Netflix

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Netflix

Netflix in Wine app

A (Windows-based) Netflix app (32-bit version) has been modified and bundled to work in the Wine environment. It is available as a package from a private (non-approved) repository here.

  • To run the app will require a 32-bit operating system, which on a 64-bit system might require installing ia32-libs (and/or ia32-libs-multiarch):
sudo apt-get install ia32-libs-multiarch ia32-libs
For help with installing ia32-libs-multiarch (ia32-libs), see this section.
Menu -> System -> Muon Package Manager -> Settings -> Configure Software Sources -> Kubuntu Software -> Software restricted by copyright or legal issues (multiverse) (ticked) -> Close
  • Then install the Netflix-desktop:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop
  • Correct any package installation errors:
sudo apt-get install -f
sudo dpkg --configure -a
  • The package installs the Microsoft core fonts (ttf-mscorefonts-installer). During this part of the installation a prompt to accept the Microsoft EULA will appear. Use the "TAB" key to maneuver to the "Ok" button and then press "Enter" to accept. The installation should then continue to completion.
  • The package creates a menu item for the Netflix Desktop, or the app can be started from a terminal with a command. (I start it the first time from the command-line so I can watch the completion of the final installation steps, which occurs with the initial run.):
netflix-desktop
  • The Netflix app starts in full screen mode. You can exit out of the app completely by pressing ALT+F4 or by using the pop-up "X." You can also press F11 to exit out of full screen mode.
  • From time to time the Netflix app (in Windows) is significantly updated. On two occasions I have needed to uninstall the Netflix-desktop package completely, obtain the newest package version from ehoover's repository, and re-install it.
  • My personal preference was to create and dedicate a new partition for the Netflix installation only. I installed a new 32-bit version of (K)Ubuntu into this partition and then installed the Netflix / modified Wine bundle in this new partition's OS. In total, about 3.75 Gb of space was used for this minimum combination. I made the entire partition 10 Gb (in order to allow for caching and other temp data that might be required). This barebones setup plays Netflix quite nicely. Netflix can then be made to start automatically at bootup of this partition's OS by adding the netflix-desktop to the Kubuntu autostart menu:
Settings -> System Settings -> Startup and Shutdown -> Autostart ->
-> Add Program -> Multimedia -> Netflix Desktop
I also turn off the screensaver and prevent screen-dimming:
Menu -> Settings -> System Settings -> Display and Monitor -> Screen Saver
->Start automatically after... (unticked) -> Apply
Menu -> Settings -> System Settings -> Power Management -> Energy Saving Settings
-> Dim Display (unticked) -> Screen Energy Saving (unticked) -> Apply
Note: I currently have Netflix-desktop running on a a 32-bit Precise Pangolin installation (easiest and fastest), a 64-bit Precise Pangolin installation (difficult to install), and a 32-bit Kubuntu Trusty Tahr installation (acceptable). On two older systems (one with Intel graphics and one with nVidia graphics), Silverlight in Netflix-desktop will not play (though it plays under Windows on the same machines).
Troubleshooting
  • On some of my systems, installing a full Mono setup (sudo apt-get install mono-complete) worked better prior to installing the Netflix-desktop. After doing this, I then answered "No" whenever the Netflix-desktop installer prompted me to install mono.
  • For both updates and troubleshooting, the following steps also seemed to be necessary for me. See this discussion.
  • Remove the netflix-desktop and the wine-browser settings folder, reinstall the netflix-desktop, then restart netflix-desktop in order to complete the reinstallation:
sudo apt-get purge netflix-desktop
rm -rf ~/.wine-browser/
sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop
netflix-desktop
Installing Netflix for multiple users
  • I successfully installed Netflix-desktop under multiple user profiles. To do so, I installed Mono systemwide first (from the primary adminstrative user's account):
sudo apt-get install mono-complete
  • During the Netflix-desktop installation process, I temporarily made each user an "Administrator" (i.e. gave them administrator privileges):
Settings -> System Settings -> User Manager -> user -> Administrator (ticked)
  • I then used the "reinstallation" steps for Netflix-desktop while logged into that user's profile:
sudo apt-get purge netflix-desktop
rm -rf ~/.wine-browser/
sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop
netflix-desktop
Because Mono was already installed, I then answered "No" whenever the Netflix-desktop installer prompted me to install mono.
  • After ensuring that the Netflix-desktop functioned correctly, I revoked the administrator privileges for those accounts I no longer wished to have them.
Settings -> System Settings -> User Manager -> user -> Administrator (unticked)
  • Once properly installed the Netflix-desktop worked without problems whether the user was an administrator or not.
Playing Netflix through an HDMI connection
  • Many of my computers have an HDMI output and I like to stream Netflix to the television using an HDMI cable. This works nicely once the necessary outputs are configured.
sudo apt-get install pavucontrol
  • With the HDMI cable plugged into the computer and the TV powered on, allow HDMI output from Pulse Audio:
PulseAudio Volume Control -> Configuration -> Profile: Digital Stereo (HDMI) Output
  • For the video, choose the appropriate monitor settings to play through HDMI (while the HDMI cable is plugged into the computer and the TV powered on):
Settings -> System Settings -> Display and Monitor -> HDMI -> Apply
Note: It may be necessary to logout then login again for the settings to take effect.
Note: For my system with an nVidia graphics card and proprietary driver, the HDMI video display output is chosen through the nVidia Settings utility.
  • After configuring the outputs, start Netflix-desktop and it will play through HDMI.
  • Troubleshooting: Sometimes the cable must be unplugged and replugged (and the TV powered on) for the system to recognise the HDMI output. On some systems the cable must be plugged in (and the TV powered on) at boot/login in order for the HDMI output to be recognised properly.

Netflix through the Chrome browser

  • Update: According to this article, a development version of the Google Chrome browser is no longer required. The following information is maintained for legacy reference.
  • Netflix streaming (using HTML5) works with the latest Google Chrome browser. See these tips. Chrome (but not Chromium) has the needed DRM module (Google's WidevineCDM), as well as the required version of Pepper Flash, built into the development version. The stable version (v. 36) of the Chrome browser does not have these modules. (Packaged versions of the related open-source Chromium browser (also see here) do not seem to have these modules as well, and though Pepper Flash can be added, there is no availability of the WidevineCDM module for Chromium at this time).
  • Download and install the development version (v. 38) of the Google Chrome browser directly from Google here.
  • Some users indicate that the Beta version (v. 37) of the Google Chrome browser (available here) works for them, but I have not verified this.
  • Verify that the required Widevine and Flash modules are installed in your version of Chrome.
Google Chrome -> Address bar: chrome://plugins
Both the required modules should be visible:
  • Widevine Content Decryption Module
  • Adobe Flash Player Version
This should be a PPAPI Version 11.7 or greater (mine is Version 14.0)
  • According to this thread, your libnss3/libnss3-ld libraries must be at least 3.16.2 (to resolve error M7063-1913). This version is in the Utopic repositories.
  • Temporarily install the Utopic repositories, install/update the required modules, then uninstall the Utopic repositories (so that they do not interfere with your current repositories).
  • Alternatively, download and install libnss3 and libnss3-1d manually from the Utopic repositories.
  • Install the User Agent as described.
Google Chrome -> Customize and control icon -> Settings -> Extensions -> Get more extensions -> Search: User Agent Switcher
-> User Agent Switcher for Chrome -> + Free (Install) -> Add
  • Set the User Agent to "spoof" a Windows version of the Chrome browser.
  • Google Chrome -> <Right-click> on User Agent Switcher mask icon -> Options ->
New User-agent name: Chrome Windows -> New User-agent string: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.3; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/38.0.2114.2 Safari/537.36
-> Indicator Flag: CW -> Add
  • Google Chrome -> <Left-click> on User Agent Switcher mask icon -> Chrome -> Chrome Windows
  • Some users optionally set up permanent spoofing for netflix.com:
Google Chrome -> <Right-click> on User Agent Switcher mask icon -> Options -> Permanent spoof list -> Domain: netflix.com -> Add
  • Navigate to Netflix and test the setup.
  • Some users change their preferred streaming to HTML5 within the Netflix settings, but others indicate that this isn't necessary.
Netflix -> Your account -> Playback settings -> Preferences: Prefer HTML5 player instead of Silverlight (ticked)
  • The Widevine Media Optimizer modules supplied by Google are for Windows and Mac OS and do not work in Linux (outside of Wine). The Widevine modules of the Pipelight project do not work with either the Chrome or Chromium browsers (for me). Pipelight is not necessary (or advised) for this method.
  • Create a menu item to launch the Google Chrome browser directly into Netflix. For the menu item command, use:
/usr/bin/google-chrome-unstable http://netflix.com
  • Installation of the Google Chrome browser also adds a Google repository to your software sources. According to the Google Chrome installation instructions, this can be prevented (prior to Chrome installation) by running:
sudo touch /etc/default/google-chrome
However, this did not prevent the Google repositories from being installed on my system. Therefore, after installation I disabled the Google repositories manually (so that they would not interfere with the Ubuntu repositories).
  • On my systems (both Precise and Trusty), the Compholio (modified-Wine) version (above) has better performance than playing Netflix through HTML5 on the Google Chrome browser. (Perhaps this is because Firefox is used as the browser in that setup and is somewhat faster.) YMMV.

Netflix Android App

A Netflix app for the Android market is available here. It must be installed in an Android environment but in the past has not been fully functional in the current Android emulators.

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