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What’s the best desktop browser for Netflix?

Hint: It’s (probably) not the one you’re reading this on.

netflix on macbook air
Image: KnowTechie

Netflix remains one of the top choices for binge-watching your favorite shows. However, before you fire it up on your laptop or desktop browser, it’s important to note that your favorite browser may not provide the best viewing experience for the streaming service.

In fact, there are only a couple of browsers capable of streaming in format definition formats.

Despite its popularity, Google Chrome may not be the ideal browser for Netflix streaming. In fact, Statcounter statistics show that 69% of users prefer Chrome, but it may not provide the optimal platform for Netflix.

So, what is the best browser to watch Netflix on your desktop, especially if you want to stream content in high definition?

Which browser should I use for Netflix?

Short answer: Microsoft Edge for PC / Safari for Mac

That’s right. Microsoft Edge. That’s the browser you need to use on Windows to playback Netflix in 4K.

That’s because Microsoft uses hardware-based DRM (which is the ‘lock’ that stops people from pirating copyrighted material).

READ MORE: How to stop your browser from using too much RAM

Opera Opera

Opera's speed, security features like a built-in VPN, and customization options make it a reliable browser for streaming Netflix. However, there may be occasional compatibility issues with certain extensions or add-ons.

What We Like:
  • Built-in VPN: Opera is one of the few browsers offering a free, built-in VPN, which can help protect your online privacy and security without additional software or subscriptions.
  • Battery saver: Opera's battery saver mode can help extend your device's battery life, which can be especially useful when using a laptop or mobile device on the go.
  • Personalization: Opera offers a wide range of customization options, which can help you to personalize your browsing experience and make it more efficient.
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You’ll also need this HEVC file, a 7th-Gen Intel CPU or newer, any AMD Ryzen CPU, and if using a GPU, Radeon RX 400 or newer, or an Nvidia GPU that meets these requirements.

If you don’t use Edge, you’re limited to 720p playback on Windows computers. Chromebooks are limited to 1080p playback. Oh, and the Netflix app on Windows can serve 4K content as well.

BrowsersResolution SupportStreaming QualityRecommended Internet Speed
Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer on Windows1080p720p5.0 Mbps
Safari on Mac (Yosemite or later)1080p720p5.0 Mbps
Google Chrome (and Firefox, Opera)720p720p5.0 Mbps

And if you’re a Mac user? Well, Apple uses hardware-based DRM as well. You can use Safari on macOS 11.0 or later and get a 4K stream. The only drawback here? Most Apple displays aren’t 4K.

But honestly, they don’t need to be. The displays’ high-quality resolution and vibrant colors more than makeup for the lack of 4K, providing an excellent viewing experience for users.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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