Netflix and Linux, What are Your Options?

Netflix and Linux, What are Your Options?

23 Comments on Netflix and Linux, What are Your Options?

Introduction
I have only recently discovered Netflix and signed up without thinking there may be issues playing back the streaming media on Linux. I have done many searches on the subject and found some interesting discussions and the only solution that seems to work.

Why It Does Not Work
Netflix uses Silverlight to play the streaming media and you may be thinking Mono has developed Moonlight which should make this possible but the problem is DRM.

What Is DRM?
The purpose of the DRM is to stop people from viewing the streaming media on an unapproved netflix player, stopping piracy or the service being used in a way Netflix disapproves of.

What About WINE?
I found a post by someone that got close to playing the streaming media using WINE but when the video started to play it was scrambled and crashed which makes me think this is an issue with DRM.

Native Linux Client
At omgubuntu there was a post where he was talking to 2 engineers that confided that Netflix was in fact working on native support for Linux and to expect to see it within the next year. He contacted Netflix to see if this was going to plan but was given then answer “There are no plans to support Netflix on Linux,” ~ Joris Evers, Director of Corporate Communications at Netflix”

A Microsoft Conspiracy?
Netflix is working on Google Chrome OS, Apple OSX, Windows, Android to name a few. There are some amusing conversations on the topic that state that this could be a Microsoft Consiracy such as: “I don’t think it’s quite so ‘back room’. Isn’t Netflix’s CEO on the M$ board of directors?”

So What Are Your Options?
The only way to get Netflix working so far on Linux is to use Virtual Box from what I have found. This means Netflix is not really running in Linux but it allows you to stay in a Linux environment and not have to boot into another operating system. Below is a screen shot of Man vs Wild playing in Netflix using Linux Mint 13 (Cinnamon).

 

UPDATE:
Erich Hoover has managed to get Netflix working through wine on Linux. This site has the instructions on how to install the patched wine via PPA. I would suggest that any one that uses this donate to Netflix Works On Ubuntu on Chipin which was the first thing I did when I found out it worked. Below is a screenshot Transformers Dark Side playing in Netflix running in wine through Firefox and Silverlight. It can be run in full screen mode but for the screen shot it is windowed.

A big thanks to Erich Hoover for all his hard work.

About the author:

Bill Payne started working as a paid professional software developer at the young age of 12 years old developing simple games and other applications for pre-packaged computers. Bill has since developed software for many industries such as direct sales and the the stock market. Bill has now started sharing his many years of software development experience through a blog on the MPSHouse website and one on one lessons.

23 Comments

  1. decentralist  - 11 June , 2012 - 10:30 am
    Reply /

    My guess is the most likely free solution, without a Windows license, would be a virtualized Android on top of Linux, and run Netflix from within that.

    • joedoe47  - 11 June , 2012 - 11:36 am
      Reply /

      oh wow thanks for that tip I hadn’t thought of that idea to view netflix on my linux laptop, thanks man. 😀

  2. Mike  - 11 June , 2012 - 4:09 pm
    Reply /

    Don’t give money to a Company that doesn’t care about you or your OS! The fact that it works on Android and Google OS and not all other forms of Linux is insulting. Why are you giving this stupid company money!! It’s not even that good…

  3. Mike Freeman  - 11 June , 2012 - 4:39 pm
    Reply /

    My solution: boycott Netflix.

    Instead, I rely on Amazon Prime (paid), Hulu (free), Crackle (free), and various other XBMC addons, all through XBMC-PVR, which makes a terrific media center. It can also play live TV through a tuner card. I can also rent streaming movies on Amazon (the ones not included in Prime – through XBMC addon) and Google Play/YouTube (in web browser).

  4. Connie  - 11 June , 2012 - 7:19 pm
    Reply /

    Of course running an MS Windows instance in VirtualBox does require a valid Windows license. OEM versions of Windows meant for distribution with a specific PC are not technically licensed for use in a Virtual Machine…although I suspect that this is exactly how the vast majority of Linux users are creating their Virtual Winodws environments. I am just waiting for some clever Linux developer to reverse engineer Silverlight DRM…it is just a matter of time.

    • bill  - 11 June , 2012 - 7:52 pm
      Reply /

      A compatible DRM in Moonlight for Linux would be great!

  5. albert_  - 12 June , 2012 - 4:38 pm
    Reply /

    Moonlight is dead so forget it and Netflix will have to move to html5 on day or another. Silverlight will disappear in a near futur but that won’t solve the problem. Microsoft is using Netflix to harm Linux.

  6. Hdmi  - 12 June , 2012 - 7:36 pm
    Reply /

    This must have been very inconvenient. I better be careful with Linux and Netflix.

  7. Justin Green  - 15 June , 2012 - 5:04 pm
    Reply /

    I’d rather prefer Linux, but that’ my personal opinion.

  8. bill  - 18 June , 2012 - 1:50 pm
    Reply /

    I am still using Linux (Mint 13), but purchased a Boxee Box for Netflix. It has a great interface, works really well and best of all is Linux anyway.

  9. howie media  - 23 June , 2012 - 4:25 pm
    Reply /

    don’t listen to the hype. everyone wants to give an opinion and then you get lost in others’ “facts.”

    netflix can’t support linux because they will lose rights to stream with the movie companies that control the contracts. it’s not microsoft, it’s not anti-linux, it’s not anything other than the movie companies trying to protect their products; as we have done a good job of scaring the movie industry by destroying the profit-sharing of the music industry. movie companies don’t want that, so they work to minimize the hurt by working with companies such as microsoft to develop drm. microsoft is just doing their job, software servicing.

    the reason why it works in chrome, android, windows and mac is because the products (the movies) are protected from us “hackers,” as many would put it… even though a hacker is nothing more than a computer technician, but i digress and i’m not writing to argue semantics.

    don’t be a hater. deal with what you got and if you don’t like it, get a better job. take responsibility for your own self and stop hating on others’ success.

    this is the punishment of free speech, reading the opinionated garbage.

    and since i’m on my own opinionated garbage rant, i’ll throw in this as well….

    the mars polar ice caps are melting…. it must be the humans that did it.

    peace,
    HM

    • Ron Mexico  - 13 November , 2012 - 4:50 pm
      Reply /

      I would argue that the music industry destroyed its own profits by making the conscious decision to treat their customers like shit and charge $15 for something that costs maybe $2 to produce.

      Till next time… remember: Home taping is killing music

  10. moocow1452  - 1 July , 2012 - 5:26 am
    Reply /

    The fanatic up top is right, it’s a matter of Netflix being in the hot seat when it comes to rights. The engineers are itching to have a go at it, but it just cannot be done right now because Silverlight works okay for their demographic.

    That being said, Android is Linux. I know the apk directly on the Linux couldn’t work, but could one sniff the screen and audio out of it under software?

  11. tux9656  - 3 October , 2012 - 10:27 am
    Reply /

    Silverlight seems to work now with Firefox in Wine 1.5.14. I have not tried it with Netflix, though.

    • bill  - 1 November , 2012 - 7:49 am
      Reply /

      I can’t wait to see the outcome… Well done!

  12. Don Olive  - 1 November , 2012 - 4:49 pm
    Reply /

    This from my friendly Netflix instant messaging tech support tonight:

    Netflix Jennifer–
    Hrmm, so far I’m only finding articles on work arounds and virtual machines. However, our founder Reid Hastings is on the Microsoft’s board so that might have something to do with it.

  13. Kris B.  - 27 November , 2012 - 7:13 am
    Reply /

    The idea that Netflix won’t work in linux is silly – it works on the Roku which is a linux device. They just don’t want to have to support it.

    • bill  - 28 November , 2012 - 8:26 am
      Reply /

      It also works on the Boxeebox which is Linux.

  14. Linux Mint & Ubuntu Netflix Releases  - 3 December , 2012 - 4:25 am
    Reply /

    There are now custom releases of Ubuntu and Linux Mint with Netfilx already setup to work out-of-the-box. Just search for netflix at on-disk.com

  15. gsanse  - 5 January , 2013 - 2:44 am
    Reply /

    This solution works.

    • bill  - 5 January , 2013 - 11:40 am
      Reply /

      I already had links to the solution in the update part of the article.

Leave a comment

Back to Top