Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How to almost get Netflix Watch Instantly to work in Linux

I can make Netflix Watch Instantly work on my Linux media center.

Almost. Yes, almost. No, I don't have it working. But I thought that with a little help from the community along with instructions on how I've gotten this far might help bring some support to the topic.

Here's how I did it.

  1. Start with your favorite Linux distribution and install the latest version of WINE. I have tried on version 1.1.40 with near success.
  2. Download the latest version of Firefox for Windows and install it into your WINE instance.
  3. Launch the WINE instance of Firefox and browse to about:config
  4. Get past the warning screen, then right-click in the main region. Click New → String. You'll be given two dialogues:
  5. In the first dialogue, enter general.useragent.override
  6. In the second dialogue, enter Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Windows NT 6.0; en-US; rv:1.9.2) Gecko/20100115 Firefox/3.6
  7. Close Firefox and relaunch it.
  8. Browse to, log in, and go to the watch instantly page. Magically, you'll be transported beyond the "OS not supported" page you're used to, and you'll be given the option to install the Silverlight plugin. Do so.

It's about here that you'll notice a crash. Firefox in WINE doesn't like it when the Silverlight plugin tries to install and fails. When you repeat step 8, you'll notice that you actually get to the page where the video ordinarily plays, but the image is scrambled and Firefox soon crashes.

So here's the part where I ask for some support from the amazing Linux community. Does anybody have any suggestions as to where to go from here? I'm not sure what parts of the user agent string are being looked at, but it seems more like the Silverlight plugin for Firefox just doesn't work in WINE. How can we go about making Silverlight work?