Chromium-based Microsoft Edge to support HD and 4K Streams (Netflix)

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 3, 2019
Internet Explorer

One of the advantages of running Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 is that you may play certain streaming content in HD or 4K resolutions. All other web browsers that you may use for that, be it Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or any Firefox or Chrome based browsers such as Opera, Vivaldi, or Pale Moon, can't play certain media streams, e.g. those from Netflix, in 1080p or 4K officially.

While there are extensions available for Chrome and Firefox to raise the 720p default to 1080p, nothing emerged up until now to unlock 4K streaming in those browsers on Netflix as well.

The only other option on Windows, any version or edition of Windows, to play Netflix in 4K is to use the official Windows 10 Netflix app.

While there is a possibility to run Windows 10 in a virtual machine to play streams in unsupported resolutions, it is not the best of options.

Microsoft's announcement that upcoming versions of the Microsoft Edge browser would use Chromium as its core may have left some users puzzled whether the new browser would also support 4K streams on Netflix.

The answer is yes, as it turns out. The latest leaked version of the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser supports WideVine and PlayReady, and thus 4K Netflix streams. The browser is still in active development and the option to unlock HD and 4K streams is found behind flags currently.

edge chromium 4k netflix

Users who have access to the leaked version of Microsoft Edge or official access on Windows 10 may enable the flags in the following ways (note that it requires build *.111 or later).

  1. Install HEVC Video Extensions from Device Manufacturer from the Microsoft Store.
  2. Load edge://flags in the browser's address bar.
  3. Search for Windows 10.
  4. Set "PlayReady DRM for Windows 10" to Enabled.
  5. Set "PlayReady Experimental HEVC Decoding" to Enabled.
  6. Restart Microsoft Edge.

The feature is only available on Windows 10 and there is no sign that Microsoft will bring it to earlier versions of Windows or versions of the new Microsoft Edge browser for Linux or Mac OS X.

Closing Words

Microsoft needs features that differentiate its Chromium-based Edge browser from the world's most popular browser Google Chrome. Features like this, 4K playback on Netflix, may appeal to a small but dedicated audience. If Microsoft manages to support enough features that make it unique, it could become more popular than the current version of Edge.

Whether that is enough to usurp Google Chrome remains to be seen.

Now You: What would you like to see supported in the new Edge? (via Deskmodder / Reddit)

Chromium-based Microsoft Edge to support HD and 4K Streams (Netflix)
Article Name
Chromium-based Microsoft Edge to support HD and 4K Streams (Netflix)
The upcoming Chromium-based Microsoft Edge web browser will support 1080p and 4K stream resolutions on Netflix (and probably other services).
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  1. Miserable Old Coot said on April 5, 2019 at 4:30 am

    Anti-trust laws, goodbye! Corporate Overlords, Hello. – NJ times 2010
    Web developers love them; meet Google, simplifying web design one browser at a time – Huff Puff, Nov 2017
    Another day, another dollar, another conglomerate absorbed by GOOG, Invest now – Business Insidher, Aug 2019
    The Internet backbone is broken and has been replaced with KY Jelly – FoolTimes, April 2020
    Business 101: Embrace, extend, extinguish: The number 1 selling book written by Sundar Pichai- Read The Lies, Jan 2028
    The last major website running HTTPS has been upgraded to GGLS, a faster and more secure internet protocol developed by Google – Tech News, 2025

  2. user17843 said on April 4, 2019 at 9:55 am

    If they do it right (replacing IE with Edge everywhere) and inform their users (around 800 million windows users) about the new browser, they just might become a serious competition on the browser market overnight with this simple move of adopting chromium.

    I would not think twice about using it if I had a Windows system.

    If they get a slight increase in market share over the coming months, Edgewill quickly become the second biggest desktop browser. IE and Edge together already have around 10%.

    With chromium they can focus of creating windows specific features like this, which will over time make their users prefer Edge.

    1. user17843 said on April 4, 2019 at 10:22 am

      Correction: Around 1.5 billion Windows users. Also Edge will be available for the 100 Million or so Mac users.

      The low number of IE + Edge users despite the high windows user base is proof that people proactively chose the browser they want to use. But it also means, if Edge delivers a great browser, that their 1.5 billion user base will offer them a big headstart.

      1. Niklas said on April 4, 2019 at 12:45 pm

        It’s too late. Chrome has to mess up the browser for making people to switch, like Microsoft did with IE. And most people are tied to Google’s ecosystem, they sync their settings, bookmarks with their Google account. I don’t see why a Chrome user would want to switch to Edge, unless he is a Microsoft fanboy. I dare to say that out of these 1,5 billion Windows users, only a small minority are Windows fanboys and already were using Edge. The majority use Windows out of necessarity or because they don’t know that other dekstop operating systems exist.

      2. user17843 said on April 4, 2019 at 5:50 pm

        its never too late if you have 1.5 billion users to freely market your product to.

  3. AB said on April 4, 2019 at 5:52 am

    Netflix.. who cares. They are going to lose all movies and TV shows from Warner, FOX, Disney, Marvel and DC this year and Universal the next year. Disney+ with Disney, FOX, Pixar, National Geograhic and WarnerMedia with Warner, New Line, DC, HBO are the future.

  4. Supergirl said on April 3, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    Nice Blockbuster move there,Netflix!

    Not that Im advocating it but most of their stuff is freely obtainable on the web in 1080p.

    Wow, partnering with M$ is really like putting a noose around your own neck & then paying them to beat you up.

    I wonder how that would work out?

  5. Yuliya said on April 3, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    Going through all these hoops, using specific hardware and specific software, and paying for the priviledge of being forced to do so, just to be able to watch a damn movie/series
    Just go to The Pirate Bay and download whatever I want

    decisions, decisions…

    1. Anonymous said on September 18, 2019 at 1:02 am

      Pirate Bay? LOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!! Try to keep up.

  6. Abe said on April 3, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Wonder if Chromium-based Edge will support Amazon Prime Video in 5.1 surround sound.

    1. ilev said on April 3, 2019 at 7:40 pm

      Wonder if Chromium-based Edge will support YouTube’s 4K & 8K video.

      1. Anonymous said on May 24, 2019 at 4:39 am

        What? Every browser supports that.

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