Netflix is the world’s leading internet entertainment service. The streaming giant boasts 137 million subscribers, 300 million total viewers. Fifty percent of its viewership is from outside the United States. Roughly 25% of US adult stream Netflix daily, generating an estimated $15 billion in 2018 alone.
But enjoying the streaming site’s programming hasn’t always been so easy. While it’s played great on media players like Microsoft Silverlight, but that’s not been compatible with some operating systems like Ubuntu Linux, which has always been common among programmers and techies.
The problem was that Netflix uses HTML5 and Encrypted Media Extensions which prevent piracy. To use those extensions, you had to have access to a set of libraries designated Network Security Services. Until 12.04 and 14.04, that access was strictly off-limits to users.
There were workarounds, of course, including an unofficial desktop app, but none quite got the job done. Now it’s as easy as installing the Google Chrome browser.
If your computer is running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS or 14.04 LTS and later, all you need is Chrome version 37. Just use Chrome to visit the Netflix site and there you are!
If Chrome isn’t your thing, or if you want to stream Netflix to your Linux-based home theater PC, you can still download the app and start watching immediately. Just install the app through a simple Ubuntu repository. Make sure you’ve got some extra space on the hard drive.
To get things going, just run the following two commands, one after the other:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop
Give the app a few minutes to install. (At the moment, that download is an Ubuntu exclusive.) Use Ubuntu’s Dash and search for Netflix Desktop. You can also launch it from the terminal with netflix-desktop. Keep in mind that it’ll do some extra installation work the first time you launch. Netflix launches in full-screen mode, and you’re ready for Netflix and chill. F11 exits out of full-screen mode. Use Alt+F4 to exit the app altogether.
Most people, though, will probably want to go to the new Chrome route. With no unnecessary downloads (except Google Chrome itself if you don’t already have it) and no installation commands, it’s the easiest and best route to Netflix array of programs, much of them exclusive.
Developed by Google in 2008, Chrome is currently the world’s most popular browser, with over 2 billion users, and uses the Blink rendering engine. Chrome’s advantages include a multiprocess architecture to prevent crashing and keep streaming fast and clean and a stealthy design that seems to disappear from the desktop and blocks less of your streaming content. Chrome’s integrated all-purpose bar at the top of the browser, called the Omnibox, makes searching the internet a breeze. Chrome also offers improved tabbed browsing power so you can keep more pages open at once and still surf the net unimpeded.