This tutorial will walk you through how to watch Netflix on your Ubuntu based GNU/Linux operating system natively on your Chromium browser. One of the reasons, when I first started using GNU/Linux, which I was hesitant to “make the switch”, to GNU/Linux as my primary operating system was it’s lack of native support for Netflix. When you try to open up a movie in Netflix with a typical browser, like Firefox for example, you will be taken to a page with an error message. This tutorial is designed to show you how to watch Netflix natively in Chromium in your Ubuntu based GNU/Linux distribution.
Netflix wants you to run a commercial operating system in order to take advantage of the subscription that you pay for. There has been a petition for some time that has gathered over 30,000 signatures, but this seems to have no effect on Netflix’s decision on native GNU/Linux or FreeBSD support.
Thanks to some great people with a project called Pipelight we have a way around their obstruction. Our objective is to use Google Chromium, which is required for this method, and Silverlight from Microsoft to trick Netflix into thinking that we are using a commercial operating system on their site. You can easily install Chromium in the terminal by running this command:
sudo apt-get install chromium-browser
The first thing we need to do is install the repositories for Pipelight. You will want to open your terminal and type the command:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pipelight/stable
The terminal will ask you if you want to add the repositories for the Pipeline project’s stable release. You want to press “ENTER” to continue. Update your system with the usual:
sudo apt-get update
We then need to install Pipelight:
sudo apt-get install --install-recommends pipelight-multi
then update update the Pipelight plugin:
sudo pipelight-plugin --update
After the update you’re ready to enable the Silverlight plugin for Chromium. We will use:
sudo pipelight-plugin --enable silverlight
Use Y to accept the licenses.
Now that we have Microsoft’s Silverlight installed and enabled we just need to use an User Agent Switcher for Chromium to make Netflix think we are running a different browser on a different operating system. Go to the Chromium store and search for User-Agent Switcher for Chrome by Glenn Wilson. Or click here.
In Chromium you should now see the User-Agent switcher in the top right corner. You want to select Firefox then Firefox 15 you should see F15 on that corner icon after the switch is complete.
Now we will navigate to Netflix, sign in, and select a movie. You will get a message on a gray screen saying Silverlight Plug-In needs your permission to run. Just right click the screen then Run this plug-in.
You still need an active Netflix account to watch Netflix using this method. This simply allows a user of a Ubuntu based distribution, ex: Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Bohdi, etc. to watch Netflix on your operating system.
Please note although this tutorial is written for Chromium you can also use an User-Agent switcher in Firefox and produce the same results. Also note that I have come across issues using this method in live sessions and believe it has something to do with user_xattr not being enable in the filesystem during live sessions.