Youtube and VP9 CPU decoder

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Playing youtube videos by default will use VP9 video decoder, however most computers do not have hardware support for VP9, so CPU decoding is used instead. This leads to high CPU/RAM usage, low battery life, and on many CPUs: choppy video playback. In "old" Edge this issue was resolved as VP9 is disabled by default when hardware acceleration is not present, this is ideal behaviour which you can test and verify yourselves. A potential problem though is that access to 4k youtube video (on devices without hardware VP9 support) is removed which massively contributes to the perception of "Chrome is better than Edge" therefore I suggest implimenting a flag to optionally disable VP9 decoding, but leaving the default functionality in parity with Chrome. For context: the Chrome extension "enhanced-h264ify" offers the desired functionality I feel should be present in flags; The older "h264ify" extension is similar but mistakenly disables the opus audio codec and you should avoid replicating this issue. The h264 codec is hardware accelerated on most computers. Ideally this flag should be implimented directly into Chromium as it would also benefit non-Edge users. Thank you very much for reading this feedback!

6 Replies

You may be able to use the edge://flags/#disable-accelerated-video-decode Experimental Flag in Microsoft Edge Insider Builds to disable the hardware acceleration.




We are going to put this feature request on our backlog to consider as we go forward.  Our development team consider this a fairly complex issue, and want to ensure that if hardware offloading is unavailable that we shouldn't disable VP9 decoding as it risks the significant degradation of the YouTube 4K experience.  For those following, this seems like an optimization for savvy users, how would you want it surfaced?  Would you want a setting that you could control or a flag that you can enable / disable?  We are a little worried that too many people who didn't understand might find it and cause their browsing experience harm.  Please let us know below - Elliot

@Elliot Kirk 

With regards to your question, "Would you want a setting that you could control or a flag that you can enable / disable? We are a little worried that too many people who didn't understand might find it and cause their browsing experience harm."

In my view flags are describe as "Experiments" at the top of the edge://flags page. To me this implies that they may have bugs or may even be removed in the future.


Once something becomes a feature, it seems to me that the feature needs a setting instead of a flag. If the concern is that some users might encounter issues, then the setting could be moved behind an Advanced Settings selection. This seems to be an approach that is used in Windows and Edge Legacy.

Hello, Sorry to bump an old issue.

I have been using internet explorer and then edge for mostly video playback. Both of them played youtube video very fine. However, the new edge is using a lot of cpu usage on a core-i5 6200u. Yes the chrome also use similar cpu usage. Let me give a simple scenario for a 1080p 60fps youtube video.

Edge (1-3%)

Chome (15-18%)

Edge New (20-22%)

Firefox (20-25%)

..Core-i56200u, 8GB Ram, Windows 10 1903.


I sure hope that edge will continue to add new features and provide the fallback video codec feature in settings like the old one. 



Hi, I'm facing the exact same problem to yours.
My specs: i5-6300u, 8gb of ram, no dedicated graphic card, windows 10.
When i play 1080p60 youtube video on chrome, my total cpu usage is around 50-60%. That makes my laptop's temp uneccessarily increasing.
But I see that in the same scenario your chrome cpu usagei is just 15-18%, is that correct?

Microsoft never added support for h264 fallback like the old one. However, you can use the enhanced-h264ify plugin (Chrome, Edge, Firefox) to resolve the issue. Back to cpu usage of 2-3% on most of the videos.
Yes, with 6200u and NVidia 940mx I got 15-20% CPU usage. I think e-gpu is irrelevant here as it doesn't kick in for browsers.
The newer cpu has vp9 decoder and wont have this issue though.