Linux

How to get Netflix streaming on Ubuntu 12.10

It's taken quite some time, but Netflix streaming video has finally arrived on the Ubuntu Linux desktop. In this easy, step-by-step, Jack Wallen shows you how.

In one of my recent blog posts, I mentioned that Netflix streaming was now available for the Ubuntu 12.10 desktop. I've used it -- it works like a champ. Any title in your Netflix library will play and play as expected. This means, for Linux users, no more having to depend upon streaming devices or watching Netflix on your WII or PS3. Now you too can enjoy Netflix as was promised long ago by the company itself.

This Netflix app is due to the hard work of programmer extraordinaire, Erich Hoover. With the help of WINE, Firefox, and Silverlight, Hoover was able to make this happen. Obviously, FOSS purists will turn their nose up at two things:

  • Silverlight
  • DRM

But, if you want streaming Netflix on your Linux desktop... you've no choice. When it comes to Hollywood, DRM is not going anywhere... ever.

The installation of Netflix on Ubuntu isn't hard. In fact, it's quite easy. It does, however, take some time.

Installation

Before you tackle this task, make sure your machine is fully updated. You can either do this from the update manager or from the command line. If from the command line, do the following:

  1. Open a terminal window
  2. Issue the command sudo apt-get update
  3. Enter your sudo password
  4. Once the update completes, issue the command sudo apt-get upgrade
  5. Accept the updates
  6. If prompted (in case of a kernel upgrade), reboot the machine

Now that your machine is fully prepped, it's time to install the Netflix Desktop app. Here are the steps:

  1. Open up a terminal window
  2. Issue the command sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio
  3. Hit Enter
  4. Issue the command sudo apt-get update
  5. Issue the command sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop

At this point you will see quite a large number of dependencies necessary for the installation (129 to be exact). Say OK to this and the installation will begin. Depending upon the speed of your network connection, this could take some time. Once that's done, do the following:

  1. Open the Unity Dash
  2. Type netflix
  3. Click Install on the Wine Mono Installer (this is necessary for .NET)
  4. Click Install on the Wine Gecko Installer (this is necessary for embedded HTML to work properly)
  5. If you get an error, OK the error (I had this same thing happen on two machines -- everything worked fine anyway)
  6. Allow the local installation to complete

At this point the Netflix Desktop application will open in full screen mode. To get out of that mode, hit F11. You will also find a new Firefox icon on your desktop. You can delete that if you like.

That's it. You are now ready to enjoy streaming Netflix on your Ubuntu Linux desktop.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

56 comments
mmilena
mmilena

Worked perfectly! Thanks!

solstice333
solstice333

If you're running into issues, at the wine mono installer part, instead of going into unity dash and searching for netflix, open up a terminal and type:


$ netflix-desktop


to monitor the installation activity. That worked for me. If you're still running into issues, might need to do,


$ sudo netflix-desktop


but you might have to type in sudo netflix-desktop to execute the process each time.

solstice333
solstice333

If you're running into issues, try using sudo in the terminal (for everything). For my particular issue, I was running into issues on the installation of Wine Mono stage. So on the part where it says to open Unity Dash and to open Netflix, don't do that. Instead open up a terminal,


$ sudo netflix-desktop


and then continue following the steps as documented above.

bbojsu
bbojsu

It worked perfectly for me. Thanks!!!

drstyle
drstyle

Works on latest Mint, 64 bit. Awesome!

patpannese
patpannese

Cannot click OK. Terms of agreement come up in terminal with no way of pushing button


TotallynotVegas
TotallynotVegas

I did all this but the netflix app fails to launch every time

aleksanderbn
aleksanderbn

any way to get the american netflix in norway?

billyelliott
billyelliott

Miss an episode of In and Out? Not on your life! Watching Netflix in Australia through Streaming VPN ( www.streamingvpn.com ) on my tablet is my way of making I catch all the wonderful, enjoyable moments. Who wants cable TV when I have Streaming VPN ( http://www.streamingvpn.com ) on my laptop and tablet? Not meee!

elletee
elletee

I had to quit the mono and gecko prompts when they came up as I had to suddenly run off. Bad move, now I can't get either of those prompts to show again. I've tried removing netflix desktop and starting the process from scratch to no avail. I suppose I could get it to work properly again if I started from a completely clean slate, but I've no idea how to get there. Any help appreciated.

nickhwhite1
nickhwhite1

This looked like it worked but it hasn't... Wine Gecko Installer completed, however when trying to launch netflix, nothing happens. Any ideas?

taplinb
taplinb

Thank you, Jack. This worked on the latest Ubuntu version as of 7July 2013. Much appreciate the chance to watch "Hell on Wheels" today.

icecube6
icecube6

Nice views. Streaming is mainly used to transfer data or stuff in a continuous ways. It provide better quality images and videos.  You can share your views and upload any video in any format. Streaming

paulshearer
paulshearer

My dual boot system at home is still running 12.04 64-bit, everything worked ok. A few times audio came through ok but video skipped, then everything worked like it should. Also did a fresh install of Mint (never used it before but others here said it worked for them and I had a disk with it on there from Ubuntu user magazine) and followed instructions, it worked there ok also. I am rather new to Ubuntu and I am more of a hardware person, I do not think I would have ever figured this out on my own but the fact that it has been done and can be done in a few minutes, nice. It is such a nice thing when wanting to run multiple computers but not wanting to pay for an Operating System when using them as an internet portal for Netflix and Hulu. Now if someone can get Amazon Prime working on Ubuntu too that would be a plus.

paulshearer
paulshearer

Took a spare ThinkCentre (7303-BAU) with a clean 40GB hdd, 2 GB RAM, did a clean install of 12.10, got all of the updates, got the restricted extras and WINE from the software center. Then I followed the instructions and Netflix came up on the screen.

Rick1971
Rick1971

I am using Mint - 15, I got it to work using the directions, but it is a bit choppy, probably cause I don't have much RAM, my video card is good, but my RAM in only 4 GiG

Rick1971
Rick1971

I am using Mint - 15, I got it to work using the directions, but it is a bit choppy, probably cause I don't have much RAM, my video card is good, but my RAM in only 4 GiG

balticbloand
balticbloand

Hi-- Successfully installed and had Netflix running well (Thanks). So now Silverlight wants me 'upgrade' my version of Silverlight to allow Netflix to run again. Is there a procedure to do that? I ran Ubuntu software updater hoping it would include the update, but it did not register. (Ubuntu 12.10 64bit)

freezeron
freezeron

After registering, I was able to read all of the responses. Yesterday I only got to see 2 of them, so none mentioned 12.04. Still getting mixed results though. You would think they would fix this. I wonder if Hulu has this problem? May be worth the switch. Netflix is starting to act like Mac OS and Microsoft. Greedy and uncaring of it's enduser. First they split the CD delivery and sttreaming content that used to be 10 bucks to 7.99 each. So I stayed with streaming, now we are jumping through hoops tring to get this to play nice with linux. They probably no they definately feel that the linux base is so small that they couldn't give a rats ass. What they are missing though is that a lot of people also use the same service through a roku box, or a DVD player and sometimes dont want to waste the electric of a large screen TV, and just use their 22 in monitor instead. So it isn't only linux users, it is a lot of users who are sick of Netflixes fuck you attitude toward its customer base.

freezeron
freezeron

Can anyone confirm trying this in ubuntu 12.04 distro? 12.10 was too buggy for me to use.

jt2354
jt2354

Works a treat. Damn sight easier than starting Ubuntu, starting a Virtual Box and watching in a nearly-but-not-quite full screen.

johnshier
johnshier

I just wanted to chime in that I followed the instructions exactly and this worked perfectly for me. Thanks!

Hip Creep
Hip Creep

Got as far as "Issue the command sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop". Teminal displayed an EULA for (apparently) installing some fonts. At the end there's "", but no response when I hit Enter, click on , &c. Rebooted, repeated, same situation. I am super noob in Linux/Ubuntu so please talk slow and use small words if you have any advice. Thank you in advance.

Wiso57
Wiso57

Thanks Tech Republic for this publication Thanks to Erich Hoover. Wine, Firefox and Silverlight. I'm new to Ubuntu but I could make it to happen since the very first try out...Netflix is working great! Gracias Tech Republic. Gracias a Erich Hoover, Wine, Firefox y Silverlight. Aunque soy novato en Ubuntu, logre la instalacion desde mi primer intento. Netflix esta trabajando formidable!

Shortstraw8
Shortstraw8

Not working for me. I started download everything was going fine asked to download mono, then it stopped installing with out any notice or any prompt after like (finish install) I have the icon, if I click it nothing happens if go from filesystem /usr/share/application : click on netflix it will show up in the launcher but then disappears. I have tried rm -Rf ~/.netflix-desktop then the reinstall Also sudo apt-get --purge remove netflix-desktop sudo apt-get autoremove brings out files from the install then sudo apt-get clean sudo apt-get update then reinstall Not sure what it is missing or I am missing. Running Ubuntu 12.04 AMD Phenomll X6 16 Gig of ddr3 1333 crucial memory 2TB Seagate 6gbps satalll with tons of room So it asked to install (wine gecko) and I did the it asked to install (mono) I did then it stopped and know I'm lost.

jjfire
jjfire

I have had the netflix-desktop working for a few week, however today I began having the error n8156-6013 and it says it's a DRM issue. Any Ideas?

LGBZ
LGBZ

im new to Ubuntu, but the guide is perfect, works the first try. thanks

Bob-El
Bob-El

I'm running Ubuntu 12.04 and untenops said he's runing Kubuntu 12.04 and he had no problem. So this installation should work on my computer. Right? I followed Jack's instructions carefully. After completing the preliminary steps, I typed "netflix" in the Unity Dash, then clicked on "install" for the "Wine Mono Installer". Finally I clicked on "install" for the "Wine Gecko Installer". I got an error that said, "Firefox: Couldn't load XPCOM". So I just clicked on the "Ok" button because Jack said to ignore any errors, that he did and "everything worked fine". Wrong! Nothing happened after I clicked the "Ok" button except the error went away. The Netflix application did not run at all. No new Firefox icon appeared on my desktop. If I try to run Netflix in the Dash all I get is the same error. So what gives? What is XPCOM? And what am I missing? And if I can't get this thing to work, how do I remove all the now-useless stuff in my computer?

lord_beavis
lord_beavis

on Slackware 13.37. Let the tweaking begin!

dermeco
dermeco

It works wonderful in Pear Linux 6. Thanks for posting this.

Brainstorms
Brainstorms

..does not install X-windows or a GUI (Unity, Gnome)... Unless you've added these to Server, it won't do anything. But if you *have* added a GUI to Server, why don't you just install the Desktop edition? (Jack's procedure assumes that this is the case.)

scarabcoder
scarabcoder

For some reason the Netflix application does not work. I did what you said, then after I installed the .NET and HTML wine, it closed. When I tried to open it, nothing happened. I am running Ubuntu Server on my desktop computer, with the version 12.04. Any ideas?

jmdiazarg
jmdiazarg

I decided to stay with 11.10 because I'm stuck with my Dell 1525 still and I think that the upgrade will slow down my laptop. So, I've tried to install netflix following these steps but I receive this error "unable to locate the package netflix-desktop" (the message is in spanish, so this is my translation of it). Is there a way to install it in 11.10? Thanks

Bob-El
Bob-El

This looks very interesting. Will it run on Ubuntu 12.04?

edanto
edanto

@patpannese  With that window clicked to be active, use Tab (maybe a few times) until the <OK> turns red and then hit Enter to accept.  Similar at the next step.

serup
serup

@TotallynotVegas yep same here on ubuntu 12.10 -- installation follows above however nothing is shown when starting netflix from unity dash even after system restart

AnnoyedTechSupport
AnnoyedTechSupport

Since you're in a terminal, you're going to have to use the TAB key to get from selection to selection. Just hit the tab key to get to okay, then enter, and use the tab key again on the next screen to get to the appropriate selection.

howard0235
howard0235

@jjfire check ur silverlight installation.

i had problem also.

my solution was to remove everything and reinstall

Brainstorms
Brainstorms

sudo apt-get remove netflix-desktop will remove the netxflix package for you. You can also either remove Wine afterward, or simply enter rm ~/.wine to (permanently) delete your Wine 'environment', which contains the Mono & Gecko installation you also performed. Of course, it will also delete anything else you've previously installed in Wine... But this all begs the question: Has anyone tried/succeeded in installing this using Crossover? Crossover provides two potential advantages here: 1.) You can install in a separate "Wine Bottle" environment, independent of any other Wine app installations you may have -- no interaction, clobbering, or removal issues with other software you've spent time getting to run. 2.) Crossover has much better support to get things like Mono & Gecko properly installed & configured (with such assistance as automatic selection & installation of DLLs that are required -- whether you know you need them or not). Has anyone done this?

orwtech
orwtech

Followed the instructions and everything installed fine. Though I noticed that a i386 version of wine is installed and my Mint 14 kernel i 64 bit. I was able to log on bring up the netflix site (Danish subscription) and login and was able to browse all the available movies. Happy so far :-) So I was very disapointed when I clicked a movie and my screen went black. The movie did not play :-(

ypsi7267
ypsi7267

It also rums on Mint 13 which is based in part on 12.04 Cheers

untenops
untenops

I'm running it on kubuntu 12.04

Hip Creep
Hip Creep

The TAB key...why didn't I think of that. Oh, right--'cuz I'm a total noob. I never expected clicking to work--I just included that to show how clueless I am. Anyway, installation successful, watching Netflix right now & thinking about next project for the Ubuntu machine. Muchos gracias, AnnoyedTechSupport

Bob-El
Bob-El

I searched my .wine & .netflix-desktop directories for any instances of xpcom. I couldn't find it. So I tried sudo apt-get remove netflix-desktop. It went through the motions but I still have the .netflix-desktop folder with a bunch of stuff inside. It didn't go through a Mono uninstall or Gecko uninstall. I tried reinstalling but that didn't get me anywhere. So I went to my Windows computer and looked for xpcom. I found xpcom.dll in C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox. I also found xpcom.js in ...\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\r4rsk718.default\extensions\OneClickDownload@OneClickDownload.com\resources\api-utils\lib I copied them to a flash drive, went to the .netflix-desktop folder and put xpcom.dll in the "Mozilla Firefox" app folder. There is no AppData folder in the user folder in .netflix-desktop but "Application Data" is there with nothing in it. So if you could tell me where you find xpcom.??? in your installation, I could try pasting the xpcom files in there.

LoopyLuna
LoopyLuna

Same problem here. On Ubuntu 12.10.

temp_user2
temp_user2

I'm sad to say the exact same thing happened to me on Ubuntu 12.04 - 64 bit. Real bummer.

Bob-El
Bob-El

Excellent! Thanks. I'll give it a try.

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