser, to use it as if you'd use it on the local system.

You need to sign in to Netflix, and may use the Ctrl-Shift-Alt-S shortcut to check out the bitrates that you get. Make sure that Netflix is configured to deliver HD content (not to auto).

There is little that you can do if you notice stutters or artifacts though on the screen, as it is likely hardware related in that case. You may try the Netflix app for Windows 10 as well, as it may run better than Netflix in the browser.

To use it, open Windows Store, search for Netflix and install the application. Please note that you need to sign in once with a Microsoft account to install the application.

netflix app 1080

Start the Netflix application afterwards, sign in, and start playback. Preliminary tests on a moderate system have shown that playback is more fluent in the application than Edge.

The shortcut Ctrl-Shift-Alt-S works in the Netflix application as well, and you may use it to override the default bitrate to increase or decrease the quality of the stream.

Another benefit of running the application is that you may download some Netflix shows and movies to the local system. This removes the connection speed as a parameter for playback, and may improve the overall experience further.

Closing Words

If you want 1080p or higher playback on Netflix but don't use Windows 10, running Edge or the Netflix app in a Windows 10 virtual machine may be one option to achieve that. Considering that it takes quite a bit of effort to set things up, and that you need fairly powerful hardware on top of that, it is probably not a solution for the masses but for fans who want the best streaming quality on their devices.

Now you: 720p, 1080p or 4k quality, do you care about those on your computer?

How to get Netflix 1080p or 4K on non-Windows 10 devices
Article Name
How to get Netflix 1080p or 4K on non-Windows 10 devices
Find out how stream Netflix shows and movies in 1080p or 4K quality on devices that don't run Microsoft's new operating system Windows 10.
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  1. JG said on February 11, 2018 at 1:11 pm
  2. Robert Ab said on April 25, 2017 at 5:40 am

    Thank you for your effort. It is really nice to know that there is a way to play 1080p (or 4K) Netflix video on Win7.
    It is also good to know, that Netflix app plays Netflix movies more fluently than Edge.

  3. Suli said on April 25, 2017 at 2:17 am

    Really Netflix? I have to go through the trouble of installing a VM, and installing Windows 10 in a VM to have the pleasure of streaming 1080p in the browser? No thanks.

    This as well as today’s other story about the new Microsoft tool to remove DRM that Windows Media Player automatically added to audio files are just more reasons to hate DRM. To the technically savvy, these draconian measures only make Piracy more attractive.

  4. Robert Ab said on April 24, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Thank you for your effort. It is really nice to know that there is a way to play 1080p (or 4K) Netflix video on Win7.
    It is also good to know, that Netflix app plays Netflix movies more fluently than Edge.

  5. P said on April 24, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    It’s sad M$ has to rely on proprietary deals with netflix to get people to use Windows 10.

    1. Robert Ab said on April 24, 2017 at 10:11 pm

      M$ was even making announcement about it, that Edge in Win10 is the only browser capable of playing 4K.
      But Google is not better. Their Chromebooks and Chromecasts are also 4K Netflix capable.

      1. Kristian said on February 20, 2018 at 4:19 pm

        Google is better. They have made every single product more than capable of 4K playback. Chrome can do it just fine, Netflix just doesn’t care.

  6. DarkTheme said on April 24, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Maybe one day Google and Firefox managed to do a good job of GPU rendering and will be able to add support at these high resolutions.

    1. Robert Ab said on April 25, 2017 at 1:30 am

      I can play 4K Youtube video on Chrome installed on Win7. But at the same time max resolution for Netflix is 720p, because of DRM mechanisms.

      1. Kristian said on February 20, 2018 at 4:17 pm

        Yeah seriously.

        I can play back 4K 360° videos on Linux, in Chrome it’s flawless and in Firefox it’s a bit sluggish.

        There’s no technical reason for Netflix to not support higher resolutions in Chrome or Firefox, especially not Chrome. They just plain don’t want to do it.

        And I mean I kinda get it. There’s the Windows app, Edge, Safari, Chromecast, tablets and phones, all supporting 1080p and up, and they probably make up the vast majority of subscribers. People with Windows/Linux watching in Chrome/Firefox probably aren’t that big of a group.

    2. Robert Ab said on April 24, 2017 at 10:08 pm

      I can play 4K Youtube and only 720p Netflix video on Chrome on my Win7. So it is not about Chrome.

    3. bwat47 said on April 24, 2017 at 8:36 pm

      both firefox and chrome already support gpu accelerated decoding (at least on windows/osx)

    4. Stanford McDonald said on April 24, 2017 at 7:25 pm

      GPU render is not the issue it’s DRM support.

  7. Yuliya said on April 24, 2017 at 11:39 am

    They’re really making piracy look like the inferior solution /s All this fiddling to get decent quality is ridiculous, on top of other DRM restrictions. No, a VM is 20GB in size. That’s like 20GB more than what’s worth of wasted space on software to get the ‘priviledge’ of streaming netflix in an acceptable resolution. Netflix should either make these resolutions available on a cross platform browser or just sod of with their streaming disservice.

  8. Heimen Stoffels said on April 24, 2017 at 11:36 am

    I still don’t get it. I’ve been using Linux for years and I really do get 1080p Netflix playback in Chromium(-based browsers). I haven’t ever done any tweak. Not sure why, maybe they’ve enabled it for some non-Windows users only?

    (and I do get 1080p and 4K Netflix playback on our Smart TV as well but that probably doesn’t count :P)

    1. Benz said on August 8, 2017 at 11:53 pm

      Are you sure? Does alt-ctrl-shift-D show 1920×1080?

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