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Microsoft’s “Edge” is The Only Browser for Netflix in 4K on PC Machines

by on March 30, 2017
 

Stephan Jukic – March 30, 2017

4K content streaming from sources like Netflix has finally arrived to PCs and notebooks in 2017 but with some hefty conditions attached to it, just as was the case with some of the earliest 4K ultra HD TVs. Among the requirements to actually get 4K UHD streams to your Windows machine, you first need to make sure it is in fact a Windows machine since Windows 10 is the only OS today that supports 4K video from a source like Netflix.

Another major requirement is having a seventh-generation Intel Kaby Lake CPU such as the Core i7-7500u chipset running in your PC and of course, you’ll need a display with 4K UHD resolution.

What you’ll also need, at least for ultra HD programming from Netflix in particular, as tested by the website PCWorld recently, is the presence of Microsoft’s Edge web browser for the Windows 10 platform. In 2016 Edge boasted of being the only major browser that could play Netflix at 1080p resolution in PCs and now as part of a major Creator’s Update package for Windows 10, the latest version of Edge now boasts of being the only major browser to run Netflix content in 4K resolution.

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With the above requirements met, the basic process for firing up Netflix in 4K on your 4K PC or notebook consists of firing up Edge, going to the Microsoft Store and downloading the Netflix app. Once this is done, opening an account is pretty simple. You can either start an entirely new account with the Netflix 4K UHD content package that costs $11.99 per month and offers ultra HD viewing of content on up to four different displays (as opposed to the $8.99 per month 1080p package with access to Netflix on only two displays), or simply open up the existing Netflix account that you might be running on your 4K TV as well. Whichever is the case, your home internet connection for running 4K Netflix content on the Edge browser in your PC will have to deliver at least 25Mbps, the same as for 4K TV content streaming.

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For PC users who don’t have Windows 10 or even more crucially lack Intel Kaby Lake 7th-Gen CPU power in their shiny new 4K PC, its 720p and 1080p resolution all the way for Netflix. The same goes for users who simply don’t want to run the Edge browser; no other browsers, including Chrome, Opera or Firefox are capable of 4K stream support from Netflix even if your 4K PC is ready for 4K entertainment in every other way.

All things considered, while the Edge monopoly on Netflix 4K content via PC is annoying, this still isn’t a bad deal overall. The Edge browser comes built right into Windows 10, so it’s not like you need to do anything particular to run it and if you prefer other browsers for their superior usability, just open Edge when you need a dose of “Stranger Things” or whatever you like best in stunningly sharp UHD resolution on a compact PC display. To its further credit, Edge has been improving since its initial arrival and by this point we’d dare say that it could even be considered a “good” browser for most users. Furthermore, if you’re a fan of digital books, the Edge browser supports display of text in the EPUB ebook format.

We’re virtually certain to see 4K Netflix streaming arrive to all major browsers between now and 2018 and other ultra HD content providers will probably follow the same trend but for now, being forced to use Edge in this way is a small annoyance to endure in exchange for 4K movies and TV shows being available on PCs in the first place.

Story by 4k.com

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  • HateDRM
    March 30, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    “For PC users who don’t have Windows 10 or even more crucially lack Intel Kaby Lake 7th-Gen CPU power in their shiny new 4K PC, its 720p resolution all the way for Netflix. ”

    The sentence is misleading. You can get 1080p Netflix on the Windows 8/10 metro app. It’s been that way for quite some time.

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  • Confused PC User
    April 3, 2017 at 2:10 am

    The Kaby Lake CPU requirement makes zero technical sense other than some sort of under the table deal between Netflix and Intel. It smacks of the same kind of anticompetitive deals that Intel made with PC manufacturers to lock out AMD back in the early 2000s.

    The Kaby Lake CPU is virtually identical in feature set to the previous generation of Intel and AMD CPUs, and the DRM features required for Netflix are also implemented by NVIDIA and AMD GPUs.

    It’s not a performance limitation either, because both my current PC and my previous PC were cheerfully able to play not only 4K content, but 4K 60 fps content as well, both with less than 10% processor load.

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  • al robertson
    May 22, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    there are many hoops to jump through to get 4k Netflix you need a mobo with intel sgx in bios you also need either hdmi 2.2 on board or a displayport without these you will only get 1080p I purchased an asus b250 with displayport and software sgx in bios with a kaby lake i3 and I steam 4k Netflix. what is weird is that I used a dp to hdmi adaptor first then I tried straight hdmi at 30hz and it also worked. I checked the run services and found that intels dynamic application along with management engine and both hdcp and heci need to be running. hope this helps. alan

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