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?

  • Despite my username (don't know why it's that) I'm running ubuntu, latest LTS, not mint.
    – Chibi Mint
    Dec 21, 2018 at 7:53
  • I've just been trying to see if the GPU is actually being used. It shows as 0% utilised in the nvidia-settings app but I noticed when I started the app from the command line I get an error... ERROR: nvidia-settings could not find the registry key file. This file should have been installed along with this driver at /usr/share/nvidia/nvidia-application-profiles-key-documentation. The application profiles will continue to work, but values cannot be prepopulated or validated, and will not be listed in the help text. Please see the README for possible values and descriptions.
    – Chibi Mint
    Dec 21, 2018 at 11:14
  • So how do I tell if the GPU is being used? Should I try downloading the driver installer from NVIDIA and installing it myself?
    – Chibi Mint
    Dec 21, 2018 at 11:15

1 Answer 1


I think the problem is that the GPU is overheating and turning itself off and then the CPU has to take over. That explains why the CPU will tootle along at 30%-ish and then suddenly zoom up to 100% and stay there.

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