Is there a way to stream Netflix content to my Ubuntu machine?
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).
Also note that as of Firefox 49, Netflix playback is natively supported.
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).
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 http://www.webupd8.org/2012/11/how-to-use-netflix-in-ubuntu-through.html. Although this is a result of a campaign initiated by www.iheartubuntu.com in http://www.iheartubuntu.com/2012/02/netflix-on-linux-contest.html, resulting in this achievement http://www.iheartubuntu.com/2012/11/ppa-for-netflix-desktop-app.html (by Erich Hoover) which also contains a link for donations to support the development. There is also https://launchpad.net/netflix-desktop
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 http://fds-team.de/cms/pipelight-installation.html 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 - neko.tsugumi.org) and convince
movies.netflix.com 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 www.netflix.com.
Native HTML5 playback on Ubuntu 14.04 and up
You will need an updated installation of Google Chrome (not Chromium; and make sure to choose the right package for your machine):
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
as I experienced stuttering on that level of device; Nevermind, current update has relieved most all playback issues with my netbook.)
Bonus: Netflix Webapp
You can integrate Netflix with your Ubuntu desktop by creating a nice
Save the icon as
netflix.pngin your home folder
Create a file called Netflix.desktop in your home folder
- Open it in a text editing program like gedit
Insert the following text:
[Desktop Entry] Type=Application Name=Netflix Exec=google-chrome -app=http://www.netflix.com Icon=/home/USERNAME/Pictures/netflix.png Terminal=false StartupWMClass=www.netflix.com
Make sure to replace
/home/USERNAME/Pictures/netflix.pngwith the correct path to your Netflix icon.
desktopfile and exit your editor.
- Make the file executable by right clicking on
Netflix.desktopand heading to Properties → Permissions tab → Execute: → Check the box Allow executing file as program
- Drag the icon to your launcher (don't remove/move the original)
Now you have a Netflix WebApp!:
Alternatively you can also use the Chrome plug-in and launch it in "Windowed" mode by doing the following:
- Right clicking on the app
Select Create shortcuts:
Only check Applications menu and confirm your choice
This will make Netlix available in the Dash:
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:
For firefox, after version 49 you can also watch netflix on linux without any extra steps, firefox will download the native google widevine CDM plugin and play protected content:
So this are the needed steps:
- have a netflix account! :)
- install firefox 49 or above
- recommended: install a user-agent switcher add-on. i use http://mybrowseraddon.com/useragent-switcher.html, but almost all user-agent add-ons should work. you can also edit directly the firefox user-agent, but not recommended, as this will send the chrome user-agent to all sites and that might break other things. That add-on can be configured to send only chrome user-agent to netflix site.
select in the user-agent chrome+linux and press edit and change the chrome version to 53 or above, like this:
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/53.0.2785.34 Safari/537.36
Old chrome versions will block netflix from working, so this is important. You may need to update the user-agent to the latest version (by checking a local install or trying something from http://www.browser-info.net/useragents) Also in the text box, replace the "all_urls" to netflix.com. This will apply the changed user-agent to netflix only
Enter netflix, trying to see a show/movie, firefox will warn that it needs to enable DRM support. Accept and it will download and install the widevine DRM plugin. Wait a minute and reload the page. Sometimes you need to go back and try again, but it will work
I will ask netflix about the status for supporting firefox on linux user-agent and update this when needed
Chromium does not support Netflix because of the lack of a needed component. You can manually install this component, but it's a hassle and not really worth it.
Firefox doesn't support Netflix either, at least as of 2014.
If you want Netflix on Ubuntu, you need to use Google Chrome. Download the DEB file from Google's website.
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.
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.
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.
Add compholio and pipelight ppa
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:mqcheal/pipelight
sudo apt-get update
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 netflix.com and enjoy.
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
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! :)
Ubuntu 20.04 (snap Chromium)
(This information can also be found in the original article: https://que-cosas.blogspot.com/2020/04/ver-netflix-en-el-chromium-de-ubuntu.html)
1º We download Chrome to use its Widevine.
We can do it by means of the following command, which will provide us with the .DEB file where we will find the desired Widevine folder.
Then we will decompress it in a folder that we will name tmp.
dpkg -x google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb tmp
2º We changed the permissions of the Chromium snap pack.
As it's installed, there is a read/write permission on disks that does not allow us to make changes and therefore does not allow us to install Widevine. We can change it from Ubuntu Software (the snap shop).
3º Copy or move the WidevineCdm folder inside Chromium.
The next step is to move the plugin to the place that Chromium needs to make it work. We can do it as follows:
mv tmp/opt/google/chrome/ WidevineCdm $HOME/snap/chromium/current/.local/lib/
Once this is done, we can delete the temporary file and the Chrome installation file.
rm -R tmp rm google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb
4º We have to trick Netflix into believing that our Chromium is a Chrome.
This step is based on a browser property called User Agent. We are interested in knowing our User Agent, for this we can use the following link:
Right now I'm getting the one on my Chromium browser next:
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) snap Chromium/81.0.4044.122 Chrome/81.0.4044.122 Safari/537.36
And that's not going to help us watch Netflix, we have to modify the part where it says snap Chromium so that it only says Chrome. So that it looks like this:
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/81.0.4044.122 Chrome/81.0.4044.122 Safari/537.36
We'll get that by putting an extension on Chromium that will allow us to make this change. For example with the User-Agent Switcher for Chrome extension from the Google Store:
And with all these steps, and once the extension is configured with the Chrome User Agent you will have no problem seeing Netflix in Chrome on Ubuntu 20.04 and without installing Chrome.
I had a similar problem, but I managed to solve it as follows;
- I downloaded the .deb package from google, but it seems the new Gnome-based software center did not install it properly.
- So, instead, I used
sudo dpkg -i <*package*>.
Worked for me.
P.S.: I was confused for a while with Chromium vs Chrome. They are different projects, and only Chrome works with Netflix, not Chromium.
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: http://www.iheartubuntu.com/2012/11/ppa-for-netflix-desktop-app.html
It has some further troubleshooting notes that I didn't post here so check it out if this doesn't work for you.