It is now possible to watch Netflix on any Linux system, as long as you start the Chrome browser starting with version 37. This avoids having to use a Wine-based solution for the Silverlight plug-in to work. 5 Ways To Watch Netflix On Linux Without Silverlight 5 Ways To Watch Netflix On Linux Without Silverlight Netflix relies on Silverlight; Silverlight does not play well with Linux. But Linux users have an easy to use solution. Read more . More importantly, the latest versions of Chrome block this solution anyway, so you should only be able to use Firefox to watch Netflix. For now, you can’t use Firefox to watch Netflix.
How is this possible?
Because the World Wide Web Consortium has added a portion of DRM (Digital Rights Management) called Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) to the HTML5 specifications, Netflix was able to proceed with the development of an HTML5 player intended to support the Silverlight player it has been traditionally used. Not only did Netflix have to develop this player, but browsers also had to add support for DRM. Chrome is now the first browser that Linux users can use.
Firefox users cannot currently view Natflix natively as it does not yet have support for EME. Once this support is added to Firefox it should work.
How Netflix works
If you want Netflix to work natively on your Linux system, you will need to open the Chrome browser first, at least version 37. Depending on when you read this, it may be the stable version of Chrome, but at the time of writing , version 37 is currently in beta.
Once Chrome version 37 or later is running on your computer, you should also make sure that you are running the absolutely latest versions of libnss. The installed version must be at least 3.16.3, which Ubuntu 14.04 does not provide, but Ubuntu 14.10 does. If you are using Ubuntu, you can download the 32-bit or 64-bit updated packages [no longer available] from libnss3, libnss3-1d and libnss3-nssdb. If you are using a different distribution, make sure you have all three packages and that they are all at least version 3.16.3.
Great, you’re already halfway there! Next, you need to install the User Agent Switcher extension for Chrome. This is necessary because Netflix doesn’t officially do thatsupport for Linux, so it denies all users who have user agent strings that say they use Linux. We need this extension to pretend we’re using Windows. Hacking websites by changing your user agent [Chrome] Making websites difficult by changing your user agent [Chrome] Making websites think you are using a different web browser or device. Whether you want to trick that old IE website into letting you in or find out what the web is like for iPhone users, … Read More Once it is installed, right click on the icon in the top right corner, choose Options and then add a new user agent string.
Then enter the following information:
- Name: Netflix Linux
- String: Mozilla / 5.0 (Windows NT 6.3; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit / 537.36 (KHTML, such as Gecko) Chrome / 38.0.2114.2 Safari / 537.36
- Group: just click in this box and it will be automatically filled in with “Chrome”
- Add?: Select Replace
- Flag: whatever you want. What you enter here is what is displayed on the icon when it is active.
On the left side of the User Agent Switcher options, click Permanent spoof options. Then type in “netflix.com” in the Domain field (without the quotes), and choose the Netflix Linux user agent string. This way you don’t have to touch anything and the extension will automatically make the necessary changes when you visit Netflix and revert the changes when you visit another site.
Finally, log into your Netflix account, view your account settings and then the playback settings. Make sure the option for Prefer HTML5 Player instead of Silverlight is enabled. Now you should be able to choose whatever you want to watch and it will work.
We have Netflix!
It’s great to finally be able to use Silverlight, especially since we need Wine to make it work and Microsoft isn’t even really developing Silverlight anymore. It’s less complicated, faster, more secure and more seamless. Sure, it still takes some work to set up via Chrome, but once you’ve done the initial work, using Netflix on a Windows or Mac computer is as easy as possible.
Happy that you can now use Netflix natively? Would you rather have Netflix officially support Linux? Let us know in the comments!