Netflix in 1080p, or even in 4K, on ​​Google Chrome? It’s getting clearer, but it’s still confusing

Netflix on Google Chrome finally unlocks 1080p quality for its videos. In what seems to be a still experimental option, the SVoD platform even goes up to 4K, but in the absence of official confirmation, the reasons for these developments are still quite unclear.

There are news that are good to take even when you don’t necessarily understand everything. Netflix improves the quality of video streams on Google Chrome. Until then capped at 720p content on this browser, the SVoD platform now offers 1080p, or even 4K in some cases. However, as reported the situation is still quite confusing.

Netflix on Chrome improves its video quality

If you have an up-to-date version of Google Chrome — on macOS or on Windows — and you have a compatible Netflix subscription, the quality of your videos has probably already gone from 720p (HD) to 1080p (Full HD).

has indeed conducted some tests. On version 115 of Chrome, the most recent, our colleagues have always been entitled to 1080p. In comparison, on an older version (106) from October 2022, they were still stuck at 720p.

CssTricks reiterated the experience and can confirm that the 1080p quality is indeed available on Chrome 115. So there seems to have been a relatively recent change to the browser allowing this improvement, even if Netflix and Google have not communicated on this at all .

You can in turn check if Netflix works in better quality on your Chrome browser. To do this, launch a movie or series and use the following keyboard shortcut: ” Ctrl+Alt+Shift+D “. Several technical information is displayed on the screen. Then look at the line “Playing bitrate (a/v)” and check what is written in parentheses. If you read “(1920×1080)» then you enjoy a stream in 1080p (Full HD).

And Netflix in 4K on Google Chrome?

On the other hand, for 4K, it’s a whole different story. Even today, Netflix customer support says that, on desktop, Ultra HD quality on browser is exclusive to Microsoft Edge on Windows and Safari on macOS.

A 4K compatible monitor is obviously required.

However, on Twitter, Max Weinbach – known mainly for his leaks — shares a photo where he can be seen enjoying 4K HDR quality on Netflix content launched on Chrome on a Windows PC. The main interested party is himself surprised, but on the line “Playing bitrate”, we indeed see “(3840×2160)” displayed.

Despite his attempts and access to a compatible subscription, could not reproduce the same behavior. Everything suggests that Netflix 4K on Google Chrome is being tested with a handful of users.

The photo shared by Max Weinbach supports this hypothesis. You can see the mention “com.widevine.alpha.experiment.HW_SECURE_DECODE”. For comparison, on that same line, in our first screenshot, we read “com.widevine.alpha.SW_SECURE_DECODE”.

The mention “experiment” suggests that the 4K videos available on Netflix from Google Chrome are still in the testing phase.

A matter of DRM

Finally, let’s look at the mention “com.widevine.alpha”. Widevine is the DRM used by Google, especially on Android. Two levels of security exist: Widevine L3 (basic) and Widevine L1 (more secure). To broadcast Netflix content in HD stream (720p or more), you necessarily need a device with Widevine L1 – because otherwise the rights holders are not reassured and restrict the quality of their content to avoid piracy.

We can imagine that Google has tweaked this DRM on Chrome to finally go beyond 720p. We would therefore be aplethora to be able to enjoy videos in 1080p, but 4K would still be reserved for the experimental version of Widevine.

At present, we are therefore still at the stage of assumptions. contacted Netflix and Google for more information on this, but the two companies have yet to respond.

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