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Microsoft Edge gets exclusive browser dibs on 4K Netflix streaming

Microsoft has announced that 4K Netflix streaming on PC is now exclusively available through Microsoft Edge. All of Netflix's 4K catalog is now available to stream in full resolution via the Edge browser — so long as your PC packs a 4K display. And if you're dying to know: yes, that includes the new Gilmore Girls episodes.

It's interesting to see Netflix take this route, though not entirely surprising. Prior to this, Microsoft Edge was also the only browser (opens in new tab) that would stream Netflix shows in full 1080p resolution. With this move, however, the Chrome and Firefox faithful will have to turn to Edge if they want to stream in 4K fidelity on their PC.

With 4K displays becoming increasingly common among the PC crowd, this couldn't come at a better time. Will you be checking out any 4K Netflix streams in Microsoft Edge? Let us know in the comments!

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

72 Comments
  • oh and you need 7th gen core processors too, so that means good luck for the 2 PCs running them.
  • Looking at Amazon, I see plenty of Dell, Lenovo, HP, And ASUS computers that have Kabby Lake processors. In comparison to the literally billions of computers in use, computers with KL processors in use are relatively small, but it is not the limited, small number you think.
  • At this stage it's probably about a million, vs the literally billions of PC's in the world. It's so small it's irrelevant.
  • I mean, that still is a greater number than 2. But as far as being irrelevant, if you want 4k streaming you need a new processor/new equipment to go with it. Just like you need a compatible display. It's not irrelevant, it's progress.
  • My oc'd 4790k has all the power required to decode that stream. it's DRM lock-in, and frankly, DRM can f off.
  • It has to do with decoding hardware as well, not just raw power...
  • Isn't that where the Dx12 requirement is for?
  • Not really, there are additional hardware decoders with each generation of cpu's/gpu's.
  • Factually false. There are additional hardware decoders used to lower power consumption, and to handle drm. No additional hardware required to decode 4k. I do it regularly. Hardware required for drm only. It's a drm scam. You're right that new hardware has new hardware decoders, but that's unrelated
  • Which 4K-http codecs do you currently decode on your old cpu?
  • I decode a variety of 4k codecs. If you're arguing they've chosen a codec which requires new hardware then we agree. They've chosen it specifically because of the drm. This isn't a secret. It's explicitly stated ny Netflix and Microsoft.
  • I was wondering which streaming codec you can decode on your old CPU in 4K... There are other upsides of newer codecs other than just DRM. DRM is the whole reason Netflix have their own material in the first place.
  • yeah, there are other advantages with newer codecs, such as the larger pixel size used with HEVC (h.265) reducing bandwidth. HEVC is what Netflix uses for their 4k streams, and it runs absolutely fine on a GREAT many cpu's. the only issue is, again, DRM. My old cpu is a devils canyon quad core which can outperform a 6700k depending on workload at stock speeds. never mind with an overclock. it's a damn fast cpu, and is overkill for a 4k HEVC decode. I should clarify that HEVC doesn't need drm, and is basically the most popular 4k format. They've implemented DRM onto the codec though, and that's why you need kaby lake, not for anything actually video related.
  • Netflix do not use HEVC. Netflix use VP9 for 4K and VP9 10-bit for 4K HDR. HEVC has been dropped because the IP groups owning it turned on each other making licensing toxic for internet media companies. The Intel Kaby Lake CPU's support VP9 4K (but the not HDR version) and Edge also supports VP9 in the browser so it makes no sense that Netflix would be using HEVC when they have publicly stated VP9 is their cross platform codec. Youtube and Google Play 4K content is all VP9 as are other set top boxes. The only 4K content HEVC is still used for is UHD Blu-ray.
  • except, of course, that Netflix hasn't said that anywhere I can find, and has said that HEVC is 20% more efficient, and has publically stated they do in fact use HEVC for 4k, as of September this year. They in fact said in may this year that they're not using vp9, though that may change in the future. As of now, Netflix's 4k streams are in HEVC. They are looking at picking up AV1, as it's superior to vp9 in basically everyway. But that's not been done yet. YouTube does use vp9, but google is really the only one using it. If you have a link where Netflix has stated their current codec is vp9 i'd love to see it. I can't find it, and there are MANY saying they use HEVC, and a specific public release stating house of card season 2 was done in HEVC for 4k. http://www.streamingmedia.com/Articles/Editorial/Featured-Articles/Netfl...
    http://www.flatpanelshd.com/focus.php?subaction=showfull&id=1442583571
  • Wait how do you know we need 7th gen processors?
  • 7th gen processors are required, as they support new DRM which Netflix is requiring. it's basically being rolled out to .00000001% of computer users. Older systems will, as far as Netflix has communicated, NEVER get 4k streaming.
  • It doesn't matter. Edge was first.
  • Because it says so on the Windows Blog page that this article links to. https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2016/11/21/calling-all-gilmo...
  • Well, all of Microsoft Surface Products are out of the question then. Even the newest Surface Book Performance Base cannot use this feature :(
  • You're actually wrong. h265 decoding is on 6th gen intel processors. 7th gen pack encoding too... not that Adobe makes use of it :'(
  • Wrong...buddy 007.
    i5 with Clear Video technology is just fine for 4k.
  • Does chrome,Mozilla and opera doesn't support 4k playback why Netflix only supporting edge??
  • No.. Except Edge all other browsers only support 720p
  • Okay thanks for the information..
  • They don't support the DRM that Netflix requires.
  • Considering you can man-in-the-middle with a Chrome extension on Google's widevine DRM, it's no wonder Netflix would play it safe and go with an encryption mechanism that requires specific hardware.
  • Any reason why the Windows app won't be updated to support it? Or does it already?
  • My thoughts exactly.
  • They will probably roll out a update soon.
  • Thinking back, there was an app update today but I don't have a 4k subscription so can't check it.
  • Nice to see platforms accepting windows 10 UWP, and edge!
  • Doesn't sound like they fully adopted UWP at least.
  • I'm a Windows user but I don't like this exclusivity in software and services. Why should only Windows 10 users benefit from this technology? What about mobile? Mac? Linux?
  • What about them? Many apps for smart phones are only supported on iOS and Android. Why should only they benefit? Since when is the world fair?
  • One vote from me.
  • Tell them to support the right DRM.
  • I do find video playback in general better on Edge than the other browsers.
  • While this may add a handful of users to Edge in the monthly browser stats race, this is confusing for consumers and generally not in our best interests. It's as useful as exclusive music tracks or exclusive game DLC packs available through different retailers. I say equal content should be available for all browser users!
  • Feels like we WP users are wanting apps and we think equal content should be available to all users!
  • Pretty sure your sentiments wont be shared on this site......
  • TheftMan I know why.
  • I get it, we're all passionate about our favorite mobile platform. But if the tables were turned and Chrome was the exclusive browser for 4K streaming, the comments on this site would be in an uproar.
  • I believe Microsoft added an edge (see an edge) to their platform and browser. People were using edge to download Firefox and chrome. So I think it's right. Other platform owners have restricted some content on their own devices only. So I think it's fair. And kudos to ms for this deal. Or Apple would have it exclusive to safari on Mac.
  • We will need to have the 4K steaming account added to Netflix, correct?
  • Yes, you need to pay for the higher priced option that includes 4K
  • don't unless you have a 7th gen intel cpu. it won't work.
  • Or if you have another device that can stream it, or just want the added benefit of streaming on more screens.
  • Okay, I'll have to check my account.  I've been streaming 4K on Netflix for a while now and thought it was included.
  • I wish Netflix would work on their Windows Mobile app.  Besides not being UWP so it doesn't work on Continuum, the maximum streaming bitrate on wifi is 1750 kbps (720x480) and on celluar data is 235 kbps (320x240), so it looks terrible.  If they would just combine their desktop and mobile app into a UWP, that would solve all my issues on mobile.
  • I'm all for Edge, but this seems rather anti-competitive and inconvenient for users. I myself use Edge, but I also have FF for coding and certain website support.
  • Well, we are used to get the wrong edge of the Google-stick (read monopoly control) so.. Too bad for them.
  • My thoughts exactly.
  • I don't think a just-world take on things is a good idea. I think it will only stifle relations instead of improve them. And it's probably just going to affect the consumer more because they will have to switch browsers but will retain Google search, which won't affect Alphabet. In the end, only the consumer will have to do more work. In this case, Microsoft wins, Google partially wins, and the consumer mostly loses, as most tend to use FF/Chrome/IE/Safari. In the case of Apple,Chromebook, Linux, or Win7/8.x users, you're completely screwed because Edge is only on windows 10. Which is anticompetitive and proprietary. (Edge browser, not W10). Which is why I hate platforms like Origin which totally screw the consumer.
  • This is ridiculous and anti-competitive. What's next? Only buy 87 gas at Chevron?
  • Like I said above, we get treated anticompetitively every day by a certain monopoly abusing company, so if we once every six months get something exclusively there is no reason to whine. Just switch to the better browser.
  • Snapchat too.
  • To everyone complaining about this being exclusive, isn't it just because Edge is the first browser to support the new DRM Netflix is using? So surely if Chrome / Firefox / Safari and whatever other browsers there are can just add support for this DRM too? Why is it Microsoft's fault that other browsers don't have something?
  • Edge is also the only one of those browsers that is guaranteed to be on every new PC, because it is part of Windows 10, so it's the only browser that Netflix could do that without much risk of alienating users.
  • Streaming in a browser vs app brilliant.
  • too bad there is no edge add-on to cast to google chromeast
  • This feature does not apply to EVERY PC owner. It only applies to those who actually have a 4K display and a PC. The likelihood of a 7th gen core owner having a 4k display is much higher. I think this move makes sense.
  • Do we still need to pay these fools extra money for 4k streaming?
  • Why not on 4k tv's that use Roku,or apple tv, not everyone has 7th gen core PC's, shh.
  • I think higher priced roku can stream 4k.
  • Not interested in 4k video content yet. When my ISP stops capping me and internet speeds get better, then I will.
  • I dont think capping will go away. It seems ridiculous, considering bandwidth should be as cheap as its ever been aside from cost of upgrading speeds (like 1 Gb from 100Mb). I personally think that these upgrade costs should be covered in the outrageous cost they charge for these speeds.
  • Just another reason Edge is the best browser to use
  • Netflix is a great Windows supporter and always has been.
    Their 4k videos don't really look any better than HD.
    In fact they are flakey and look like what they are - compressed streaming files.
    But the data size is massive even with all that compression
  • I'm just glad we got something. I feel we are always left out.
  • All good for the Ecosystem overall.
  • You'll need to have a netflix account that has the 4k content access. If not I don't think it'll matter that you have the hardware and browser necessary to watch.