Netflix running in Google Chrome on Linux
Netflix running in Google Chrome on Linux

Fed up of having to use Google Chrome each time you want to go on a Netflix binge? I’ve got some good news for you.

Mozilla plan to support plugin-free streaming for Netflix (and Amazon Prime Video, and other similar services) in Firefox for Linux, starting with Firefox 49, due September 2016.

Like Google Chrome, Firefox will remove support for NPAPI plugins from its browser in the near future, plugins that some video streaming sites rely on for playback.

‘Mozilla plan to support the Widevine CDM on Linux, letting users watch Netflix without plugins’

HTML5 DRM provides an alternative, and both Netflix and Amazon Prime have switched to using it on their web clients.

“Widevine support is an alternative solution for streaming services that currently rely on Silverlight for playback of DRM-protected video content. It will allow websites to show DRM-protected video content in Firefox without the use of NPAPI plugins. This is an important step on Mozilla’s roadmap to remove NPAPI plugin support,” the company explained earlier this year. 

The Google Widevine CDM (Content Decryption Manager) is already available in Firefox on Windows and Mac OS X.

Now the browser plans to support it on Linux.

Downloaded On First Run

The plan is to handle Google Widevine CDM on Linux in the same way as on other platforms. That is: the module is downloaded and installed when you open Firefox, but is only enabled when you first open a site that requires it.

It’s unlikely that Netflix and company will flip the switch for Linux Firefox users right away, so some short-term user-agent switching may be necessary (as it was on Chrome to begin with).

DRM isn’t everyone’s favourite fruit-shoot, so Mozilla will, as always, offer an Encrypted Media Extension free version of their browser to allow purists to browse free of any DRM encrypted doohickeys.

Are you a Firefox user who is looking forward to this? Will this tempt you back from Chrome? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. 

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