How to: Watch Netflix in Chrome

by Brett on March 13, 2009

Screenshot of netflix loading in Chrome

Screenshot of Netflix loading in Chrome

I just recently started playing with Chrome and after a bit of investigation I think I am going to make the switch from my current browser Maxthon. One problem I noticed when using Chrome was I could no longer watch instant movies in Netflix. Now, I could do what they recommend and use Internet Explorer (or Maxthon) to view a movie but I’m stubborn and wanted to view it in Chrome so I found a way.

When Netflix loads a video it is using Microsoft Silverlight which is something that Chrome supports and gave me my first clue that there is no reason why Chrome shouldn’t be able to view a Netflix video. The solution was actually rather simple, tell Netflix that I’m not actually using Chrome but using Safari on the Mac. In order to do this you just have to add the following parameter when starting Chrome.

 --user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10_5_3; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.19 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.2.1 Safari/525.19"
Add Parameter to Google Chrome Startup

Add Parameter to Google Chrome Startup

To add this parameter right click the Google Chrome shortcut and go down to Properties. Then after chrome.exe in the Target: box paste the above text (make sure you include a space after chrome.exe).

I also tried changing the user agent to make Chrome appear like it is Internet Explorer. After applying that change Netflix gave me a activeX not supported error (image below). Since the problem was solved with the Safari user-agent text above I wasn’t too worried about it.

ActiveX is disabled

ActiveX is disabled

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Arif March 13, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Thanks Brett, that was cool. It works just fine with your startup parameters.

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Will March 25, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Awesome, thanks! There’s another solution floating around that suggests you make chrome spoof firefox instead, which works, but breaks gmail. Yours, however, works for both. Kickass.

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Patrick March 25, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Nice work! I just made a special Netflix-Chromium shortcut and it works perfectly.

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Dave March 31, 2009 at 9:05 am

Thanks it works great

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Chris April 2, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Thanks Brett! Great workaround!

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pnutlmclain April 6, 2009 at 5:44 pm

thank you so MUCH!! google should kiss your a*s! I LOVE YOU!

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farvgnugn April 16, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Didn’t work…. Netflix wanted me to install Silverlight.2.0.dmg and my PC doesn’t know what a .dmg file is

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omg May 1, 2009 at 2:05 am

I was wondering if you knew how to change the shortcut target info while using Google Chrome Portable off of Portableapps.com Suite?

http://portableapps.com/node/18051#comment-118212

Since it won’t display a “shortcut” tab

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omg May 1, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Got it to work with some help, following this link http://portableapps.com/node/18051#comment-118248 and scrolling to the bottom of the page will explain it.

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CW May 3, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Like the rest, thanks for sharing this great workaround.

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know man June 6, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Thanks!! :-)

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DD June 7, 2009 at 9:13 am

Perfect…worked like a charm

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JamesD June 11, 2009 at 5:03 am

Thanks for the useful info. It’s so interesting

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Maya July 5, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Thanks so much for this, worked like a charm!! Now I may indeed completely abandon my other browsers. :)

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Sean July 12, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Thanks for the tip, I think I will use it on the podcast this week.

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Fred July 29, 2009 at 6:12 am

wow! you need to get on Google’s payroll!

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Wes August 4, 2009 at 5:38 pm

I keep getting a “not valid” error when I try and apply it. I am using windows xp SP3

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Jace August 6, 2009 at 11:32 pm

I am getting the same “not valid” error as Wes. Any suggestions on why that might be?

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mke August 23, 2009 at 5:05 pm

@farvgnugn and other with similar problems. you have to install silverlight for windows direct from microsoft’s website FIRST, never mind the caution that it doesn’t work on chrome. THEN apply the nifty little fix detailed on this page. worked for me!

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annk August 28, 2009 at 7:57 am

great job..it works like charm

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Nick September 1, 2009 at 10:13 am

any way to get this working on mac?

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Alan September 2, 2009 at 8:52 pm

I’m having the same issue as Wes and Jace. Are we missing something?

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jp September 26, 2009 at 4:05 am

would this work in Chromium in Ubuntu?

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TS December 8, 2009 at 7:24 pm

This works on Mac if you do this in Terminal (not sure how to do this with a normal app icon): /Applications/Google\ Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google\ Chrome –user-agent=”Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10_5_3; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.19 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.2.1 Safari/525.19″

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toots January 6, 2010 at 7:06 pm

does not work on a mac, tried both ways. Any solutions.

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CB February 12, 2010 at 5:16 am

Works on Snow Leopard.

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leopard April 10, 2010 at 12:53 pm

whether on terminal or appending to icon, it is not working. is there an update for this fix?

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Boko577 May 16, 2010 at 2:14 am

How to work on Mac?!?!

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Alex Johnson June 22, 2010 at 8:01 pm

I am an idiot and have no real clue what I am doing could you tell me how to access this on a mac since we have no access to a ‘properties’ tab. Please don’t mock me to much, I just want to enjoy netflix on chrome.

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Eddie August 9, 2010 at 1:47 pm

I like Alex need to know if this can be fixed for Mac.

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Matt September 4, 2010 at 11:21 am

Great fix, worked like a charm!

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CB September 16, 2010 at 3:55 pm

As of today, September 16, 2010, Netflix Streaming is now supported on Chrome! So the above is no longer needed unless they end up unsupporting it again.

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Marc December 7, 2010 at 2:03 am

Another work around is to simply use the Chrome IE Tab extension.

I have one PC where netflix works perfectly in chrome without any special work around, but on my gaming PC I just use the IE Tab.

Thanks for the command line work around. The sad thing is that Netflix (and many other sites out there are guilty of it, too) should NOT waste time preventing people from running something in a non-supported environment. Just write an entry that if you aren’t using what they support, they will not spend their time helping you but let us try anyway.

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Marc December 7, 2010 at 2:04 am

[[follow up]]…apparently they stopped supporting it again, or perhaps it is because I am using the beta copy of chrome on my gaming PC.

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Brenden December 17, 2010 at 11:29 am

Marc:

It was working just fine yesterday, and all of a sudden Chrome is no longer working today. This is REALLY annoying.. it’s been fine for MONTHS.

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curtis December 21, 2010 at 2:51 pm

This worked great for netflix, however i noticed that files i download are in a mac format, anyway to fix this?

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Frank!m February 21, 2011 at 11:05 pm

I have a question. I have a Chrome Laptop from Google (yeah I’m a beta tester) any idea how I could do this as it is Chrome OS? Thanks.

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Brett March 7, 2011 at 9:53 am

@Frank!m: I am so jealous! I’d love to help you with getting Chrome OS to run Netflix. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get on the beta testers list. Somebody needs to pull some strings for me at Google! :-)

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Software Development May 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm

It worked great for me, thanks for the tweek. We need more developers out there that are willing to share their talent.

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nathan December 6, 2012 at 2:02 pm

I am having issues getting this to work
Windows 7
Chrome Version 23.0.1271.95 m
Silverlight Version: 5.1.10411.0
I know this is an old thread but any help would be greatly appreciated
TIA
Nate

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Celina February 15, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Maybe it’s just me, actually, I’m sure it’s me, however, I tried to cut and paste so that I too (because I’m stubborn as well) but my laptop, wouldn’t allow me too. Is it because it’s an Acer?

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