How To Stream Netflix Videos At 1080p Resolution In Google Chrome

Netflix Google Chrome Linux

Even if you have a HD or Ultra HD Netflix plan and your Internet connection supports HD streaming, Netflix plays in 720p resolution on Linux web browsers.

Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera all stream Netflix videos at a maximum resolution of 720p on Linux, Windows or macOS. The only web browsers that can stream Netflix at 1080p are Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge on Windows, Safari on Mac OS X 10.10.3 or later, and Google Chrome on Chrome OS only.

You can find information about the supported Netflix resolutions on various web browsers by visiting the following links:

As a result, Linux users (except Chrome OS users of course) are left out, as there's no web browser to stream Netflix videos at 1080p on Linux.

Since Chrome OS can stream Netflix videos at 1080p, you might think that getting Google Chrome to play 1080p videos on any operating system is as easy as changing the user agent, but that's not the case because Chrome OS uses a different DRM implementation.

There is a solution for playing Netflix videos at 1080p on any operating system though!

Enter Netflix-1080p for Google Chrome. This extension forces Netflix to play at an 1080p resolution, no matter the operating system.

A Firefox extension is also available (based on the Netflix-1080p Chrome extension) but it looks like it has some issues and needs to be updated to work again.

For this Google Chrome extension to work, you'll need a Netflix plan that supports HD streaming, as well as an Internet connection that is capable of streaming 1080p videos.

There is a catch though. As you probably know, Netflix uses the Widevine DRM available in Google Chrome, which uses software decoding. As a result, Netflix doesn't use hardware acceleration when playing videos in Google Chrome on Linux, Windows or macOS (Chrome OS has hardware Widevine DRM, this being the reason why Chrome OS is allowed to stream Netflix at 1080p without any tweaks), and as a result you may see increased CPU usage, and possibly dropped frames on older hardware. So take this into consideration before installing the Netflix-1080p Chrome extension.

Also, for some videos, the initial loading time may be increased by 5 seconds.

And a final and very important note: you'll have to clear your browser's cache ("Clear browsing data" in Chrome's settings) before installing the extension. This is because "the cached playercore will override the modified one and you will not be able to play 1080p" even after installing the extension. Make sure to reload Netflix using Ctrl + F5 if it was already open, after clearing the cache!

How to change Netflix video quality and check if it's 1080p

After installing Netflix-1080p, to make sure Netflix videos use 1080p you can press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + S while playing a video, and change the bitrate to the highest quality available. Now obviously you won't know for sure if the video is actually playing in 1080p (though you should definitely see an increase in quality), but you can check both the Netflix video resolution and bitrate by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Shift + D.

I'm not sure if it's an issue with my Ubuntu 18.04 desktop or if it simply doesn't work on Linux, but the Ctrl + Alt + Shift + D keyboard shortcut doesn't work on my computer with Netflix videos loaded in Google Chrome. There is a workaround though: the Super Netflix Google Chrome extension exposes the options available with keyboard shortcuts as buttons:

Super Netflix extra buttons

So if you're having this issue too, install Super Netflix, load a video on Netflix and you should get some extra buttons in the upper part of the video, on mouse over. Click the "i" button or right click the video and you should see some advanced video information, including the bitrate and resolution.

In the screenshot below you can see a movie playing on Netflix and its default bitrate / resolution when running in Google Chrome on Linux (Ubuntu 18.04):

Netflix default video quality Google Chrome

This is the same movie but after installing the Netflix-1080p Google Chrome extension on the same Ubuntu 18.04 desktop - notice the higher bitrate and video resolution (which is now 1080p):

Netflix 1080p video quality Google Chrome Linux

Get Netflix 1080p from the Chrome Web Store

Notice: Clear your Google Chrome cache before installing this extension or else you won't be able to stream Netflix videos in 1080p!

The extension source can be found here.