How to Watch Netflix Natively on Linux – the Easy Way

Michael Tunnell 10-09-2015

Netflix has been available natively on Linux You Can Now Watch Netflix On Linux Natively: Here's How It is now possible to watch Netflix on any Linux system, so long as you run the Chrome browser starting with version 37. Read More for quite some time now, but the last time we addressed this topic there were a lot things you had to do to make sure that you were able to play any content.


Previously, you had to make sure you were using a specific version of Google Chrome in order to have the required Encrypted Media Extension (EME) support, a specific version of NSS (Network Security Services made by Mozilla), you had to install a User Agent Switcher extension in Chrome and finally you had to change your User Agent to trick Netflix into thinking that you were using Windows How to Change Your Browser's User Agent and Trick Websites Here's how to change your user agent string (so your browser can pretend to be something else) and why it can be useful. Read More .

Thankfully, all of that has become unnecessary and using Netflix natively on Linux is now really easy and basically all you need to do is use Google Chrome. “Seriously?”, absolutely, just go to with Google Chrome and you’ll be able to seamlessly watch Netflix content. Additionally, you have the option to turn Netflix into a Desktop Application via Google Chrome’s Web-App tools. You’ll find a tutorial for creating this Desktop Application later in this article.

How to Watch Netflix Natively on Linux - the Easy Way netflix linux desktop application using kde netflix on linux easy way muo

Is it Really that Easy?

Yes, in fact, Netflix activated support for native Linux in Chrome thanks to Ubuntu and other distros working alongside Netflix in making the HTML5 DRM work for Linux users. Netflix’s Paul Adolph explained in an email to the Ubuntu Developer mailing list what was needed for seamless native playback and within just a few days Ubuntu pushed the solution to 14.04 LTS and even 12.04 LTS.

The following is an excerpt from the email that Paul Adolph sent to the Ubuntu Developers:


“Netflix will play with Chrome stable in 14.02 if NSS version 3.16.2 or greater is installed. If this version is generally installed across 14.02, Netflix would be able to make a change so users would no longer have to hack their User-Agent to play.”

Canonical already had support for full native playback in Ubuntu 14.10+ but with the update pushed to LTS users of both 14.04 and 12.04 it showed the dedication that Linux distros like Ubuntu have for the experience of their users. Additionally the support for Ubuntu 14.04 and 12.04 provided out of the box native playback support for all the derivative/flavor distros of Ubuntu such as Linux Mint, Linux Lite, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, and many more.

Thanks to the effort of the major Linux Distributions The Best Linux Operating Distros The best Linux distros are hard to find. Unless you read our list of the best Linux operating systems for gaming, Raspberry Pi, and more. Read More , Mozilla for NSS, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for HTML5 Video & EME specs, and Google for the EME support in Chrome; Netflix is now available natively throughout the entire Linux community.

Is Netflix Only Available via Google Chrome?

At the time of writing, yes, Google Chrome is currently the only browser that provides playback of Netflix content natively on Linux. This is not going to be the case for too much longer as Firefox has implemented support for EME in the Windows versions of Firefox so support for Firefox on Linux is inevitable at this point.

NSS, the Last Piece of the Puzzle Was Provided by Mozilla but Firefox Can’t Use It?

Actually the reason Firefox doesn’t support native Netflix playback is due to the lack of EME support on the Linux version of their browser. Mozilla is an advocate and proponent of spreading the ideals of Open Source Software so including DRM inside of the HTML5 Standards would be a setback for the Open Source Community as a whole.


Unfortunately for the Open Source Community, once the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) added EME to the HTML5 Specifications for Web Standards it became imperative that Mozilla add support for EME in order to stay competitive in the Web Browser Market. Essentially, Mozilla doesn’t have much of a choice if they want to keep and gain users so they have reluctantly agreed to have support for EME in Firefox.

Turn Netflix into a Desktop Application on Linux

As I stated earlier in the article, you can create a Desktop Application on Linux via the Google Chrome “Add to desktop” feature and here’s how to do it. The process is very easy and pretty straight forward so first just go to in Google Chrome. Once you are the front page, you don’t need to login but you can if you want to, click the Hamburger icon in the top right of the Chrome browser. Hamburger icon might seem like an odd term, that’s because it is odd, but that is the nickname of the 3 horizontal line icon that is becoming popular these days. Next hover your mouse, or select with your keyboard, the More tools option to reveal an additional menu. In the More tools menu, click the Add to desktop option to begin the application creation.

How to Watch Netflix Natively on Linux - the Easy Way chrome add to desktop netflix on linux easy way muo

The Application Creation is also very easy, all you need to do is click the Add button in the dialog popup that displays. The Open as window option makes the new application open in a separate window than the default Chrome window, since this is what we want anyway just leave it checked.


How to Watch Netflix Natively on Linux - the Easy Way netflix in chrome add to desktop dialog netflix on linux easy way muo

Netflix Natively and Easily on Linux!

Thanks to all the efforts on various sides we now have Netflix natively on Linux without applying any workarounds; it just works “out of the box”. With a little bit of effort we can also create a Linux Desktop Application for Netflix.

Since you’ll probably want content recommendations once you’re ready to Netflix on Linux, we have rounded up sources to help you discover movies and TV shows to watch on Netflix 5 Helpful Tools to Find Movies & TV Shows to Watch on Netflix "What should I watch on Netflix?" We've all been there! Here are some useful recommendation sites and apps you can use. Read More .

Explore more about: Google Chrome, Linux, Media Server, Netflix.

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  1. gugu2077
    October 15, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    Works on Firefox 62 on Manjaro by setting the User Agent to Chrome - Linux.

  2. Rocky Lincourt
    March 8, 2017 at 2:49 am

    Currently Firefox 49+ on Linux can stream Netflix natively; but you have to Enable DRM for HTML5 Playback, and use an User Agent Switcher to trick Firefox into thinking that it's Running Natively under Windows.

  3. joshua
    June 19, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    please helpi must be missing something it is not letting me use netflix on ubuntu 16.04. i have a hp elitebook 8540w. can someone just remote in or something?

    • Michael Tunnell
      June 20, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      Your laptop looks like it is 64bit so all you need is Google Chrome and a Netflix account and you should be good to go. Please provide more info if still having issues.

      • Anonymous
        June 20, 2016 at 10:25 pm

        That's the problem. It's also not letting me put chrome on it as well. I spent 3 hours trying to figure it out. Maybe you can remote assist? Email me if you can help.

        • Rocky Lincourt
          March 8, 2017 at 2:55 am

          Google Chrome only runs on a 64-bit Linux Operating System, if you have a 32-bit Linux system you have to configure your Firefox browser.

  4. Siren Watcher
    June 4, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    An easy way to get around this on linux without downloading Chrome is to download an addon that tells websites that firefox is chrome. The firefox addon is called, User Agent Switcher. I just got netflix working fine on firefox under Linux... always a good thing avoiding chrome if you can. This seems to be a decent middle ground.

    • Michael Tunnell
      June 20, 2016 at 10:14 pm

      So you are saying that Netflix works in Firefox on Linux yet Firefox doesn't have support for HTML5 DRM decoding and you didn't use something like Freshplayer to compensate? I just don't think merely changing the useragent would be enough because Firefox still doesnt have decoding tools for HTML5 DRM on Linux. Please, confirm.

      • Anton
        January 12, 2017 at 11:19 pm

        Can confirm, this worked for me. Probably firefox has updated to be able to parse DRM, but netflix hasn't updated to remove the help page redirect. In my setup, I changed the user agent from linux to windows 10, and checked the box in preferences that says "play DRM content" and the site works fine.

        • Michael Tunnell
          January 12, 2017 at 11:47 pm

          You are correct, Anton. Netflix in Firefox on Linux is possible at this moment. That feature was added to Firefox 49 in September 2016. My article was released in September 2015 and the comment that you replied to was June 2016. My statement about the lack of support was accurate at the time of my commenting and the original commenter had mad a mistake. Unfortunately, it is not possible for me to update the article to reflect the new state of Netflix in Firefox on Linux.

  5. Anonymous
    June 4, 2016 at 9:52 am

    A bunch of us on the Puppy Linux Forum managed to get NetFlix running in Chromium itself, since from version 49 onwards, EME is now 'on' by default. Previously, you had to dig around in 'chrome://flags' in order to locate it, and then to enable it.

    We haven't yet managed it in SlimJet; it could be a case of adding EME, well as the libwidevine modules. We're working on it, though..!

    • Michael Tunnell
      June 20, 2016 at 10:15 pm

      Please explain to me the point of using Chromium with the Chrome proprietary features rather than just using Chrome.

      • Anonymous
        June 21, 2016 at 4:39 pm

        Oh, there's probably no 'point' at all.....except that some of our forum members hate Google 'nosey' features in Chrome with a passion.....yet they still want to watch NetFlix.....

  6. Jake
    April 25, 2016 at 4:36 am

    This article is useless for 32-bit users.

  7. Anonymous
    March 19, 2016 at 12:55 am

    For me, I found many of the solutions offered seemed to offer varying results. While most worked well for Netflix, unfortunately they wouldn't work so well for other local ondemand services.

    The solution, at least for me, works right across the board. Infact, if it plays out in the Windows version of Firefox, it seems to play well this way on Linux.

    Install 'playonlinux', most repos have it. Once installed, from the 'Internet' nemu, choose and download Firefox for Windows. Let PlayOnLinux do it's thing. When it's finished, you can now launch the Firefox Windows edition and watch from there.

    I found it works so well, that I renamed Firefox (Windows) to 'TV OnDemand', set up a speed dial as homepage with all my desired OnDemand streams, including Netflix. It also now appears in my favourites menu and on my panel.

    I figure, if you're going to install wine in part for just Netflix, you might as well go the whole hog for all services. Best of all, you get the highest resolution possible - it appears not to be capped.

    As far as the downsides go, it takes a little longer to launch Firefox for Windows than the native version, and ofcourse, any potential security concerns while running wine as Windows. But one just needs to be aware of the risks and watch accordingly.

    Ofcourse you'll still need a VPN to view content from outside your geo zone, but no user agent would be required.

  8. Anonymous
    March 6, 2016 at 4:38 am

    Chrome has stopped supporting 32bit. So now for linux, we have netflix on an unsupported browser (no security updates?) or not at all.

    I do not want to replace both my 32bit systems, which work perfectly well, just for netflix.

    So come on Firefox an Do Something!

    • Michael Tunnell
      June 20, 2016 at 10:21 pm

      32bit is being phased out in many many areas and in my opinion totally should be. As for Netflix, I sadly have zero hope in Mozilla to support it for Linux. Mozilla let Adobe write the support for Netflix for Firefox and of course Adobe doesn't care even remotely about Linux so they made it solely for Windows Firefox users. Until someone else is making a decoder, it's not going to happen.

  9. Lukasz
    February 29, 2016 at 9:19 am

    According to Netflix, the resolution is capped to 720p on Chrome (the only browsers without a cap being IE, Edge, and Safari). Presumably, the cap still applies to this desktop application?

    • Michael Tunnell
      June 20, 2016 at 10:18 pm

      The desktop application is just a webapp using Chrome, so yes same thing applies.

  10. Jack
    February 28, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    Doesn't work anymore. (as of Jan 2016)
    Get an error
    Whoops, something went wrong...

    Missing Component

    We cannot find all the required components to play Netflix on this device. Please visit chrome://components, locate the WidevineCdm component, and click the "Check for update" button.

    Can't update since widevine is not available .

    • Michael Tunnell
      June 20, 2016 at 10:19 pm

      Works fine for me, do you still have this issue?

  11. max
    January 8, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    Doesn't work anymore on chrome. And there's no netflix addon for kodi. please update

    • Michael Tunnell
      June 20, 2016 at 10:17 pm

      It does work on Chrome just fine, used it last night. If you have 32bit machine then that could be an issue.

  12. ooohooohoooh
    November 15, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    use kodi for low end machines, it has an addon for netflix, and will handle the streaming much better

    • Michael Tunnell
      June 20, 2016 at 10:17 pm

      Netflix on Kodi requires a streaming service to restream Netflix to you.

  13. Anonymous
    September 14, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    I would Love to be able to do either netflix, and or Hulu on Ubuntu 14.04, 32 bit.
    I rul a diablotek U310 1.8GB atom with 2 GB of memory, you failed to mention, You must rul a 2.33GB processer with 4.0 GB of Memory I hearZorin & Mint will allow me to do it>
    does any7body Know how?

    • Michael Tunnell
      September 16, 2015 at 1:48 am

      Chrome is notoriously bloated and will not run on low-end hardware. Unfortunately, Chrome is unavoidable though in this situation until Netflix or Firefox gets it together and fixes the issue.

      Zorin nor Mint will not do anything other than what Ubuntu does in this scenario because both Zorin and Linux Mint are based on Ubuntu so they have the same cores.

      Hulu is possible now though thanks to a PPA made by Martin Wimpress, the founder of Ubuntu MATE.

      sudo add-apt-repository ppa:flexiondotorg/hal-flash
      sudo apt update
      sudo apt install libhal1-flash

      Then reboot your system, this is not strictly necessary but is advised to ensure that browser and plugin processes quit correctly.

      Note* - this will fix Hulu in Firefox, for any Linux distro, but it will also fix Amazon Prime Video as well. :)

      • jymm
        November 25, 2015 at 12:20 pm

        Have you tried SlimJet instead of Chrome? It is Chrome without the Google bloating.

  14. Anonymous
    September 14, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Correct. :)

  15. Anonymous
    September 14, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Just waiting for openelec support now...

    • Michael Tunnell
      September 14, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      If OpenELEC, and of course Kodi, had support for Netflix and similar services I would be so freaking excited. :-)

  16. Anonymous
    September 14, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    While Netflix does work natively in Chrome on Linux, it's unfortunately artificially limited to 720p @ 3kbps, which you can verify yourself by pressing ctrl-alt-shift-d to show the debug overlay while playing any video.

    Other clients get 1080p and higher at better bitrates.

    • Michael Tunnell
      September 16, 2015 at 1:16 am

      > Other clients get 1080p and higher at better bitrates.

      Such as? Are you referring to other platforms?

  17. Anonymous
    September 10, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I'm guessing "Chromium" is the browser?

    • Michael Tunnell
      September 10, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      @George Lowry, no, Chromium is not the browser you want for this. Chromium is the open source version of Chrome, it is the foundation of Chrome, Opera, and Maxthon but none of them except for Chrome can actually utilize native playback for Netflix because only Chrome has the EME support.

      You can get Google Chrome directly from Google. then choose the .deb or .rpm that fits your system.

  18. Michael Tunnell
    September 10, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    > "Actually, no. I, (And others.), have been using / viewing Netflix content in Firefox with Linux Mint since 2012."

    You are referring to the Netflix Desktop from the "compholio" PPA and that is not "Netflix Natively on Linux" that is a WINE wrapped Windows version of Firefox with wrapped Silverlight.

  19. Anonymous
    September 10, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    "At the time of writing, yes, Google Chrome is currently the only browser that provides playback of Netflix content on Linux."

    Actually, no. I, (And others.), have been using / viewing Netflix content in Firefox with Linux Mint since 2012. It's not hard to setup, and also is a desktop application that works perfectly. (Actually the HD content runs better and is nicer to watch than Amazon video.) Those of us who chose not to use Chrome, it is an easy alternative and gives us the option of only running the one browser. That said, I look forward to Firefox's full implementation of EME in Netflix.

    • Michael Tunnell
      September 10, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      > “Actually, no. I, (And others.), have been using / viewing Netflix content in Firefox with Linux Mint since 2012.”

      You are referring to the Netflix Desktop from the “compholio” PPA and that is not “Netflix Natively on Linux” that is a WINE wrapped Windows version of Firefox with wrapped Silverlight.