Netflix Firefox

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If you're a Firefox user and you're a little fed up with going to Google Chrome every time in order to watch Netflix on your Linux machine, the good news is since Firefox 49 landed, HTML5 DRM (through the Google Widevine CDM (Content Decryption Manager) plugin) is now supported. Services that use DRM for HTML5 media should now just work, such as Amazon Prime Video. Unfortunately, the Netflix crew haven't 'flicked a switch' yet behind the scenes for Firefox on Linux, meaning if you run Netflix in the Mozilla browser at the moment, you'll likely just come across the old Silverlight error page. But there is a workaround.

For some reason, Netflix still expects Silverlight when it detects the user is running Firefox, despite the fact that the latest Firefox builds for Linux now support the HTML5 DRM plugin.

Sad face.

However, there is a simple workaround for now by tricking Netflix into thinking you are actually running something like Google Chrome, by changing the browser user-agent. There's probably multiple plugins and methods for doing this, but I did it with a site-specific user-agent switcher called UAControl.

If you install that add-on (or any user-agent switcher, but this one allows you to just target Netflix.com if you so wish), all you'll need to do is restart Firefox, head to Netflix.com and do the following:

  • Click and hold the mouse button on the new UAControl button that should be in the top right of the browser (see image below)
  • On the drop-down menu, click 'UAControl Options for this Site...'
  • You'll be brought up with a dialog window where you can choose three actions (again, see image below)
  • Choose 'Custom' and enter the following into the box: Linux / Chrome 53: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/535.11 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/53.0.2785.34 Safari/537.36

Hit 'OK' a couple times until you're back on Netflix, refresh the page, and you should be good to go! You may have to let Firefox install the DRM plugin if it hasn't already, but it will prompt you automatically to do so. If it doesn't, check Preferences/Content and make sure 'Play DRM Content' is checked.

Enjoy!

Current Caveats

It seems to work as it should, but just occasionally I found Netflix video wouldn't play until I refreshed the page. Performance and CPU usage doesn't seem to be quite on par with Chrome for Linux when playing Netflix video either, but that may be due to optimizations that are yet to come for Firefox for Linux in regards to the HTML5 DRM plugin. Your mileage may vary of course, but importantly, it works generally.

Who knows, by the time you read this article, the Netflix guys may even make the change and you won't need this workaround! But if you're currently encountering the annoying old Silverlight prompt on Firefox, this will work fine.

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Netflix FirefoxNetflix Firefox

Watch your favorite Nexflix video content in Full HD 1080p definition using Firefox with the help of this unobtrusive, lightweight, and simplistic extension

Those of you out there who are massive, die-hard movies and TV series fans may know that Netflix currently offers support for 1080p only for two browsers: Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge.

FirefoxNetflix Firefox

This means that the rest of the world, running other browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, or Opera, are only left with the option of watching Netflix content in 720p resolution. In today’s grand scheme of things (considering today’s potent devices), it might seem like a shame to watch your favorite Netflix shows and movies in 720p, especially if your subscription plan includes 1080p and 4k streaming.

Netflix firefox extension

Enjoy 1080p Netflix content while using Firefox

That said, Firefox users will be particularly happy to hear that there’s a simple workaround for this problem and that it comes in the form of a simple and lightweight extension called, quite appropriately, Netflix 1080p.

Inspired by a similar extension for Chrome with the same name (but from a different developer), Netflix 1080p for Firefox removes Firefox’s restrictions and resolution limitations for the world’s most popular streaming service.

Enjoy Full HD quality Netflix content with almost no hassle

By now, there’s a good chance you might be thinking that you’re in for various heavy configuration procedures and lots of under-the-hood work. However, the truth of the matter is things could not have been any simpler.

All you have to do in order to benefit from what this extension has to offer is just install it from the Firefox Add-ons store. Please note that this is a very minimalist extension and that it doesn’t even integrate with Firefox’s toolbar. Once installed, you’ll be able to find the extension in the dedicated Add-ons section, even though there’s no way of interacting with it since there it doesn’t have any type of option of settings section.

Final words

Before we conclude, here are a few things you should know. As expected, this extension might raise your computer’s CPU usage since Netflix was never intended to be played back in 1080p on Firefox. Then there’s also the risk that the team behind Netflix won’t be very happy with the extension and figure out a way to block it.

You may also find that the extension works on almost all videos on Netflix, except a few movies from other studios that have very strict HDCP.To make sure that you’re indeed running Full HD content, search for a text pattern on Netflix and check the resolution in the top-right corner.

It’s true that it may not be the most visually impressive or interactive Firefox extension out there. However, there’s no denying the fact that this little extension does its job very well, and it allows all Firefox users to enjoy all the benefits of watching Netflix content in 1080p

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Netflix 1080p for Firefox was reviewed by Vladimir Ciobica
4.5/5
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Netflix 1080p for Firefox 1.9

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Netflix Firefox Extension

runs on:
Windows 10 32/64 bit
Windows 8 32/64 bit
Windows 7 32/64 bit
file size:
625 KB
main category:
Internet
developer:
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