Microsoft Edge has the most power efficient video playback because it was engineered to take advantage of Windows 10 platform features that keep the CPU in low power states during video playback. It does this by offloading CPU intensive video processing operations to power efficient peripheral hardware found in modern PCs and mobile devices. This starts with the use of Microsoft DirectX video acceleration (DXVA) to offload decoding of compressed video. For rendering, Microsoft Edge also works with Multiplane overlay display hardware and sophisticated graphics and UI compositing features to offload video rendering operations. This significantly reduces memory bandwidth required for video processing and compositing at the display.
CPU management in the Windows 10 media stack keeps the CPU running in the lowest power states possible, without compromising UI responsiveness. It is also able to run the display at lower refresh rates during full screen playback of film based content. This saves power by reducing memory bandwidth and improves the quality of film playback by reducing video judder caused by the conversion of the film frame rate (24 Hz, for example) on displays running at 60 Hz. And Microsoft Edge also takes advantage of a feature of the Windows 10 audio stack to offload audio stream processing from the main CPU to dedicated power-efficient audio processing hardware.
Power savings from these features are available to other browsers, but it requires other browser vendors to optimize performance on Windows devices, while Microsoft Edge was designed to provide these power savings innately. And to be clear, the power difference playing higher quality content, like 1080p, becomes even greater. Tight integration with Windows media, graphics, and composition stacks allows Microsoft Edge to render the highest quality content with minimal power draw.
In our video tests, not only was Microsoft Edge the most power efficient, but the premium video site we used also sent higher resolution and bitrate video to Microsoft Edge compared to the other browsers.
The fact that Microsoft Edge received 1080p content in our power test means it actually ran a somewhat higher power draw than it otherwise would have playing 720p content like the other browsers. Microsoft Edge provided the highest quality content and also delivered the longest battery life.
Content owners that stream premium video on the web need to make choices that balance providing the best quality possible, while also ensuring that the content is protected. As quality increases, so does the need for strong Digital Rights Management (DRM), systems that protect media streams so that they can only be played by users authorized by the streaming service. This is important now as companies make decisions to stream 1080p, and will become even more important as video resolutions increase. Content owners will not stream premium content if it can be easily saved and shared outside the service.
Microsoft Edge was built to take advantage of platform features in Windows 10. It is optimized to use PlayReady Content Protection and the media engine’s Protected Media Path, whereas Chrome and Opera implement Widevine, and Firefox implements both Adobe Access and Widevine. Like video decode efficiency, content protection in the platform and closer to the hardware can offer superior performance. Likewise, the better the content protection, the better the video quality the service is likely to provide to that browser.
Read more here: blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2016/07/13/get-better-quality-video-with-microsoft-edge/
NOTES - Almost all of the upcoming software and hardware that will be for the WIndows platform is going to be either optimized for, or will only run on, WIndows 10. Support for previous Windows versions is fading rapidly - RJM Staff