Microsoft announced back in November 2018 that the next version of its Edge browser would be powered by Chromium, the open-source version of Google Chrome. Now it’s revealed a potential secret weapon in the fight for web browser supremacy - 4K Netflix streaming.
A Reddit user (via TechRadar) posted on the r/windows10 subreddit showing that they had found options in the in-development version of Edge that enable WideVine and PlayReady. These are two pieces of digital rights management (DRM) software, with PlayReady being the one which enables 1080p and 4K video to be played on the browsers it’s part of.
Chrome can only display videos from Netflix in 720p, the same as Firefox. Meanwhile, the current version of Edge, Apple’s Safari, or even Microsoft’s old much maligned browser Internet Explorer, are 1080p capable, but are vastly less popular.
If and when the new version of Edge appears with these capabilities, you will need the right hardware to use it. For PCs, you need a Kaby Lake processor or newer (Kaby Lake was first released in 2016), and a 1000 series or newer GeForce graphics card.
The advantage of using Chromium as a base rather than a rendering engine of Microsoft’s own design is that currently web developers primarily design for Chrome. With less effort required to convert their work, Edge will be able to benefit from almost everything that Chrome does.
From what we’ve seen so far of the upcoming browser, it’s powerful and easy to use. Whenever it releases to the public, it might at last be the fabled worthy opponent to Chrome’s years-long dominance.