It’s official: you can now stream videos from Netflix on a computer running Linux. You don’t need to change your browser agent, install WINE, or make any other changes.

Just download and install Google Chrome 38 and login to your Netflix account.

netflix linux

You will need to download the browser from https://google.com/chrome. The open source Chromium browser won’t work.

But since Chrome 38 includes built-in support for HTML5 video playback with DRM, Netflix has removed restrictions that had previously prevented users from streaming video if they were using a Linux browser.

Up until recently Netflix used Microsoft’s Silverlight technology to stream videos to web browsers — and Silverlight isn’t officially available for Linux. But the company has been using HTML5 for video streaming on some platforms for a while, and the HTML5 player works just fine in Chrome for Linux.

We might eventually see Netflix support for Linux browsers besides Google Chrome. But they’ll need to integrate the same kind of DRM support before that can happen. Mozilla is already working on bringing a similar feature to future versions of Firefox.

So if the reason you’re using Linux in the first place is because you believe in the ideals of the free software movement… Netflix might not be the streaming video solution for you.

FYI, I’ve tested Netflix with Chrome 38 using Ubuntu 14.10 beta. Other users have confirmed that it also works with Linux Mint 17, FedoraArch, and other Linux-based operating systems.

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26 replies on “Netflix now supports Linux (via Google Chrome)”

  1. Just because Netflix “runs” in Linux but only in the Google Chrome browser does not mean Netflix “supports” Linux at all. Also the last thing I need is Netflix which is dripping with DRM and Goolgle spying on me at the same time. Fail.

  2. You can still watch Netflix by installing Pipelight in Ubuntu. I atch Netflix thru Midori and Firefox using the User Switcer Agent. Should work for Chromium too.

  3. I am happy to hear the news, Netflix is one of those things that had been a hassle to get working correctly in linux because of the hacks required to get it to work.

    That said there’s nothing that says DRM Content and the Free software Movement have to be mutually exclusive. Should HTML5 DRM modules ever end up being opensourced themselves, I can’t conceptually see why anyone would be against it. Thankfully we’re not talking about DRM’d software or DRM’d purchased content where I can understand why people would be against those.

    1. That wouldn’t be possible. If we had the source it would instantly be patched to remove the DRM since it is purely an anti-feature of no use to the user. And no, just using Chrome won’t protect them. Unless they can control the entire platform DRM won’t work, sooner or later they either realize that and give up or demand we give them the whole platform. RedHat and Ubuntu will be more than happy to comply since it would eliminate all other distributions so we about to be living in ‘interesting’ times. Now begins the final push to end the Free Software menace.

      1. stuff is easily ported. the keystone is the linux kernel.. no-one owns that.. torvalds salted the earth against such treachery

        1. Except of course he explicitly didn’t do that. He rejected GPL3 precisely over the anti-tivoization provision. Nothing would stop the MPAA, Google, RedHat & Ubuntu from getting together and releasing kernels designed to boot in secure mode and ensure a ‘trusted’ environment for Chrome and the video DRM plugin.

          Kernel and even most of Chrome’s source could be as open source as ya want, heck once they did that the DRM plugin itself could be open source except for the actual key material. Wouldn’t matter one bit. You can compile all the kernels you like, hack away and contribute your changes back even. You just would not be able to watch locked content until you rebooted into Trusted Computing mode with a blessed kernel booted from a blessed boot loader on a trusted machine with a TPM module that the MPAA hasn’t black listed. And that blessed kernel would ensure you couldn’t attach a debugger or otherwise tamper with the memory space of a protected process.

          Bottom line, welcome this effort but be very wary.

  4. This is really awesome! I’m very glad this is now a thing, it should likely use less system resources 🙂

    One thing, though:. Does Netflix’s html 5 not support HD playback yet? Nothing is in HD, and I’ve tried things I know are in HD on Netflix streaming. Do I need to do something to get it to work? I have a brand new shiny Nvidia card, and HD works fine with Pipelight.

    1. Hi Holly!

      I think I’ve found the reason, or *a* reason for lack of HD.

      Press SHIFT+CTRL+ALT+D to bring up the diagnostics information and keep a check on the Bandwidths at the bottom (e.g. Max Sustainable Bandwidth.) Mine go crazy over time, sometimes two or three times faster than my current ADSL sync rate. If the bandwidth selection uses that as a meter then it’s got no chance of chosing the right rate.

      So yeah, I’m seeing the same thing (under Chrome 38 and Ubuntu 14.10) – the bitrate never goes above 1750kbps hence limited to 480p. 🙁

      I imagine the same code is used both for Linux and Windows … so I guess the problem is probably in Chrome or NSS or somewhere!?

      Not quite sure where to report the issue to?

      Julie
      x

      1. Netflix was not playing in HD for me either. The default Ubuntu graphics driver will not stream HD (on my system). I solved the issue by installing the Nvidia proprietary drivers from the Nvidia website. Netflix now streams in HD.

        1. To be clear: I was previously seeing the exact same results as Julie when looking at the diagnostics info. With the new graphics driver, it’s reporting 1080p.

          1. Interesting. I’m using the nvidia proprietary drivers, but the older ones that come with Ubuntu 14.10. So it seems to be a driver issue then!

  5. Confirmed working on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Chrome-Browser-Stable 38.0.2125.101 (64-bit)

    1. But are you getting HD? Press SHIFT+CTRL+ALT+D and check the resolution and rate.

          1. Has anyone having these issues tried CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + S and manually selecting the highest bitrate when they know they have the network connection to support it?

  6. Woohoo! Another nail in the coffin for Windows! (At least in my house… now if I could only get my wife to stop using Excel, we could banish Windows from the house forever!)

    1. She could use a more limited version of Excel through a web browser for free, or she could use LibreOffice Calc or Google Sheets as a more functional alternative than the web-based version of Microsoft Office.

    2. Thanks guys, the problem is not lack of options – I use many of those options myself. It’s a problem of inertia.

      1. and herd mentality… when they herd from their friend that linux was hard they never give anything else a chance (sheep joke)

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