Ubuntu – How to use Netflix on Ubuntu


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

Best Answer

  • 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).

    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).

    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 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.

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

  • Related Question