Netflix on Linux Mint 17 “Qiana”

*Note: This is not meant to be a tutorial, I am only recounting my experience.

Netflix is possibly one of my favorite companies. They save me a ton of money on cable. I’m a binger, so Netflix is perfect for me. That being said, I’m rather pissed at Netflix for not making streaming compatible with Linux. This entry will be about how I got Netflix to work using Pipelight and the User Agent Overrider for Firefox.

The first problem is Silverlight. I don’t know anything about the programming involved in streaming videos. But it seems really dumb to use Microsoft software to do it. Silverlight can’t be the only way to do it, because I have no problem watching Hulu. I know that Netflix is in the process of switching to HTML5, but why use Silverlight in the first place?

The second problem is Netflix blocking Linux users even if they have a Silverlight(esqe?) plug-in. I really don’t understand that one. If I have the necessary software and I’m paying for Netflix, why would they block me?

These 2 problems are what I had to address to get Netflix to work. Silverlight is owned by Microsoft, so of course it doesn’t come with Linux Mint. Luckily there’s a program called “Pipelight” that gets Silverlight to work. I’m not sure if it actually loads Silverlight or if it’s a plug-in that acts like Silverlight, but it works.

To get Pipelight on my laptop, I read through a few different tutorials on how to do it. The most complete one is here, but I didn’t follow it exactly. Since I am using Linux Mint, I followed the Ubuntu instructions. In the instructions, it (and the other tutes) said to use the Terminal to enter

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pipelight/stable

This command connects my laptop to Pipelight’s repo. I did this and everything was fine. Then I followed the next step to install Pipelight:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install pipelight-multi

The terminal started having a bunch of lines of text, which it always does when I install something this way. After all that text, it failed, saying some file was locked and asking if I had root access. I’d never seen that before. I went searching, and it seemed like other people only had that problem if they forgot to type in “sudo”. Some forum I came across also said when you do “install” it puts the newest version and doesn’t need to be updated. Since I had typed “sudo” I thought I’d try just doing the “install” command. So I tried using this command instead:

sudo apt-get install pipelight-multi

I don’t know exactly what the problem was, but doing this seems to have worked. After it finished installing, I had to enable the plug-in with this command:

sudo pipelight-plugin –enable silverlight

That last command made Silverlight work on my browser. So that fixed the first problem.

The second problem was that Netflix blocks me since I use Linux. The way around this is for me to tell Netflix I’m using Windows. The tutorial suggested the “User Agent Switcher” add-on for Firefox. I tried using this add-on, but when I tried to load a video, Netflix said I needed ActiveX. I tried the “User Agent Overrider” add-on instead, with the setting Windows/Firefox 29. It’s working very well. I have both sound and video, with no lag.

The only problem I have now is that Netflix didn’t have the movie I wanted to stream TToTT

After all that work, I started having problems running Netflix in my browser like I wanted. The image and sound don’t sync up right. I decided to install the Netflix desktop and try it instead. I used Nixie Pixel’s tutorial to install the Netflix desktop program. I’ve got it installed now. It works very well, the image and sound sync up fine.

The commands to install Netflix desktop on Mint (or any Ubuntu compatible version) are:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop

or you can watch Nixie’s Video 😀

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