Googling for a solution yields a ridiculous page on eHow that instructs to insert a DVD from Netflix.

But I am not interested in the DVD option. I am only interested in streaming and unfortunately none of my browsers (IE, FF, Chrome) uses the hardware acceleration built into my video card.

The only way I can play non-choppy video on my PC is via Windows Media Player, but WMP doesn't list Netflix as one of the supported online stores for some reason.

Any idea or trick how stream Netflix on WMP 11 instead of a browser?

Update: I found another eHow page, this time more promising, on How to Stream Netflix With Windows Media Player on XP. But that doesn't help me, because step #4 instructs to "Click on "Movies" and then the "Watch Instantly Netflix" link" and there is no "Movies" on my WMP11. Is this article bogus (like the comment at the bottom of the articles says)?

  • 2
    That article is probably talking about Windows Media Center. I have no idea if it is available for Windows XP. Quick google made it seem like it isn't. Movies and Netflix are both clear options on Windows Media Center. You might also want to look into ensuring that Silverlight (the technology used to stream Netflix) has GPU acceleration enabled. It doesn't depend on your browser, it depends on Silverlight settings. Media Center is available on Win7 if you feel like using an OS that isn't 11 years old ;) – PatKilg Oct 12 '12 at 15:40
  • 1
    @EntropyWins Thanks +1. My other computer is running Windows 7, but this particular one (my "HTPC") is too weak to run Windows 7, so I am stuck with Windows XP. I think you are right about Silverlight. Any idea how to "un-grey-it-out"? – Not So Sharp Oct 13 '12 at 0:39
  • No idea, it would just be an exercise in google foo to try – PatKilg Oct 14 '12 at 21:17
  • What is the hardware of your HTPC? Graphics/Processor? – Ben West Oct 18 '12 at 2:36
  • I realize the OP is running Windows XP. Windows 8 runs surprisingly well on older hardware. The Netflix app on Windows 8 has support for hardware acceleration and also supports Super HD: support.netflix.com/en/node/8731 – Bala Sivakumar Jun 19 '13 at 18:50

There is not a way to use Windows Media Player to directly play Netflix streams. Netflix uses custom DRM, which WMP is not able to understand. The "Watch Instantly Netflix" option just uses Internet Explorer running embedded in Windows Media Player.

That said, the likely reason for Windows Media Player to succed where other media players fail is that WMP will use hardware accelleration to reduce CPU use. Making sure you have up to date video card drivers, up to date Internet Explorer or other browser and an up to date copy of Flash and Silverlight will ensure you have the best chance of taking advantage of hardware accelleration.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.