Which browser to use to enjoy the best experience on Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video and Movistar + ? Today we will clear all your doubts about this.
The normal thing is that when we visualize contents of streaming platforms in a desktop operating system, we do it from a browser. In that sense, Netflix is the only platform that meets the honorable exception of having a dedicated native application , although unfortunately, the company of Reed Hastings has only released it in Windows 10.
Therefore, although a priori it could be thought that with all the options we will obtain the same quality of viewing and performance in reproduction, it is convenient to know which browser is better for each streaming platform depending on the operating system that we use . Let’s see how to get the maximum resolution on Netflix , HBO , Amazon Prime Video and Movistar + .
Netflix: Microsoft Edge or Safari
Netflix is the most popular streaming platform with the most subscribers in the world and, nevertheless, that is not enough to guarantee a similar image quality in all browsers .
In Windows, to enjoy Netflix at its best, you have two options. Make use of Microsoft Edge or the Windows 10 application, which will provide 4K quality in the series and movies that are in the catalog at that resolution. Of course, for this you must have a machine with an Intel processor, minimum, seventh generation.
If you have a Mac and want to play 4K in, for example, an iMac 5K, it is not possible in macOS, but not in Windows with Boot Camp , due to a limitation of the Netflix DRM with the AMD graphics card driver.
Although Netflix is the only platform that provides 4K on the desktop, only Edge on Windows allows you to display content in the highest quality
Going down from 4K, the only other option that allows you to play Netflix in 1080p on Windows is to use Internet Explorer. Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Vivaldi and other options based on Chromium have to settle for playing at a maximum of 720p resolution .
In macOS the thing is similar. As we have said, 4K playback is not possible, and only in Safari can content be played in 1080p (in Mac OS X 10.10.3 or later versions) , as its counterpart built into the system in Windows. The rest of the options will only reach, at best, video in 720p resolution, although for our tests, they are even below, in 960 x 540 pixels.
There are extensions in both Firefox and Chrome that some time ago allowed to force playback in 1080p, but the tests we have done, do not work now.
HBO: unified quality with great news for browsers
HBO has unified video quality across all platforms and browsers, allowing content to be played at 1080p (although the image quality is significantly inferior to Netflix and Amazon). Of course, not all browsers move with the same ease, which makes depending on the choice we make, it can mean a great battery savings in laptops .
The best news about HBO is that it has finally discarded the use of Flash
In Windows, CPU usage has been similar in Edge, Firefox and Chrome under our tests, but in macOS, Safari has much lower CPU utilities than Chrome and Firefox . Help in all cases that, without announcing, HBO finally no longer works under Adobe Flash, which was one of the great cons of the platform, but the homogeneity in resources of different browsers could be greater.
Also, according to HBO, if you have a Mac and you want to connect to an external screen to play content, you must use Safari . They do not explain why, but it may be due to greater compatibility with DRM and HDCP .
Amazon Prime Video: 1080p quality in all browsers
In Amazon Prime Video something similar happens to what we have seen on HBO. According to the website, all major browsers are capable of playing HD content in 1080p, but none will do so in 4K.Amazon supports 4K and HDR on Smart TV, but in browsers we will have to settle for a good 1080p
In Windows, Microsoft Edge takes the palm as far as efficient CPU usage is concerned , according to the figures given by the Task Manager. After the built-in browser, Firefox and Chrome are kept in average use that triple the use of CPU resources, without installed extensions.
In macOS, Safari also shows, in general, a lower percentage of CPU usage when it is playing video than its more direct competitors : Chrome and Firefox. Of course, the browser of Mozilla shows higher numbers that will affect more to multitasking and autonomy.
Movistar + is the most limited
Of all the major streaming platforms present in Spain, Movistar + is the only one not compatible with some very important browsers , so beyond quality, there is not much room for action on the part of the user.
In Windows, Movistar + works with Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome , but for the latter you will need to install an extension, something that does not demand the rest of services. Firefox, not being compatible with Silverlight, no longer works with Movistar +.
In macOS the situation is similar, but even worse, because the serial browser, Safari, is no longer compatible , so you’ll have to settle, exclusively, with Google Chrome, which here again requires the installation of your extension.