I've just installed ubuntu on an old laptop to be an HTPC. I can watch downloaded movies in VLC no worries at all (although I've only tried SD). When I try to watch Netflix on firefox, the CPU usage on all four cores gradually sneaks up to 100% and then everything goes to pot. Even before that happens, there are moments when CPU drops almost to zero and there's a pause in the stream. It's the same in safe mode.
On Chrome, it's a little better, CPU seems to be about 30%, but still getting pauses.
I've tried turning HW accelaration on and off, WebGL on and off, tweaking the video card settings in xorg.conf, and so many things I can't remember them all. Oh yeah, black listing nouveau.
But now I'm wondering ... is this a problem with Chromium (and hence Chrome and firefox) not using the GPUs to decode streamed video? On one forum I've seen someone saying that the GPUs can't be used because DRM means that the stream is not H.264 codec and then I found a bug report on chromium bugs saying that you need a patch to make the GPUs work https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=463440 and I gather from the thread that the patch doesn't even help if you have an NVIDIA card.
Is that correct? There's no way to get Netflix streaming smoothly on Linux?