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Is there a way to stream Netflix content to my Ubuntu machine?

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@wilf it doesn’t work in chromium yet, there are flags that need to be built in, I bountied so that we can get a workable solution – Mateo Dec 16 '14 at 18:51
For those interested in progress on chromium: – Mateo Mar 20 '15 at 18:42
There is now a workaround for viewing on Chromium! – Mateo May 20 '15 at 1:04
As to Wilf's comment above, "Ensure that your Netflix prefs are set to HTML5". Netflix doesn't allow me this preference option. I just don't see that check box. I'm on a Ubuntu 14.04 system with the latest version of Chrome (64 bit, version 43). – Rafael_Espericueta Jul 14 '15 at 19:17
@Rafael_Espericueta that comment is older, information in it is likely not relevant anymore - if he put that in an answer people could edit it... – Mateo Nov 21 '15 at 16:31
up vote 57 down vote accepted

Important: Please note that Ubuntu releases 12.04, 14.04 and newer now support native Netflix playback via HTML5. The solution in this answer should only be used in cases where native playback is not possible (e.g. unsupported Ubuntu releases, browsers other than Google Chrome).

As of December 7th, 2012 the following works on 12.04 and 12.10 (at least).

Note: For new instructions --as of October 2013-- on how to install (Windows-)silverlight (ultimately useful to watch Netflix) in Firefox see at the end.

Open a terminal (Ctrl-Alt-T), an type:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install wine-staging
sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop

This will install around 254MB of packages, mainly it will install wine-compholio (a custom version of wine that is able to run Silverlight) and dependencies. If wine is not installed already you may need to agree to use Microsoft fonts (in the text mode window use arrow keys or tab to reach the red "ok" button in text mode when it appears). The download/installation takes around 15 minutes.

Then run the newly installed "netflix-desktop" application from the menu (or from the command line).


If something went wrong in the installation (third party links are involved), don't panic: netflix-desktop will detect that something is missing and try to reinstall it, if that also fails, start over.

When you run it for the first time it will initialize wine and probably ask about installing Mono and Gecko wine packages (I accepted and installed them just in case).

The netflix-desktop application opens up, login to your Netflix account.

The window will open in fullscreen, which is very elegant, but if you want to have control over the window press F11 right away to exit fullscreen mode. (It may also ask to install a Firefox extension --specially designed-- that makes fullscreen mode more friendly.)

Use Netflix as you would normally do.


It worked flawlessly in my Ubuntu 12.04 and 12.10 (I have a Core i7).

(As you may have realized at this poin, the netflix-desktop is really Firefox 17 running on wine without menubars. Press F10 to gain control over the Firefox menu and navigation.)


Credits and references: This information was originally taken from Although this is a result of a campaign initiated by in, resulting in this achievement (by Erich Hoover) which also contains a link for donations to support the development. There is also

Bonus: By running this you have a fully functional Firefox 17 (Windows version) with working Silverlight that can be used to navigate other sites, by pressing F10 -> View -> Toolbars -> Navigation menu on the main window you can access any site and be able to use Silverlight.

Alternative Method: Install Windows-Silverlight in Linux-Firefox

Alternatively, it is now possible to install Silverlight inside (Linux) Firefox as if it were a native plugin. (you can see for more info)

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pipelight/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install wine-staging
sudo apt-get install pipelight-multi
sudo pipelight-plugin --enable silverlight

Then install the UAControl Firefox add-on (UAControl - and convince that your browser is a Windows one, for example "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:23.0) Gecko/20131011 Firefox/23.0".

Then go to

Source: Pipelight: Use Silverlight In Your Linux Browser To Watch Netflix, Maxdome Videos And More ~ Web Upd8: Ubuntu / Linux blog

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This also works for! Many thanks, @alfC! – cuichi May 10 '13 at 14:03
@alfC Is the AUControl Firefox add-on still available? – Lucio Dec 11 '13 at 15:13
@Lucio, it is UAControl (fixed), yes, it is available. – alfC Dec 11 '13 at 19:13
NO NO NO way, netflix desktop is too resource intensive and the application overlay is extremely annoying. Add pipelight and use your exsisting firefox install. See my instructions below. – WhosUrDaddy Dec 22 '14 at 22:43
The first method is never going to work, neither the second, first of all you need to install wine-staging from the repository ppa:ehoover/compholio – rancho Jun 22 at 4:56
up vote 33 down vote

Native HTML5 playback on Ubuntu 14.04 and up

You can now watch Netflix natively and without user-agent-spoof (thank you Netflix) with HTML5 on Google Chrome.

If you are on Ubuntu 12.04 or 14.04 make sure you are up to date before you proceed:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Or graphically, open Update Manager and click Check then Install Updates:

enter image description here

You will need an updated installation of Google Chrome (not Chromium; and make sure to choose the right package for your machine):

enter image description here

  1. Head over to Netflix and try out a movie or show. Everything should be working fine now.

    If you are facing playback problems try lowering the quality to match the capability of your hardware. I would recommend a computer better than a 1GHZ 1GB Netbook.¹

1: (as I experienced stuttering on that level of device; Nevermind, current update has relieved most all playback issues with my netbook.)

enter image description here

Bonus: Netflix Webapp

You can integrate Netflix with your Ubuntu desktop by creating a nice .desktop launcher:

  1. Download an icon for Netflix to use. Personally, I usually search google for a suitable icon This one by Dakirby309 looks good:

    enter image description here

    Save the icon as netflix.png in your home folder

  2. Create a file called Netflix.desktop in your home folder

  3. Open it in a text editing program like gedit
  4. Insert the following text:

    [Desktop Entry]
    Exec=google-chrome -app=

    Make sure to replace /home/USERNAME/Pictures/netflix.png with the correct path to your Netflix icon.

  5. Save the desktop file and exit your editor.

  6. Make the file executable by right clicking on Netflix.desktop and heading to PropertiesPermissions tab → Execute: → Check the box Allow executing file as program
  7. Drag the icon to your launcher (don't remove/move the original)

Now you have a Netflix WebApp!:

enter image description here

Alternatively you can also use the Chrome plug-in and launch it in "Windowed" mode by doing the following:

  1. Right clicking on the app
  2. Select Create shortcuts:

    enter image description here

  3. Only check Applications menu and confirm your choice

This will make Netlix available in the Dash:

enter image description here

If you don't like the appearance of the scroll bars, you can enable Chrome's overlay scrollbars. Go to chrome://flags/#overlay-scrollbars and Enable them. Now you have scrollbars that complete the experience:

enter image description here

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Chromium didn't worked for me in Ubuntu 15.04 damn widevine :'( – Lucio Oct 18 '15 at 3:38
also try switching the user agent for chromimum – Mateo Oct 18 '15 at 10:09
Note that support for Chrome on 32-bit OS's as well as Precise will halt in March of 2016. Those affected by this decision may need to seek alternatives. – Elder Geek Jan 25 at 22:31

Actually - to address your question. PlayOn the service which drives Netflix (and Hulu) will be rolling out an HTML5 client which should negate the need for Silverlight (and Moonlight). It's out for the iPhone now - but I assume that shortly will be used to stream PlayOn services to Linux Machines.

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Thanks Marco. I already have PlayOn so will be keeping an eye on it. – Gator Aug 6 '10 at 21:10
The fact that PlayOn is in the process of switching to HTML5 properly wont change anything as regards to playing their stream. They will still use a proprietary and DRM protected video format, and they will most certainly not make a plugin for Linux. – LassePoulsen Aug 7 '10 at 10:13
worthless still would need to run a windows box. – schwiz Feb 28 '11 at 4:14
Just a note, from two years later, still no HTML5 client (fully). Still no Linux port. Still no luck watching Netflix on Ubuntu. – rlemon Mar 12 '12 at 13:20
@rlemon While a Netflix solution now exist, PlayOn Media Server is still without a solution – James Jan 27 '13 at 15:39

I read a while ago that it might be possible to run a Wii emulator instead of virtual box, but I don't think that would be an improvement for most people. I've been meaning to try Netflix in an android emulator since the app came out, however I still need to test if it will actually work. The problem is that the app is only "approved" for certain phones. There is a hack that is suppose to work for rooted phones, So I think there's a good chance this could be a better solution than virtual box, but it's hard to say for sure.

If someone else gets this working please let me know.

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Moonlight, while it is an open-source alternative to Silverlight, does not work for Netflix. The reason that this does not work for Netflix is that Netflix also requires DRM support, which Moonlight does not give.

There IS a way to watch things on Netflix through Ubuntu though.

You will want to virtualize Windows XP/Vista/7 on Ubuntu. I would recommend Virtualbox, but you are free to use whatever you want. Under the virtual machine, you can use the real Silverlight and DRM-support and watch Netflix.

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Pipelight is a plugin that builds upon Erich Hoover's Netflix-Desktop to allow Ubuntu users to watch Netflix from within a native Firefox browser.

Web Upd8 article

Add compholio and pipelight ppa

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:mqcheal/pipelight

sudo apt-get update

Install Pipelight

Close your browser first!

sudo apt-get install pipelight

Now Silverlight will work on some sites but Netflix and some others check the browser user agent and will not play on a Linux machine.

Install a plugin to change user agent

I used User Agent Overrider

In Firefox got to Tools -> Add Ons and search for User Agent.

Install User Agent Overrider

Select the latest Firefox/Windows combination.

Head over to and enjoy.

This is from an article on web upd8

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Netflix desktop is too resource intensive and the overlay is VERY ANNOYING, I would HIGHLY recommend the following steps and use Firefox.

Add Netflix for Firefox

Open Terminal

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pipelight/stable

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install --install-recommends pipelight-multi

sudo pipelight-plugin --update

sudo pipelight-plugin --enable silverlight

add user agent overrider to Firefox Add ons

change user agent string to windows/chrome34

Now you won't have a dedicated application for Netflix and you can use your existing browser installation.

Another non related benefit of pipelight is that you can enable the latest Flash version with it. No need for pepper anymore! :)

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Try running these commands:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop

Then find netflix in the launcher and it should work.

BUT if it doesn't work the first time, like it didn't for me, try this:

rm -Rf ~/.netflix-desktop

sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop

I got my answers from here:

It has some further troubleshooting notes that I didn't post here so check it out if this doesn't work for you.

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protected by Seth Mar 19 '14 at 4:55

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