Can You Play Netflix on a Chromebook?

Despite a rough start, Netflix runs seamlessly on current Chromebooks

Couple using laptop together in living room
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Chromebook laptops run Google's Chrome OS instead of Windows or MacOS. They perform best while connected to the internet, and most of their documents and applications are cloud-based. They are easy to use, have virus protection and are automatically up-to-date.

Which Chromebooks Were Affected?

Early in the history of Chromebooks, a shortcoming in both in the pilot CR-48 program and in the initial summer 2011 release was that they wouldn't play Netflix, the popular movie streaming app.

That issue was quickly resolved. Although updates are automatic in current Chromebooks, if your Chromebook is of that early generation and won't play Netflix, you may need to install an update. For the early Chromebooks:

  1. Click on the wrench icon at the top of the screen.
  2. Click About Google Chrome.
  3. Click Check for Updates.

Download any available updates. Once you've done that, playing Netflix movies is as easy as logging in to your Netflix account and streaming just like you would on any other device. A Netflix subscription is required.

About Chrome OS

The Chrome OS operating system was designed by Google and launched in 2011. Its user interface is Google's Chrome browser. Most of the applications that run on Chrome OS are located in the cloud. It was released for secondary devices, not as a user's primary computer. Chrome OS is most appropriate for users to spend most of their time on the web and use web applications.

If you have specific on-your-computer programs you can't live without, you'll have to find similar web-applications or stay away from Chrome OS. 

The experience of working exclusively from within the Chrome browser is challenging to some users. Try it for a few days without opening any local programs on your laptop to see if you can adjust.

Chrome OS is built specifically for people who are comfortable working exclusively with web applications.