tech

Not Chrome or Firefox, these are the best browsers to watch Netflix on

Neither Google Chrome nor Mozilla Firefox is the best option when it comes to streaming Netflix content on your laptop/PC. There are two others that are better. 

Around two-thirds of the world use Google Chrome as the computer’s main browser. However, Chrome is quite terrible when it comes to watching Netflix.
Around two-thirds of the world use Google Chrome as the computer’s main browser. However, Chrome is quite terrible when it comes to watching Netflix. (Pixabay)

Of all the things that matter when you are watching Netflix, the browser is one of them if you are not using the app on your device of choice. And what you are currently using is probably not the best one - particularly if you are using Google Chrome to watch Netflix on.

Around two-thirds of the world, at least according to a report by NetMarketShare, use Google Chrome as the computer’s main browser. However, Chrome is quite terrible when it comes to watching Netflix. There are other free browsers out there that will get you better picture quality.

Here’s why Chrome of not the best choice

Netflix and other video streaming platforms protect content with something called digital rights management (DRM). DRM makes it harder for people to record Netflix on their computers and then upload that to any file-sharing services.

Different browsers use different DRM technology. Chrome and Mozilla Firefox use a software-based DRM system called Widevine. Unlike some other stringer hardware-based systems, this makes it possible (no easy still) for people to use screen- capture software to record Netflix shows.

And something like this is not what the likes of Netflix are going to be ok with - they do not want their content to be ripped off and pirated in super-sharp 4K quality. So, what they do instead is to limit the playback resolution to 720p (1,280 X 720 pixels) for both Chrome and Firefox on Windows, Linux and Mac,

On Chromebooks, where a slightly different DRM system is used, you can get full HD (1,920 X 1,080) on Chrome.

So, even if you are paying Netflix a hefty amount as subscription to get Ultra HD streams and your laptop has a great 4K screen, the maximum you can watch Netflix on using Chrome and Firefox is 720p.

What’s better?

On the other hand, Apple and Microsoft both use hardware-based DRM systems which are harder to crack than the Widevine software. Thus, in this case, Netflix allows Microsoft Edge and Apple Safari users to enjoy better picture quality.

For Windows users, thus, Microsoft Edge is the best browser to watch Netflix on where you will get up to 4K resolution. However, to ensure that you need to make sure your laptop/computer has these following features - 

- a 4K capable display

- Intel’s 7th gen Core CPU or newer 

- Windows 10 version 1607 or newer

The Netflix app from the Windows Store is also capable of 4K playback if your computer meets the above conditions.

And for Mac owners?

Here Safari is the best choice.

If you have macOS 10.10 to 10.15 (the latest is Catalina) - you should be able to watch Netflix at full HD.

Most MacBooks have better than Full HD displays and with the macOS 11 (the Big Sur), Safari will be upgraded to support 4K streaming and you will be able to get maximum video quality from the top-tier Netflix subscription you are paying for.

Big Sur is coming this Fall, but the beta version is already out. If you do not want to wait, you can download that and start off.