I signed up for a Netflix account yesterday, but when I tried to watch streaming video online I got an annoying message about hoe my Operating System is not supported. When I found out that they didn’t support Linux I was so pissed. Plenty of web content out there is Mac, Linux, and Windows friendly. But they have this annoying DRM crap. It’s not like you couldn’t just screen record it anyway, or just download a torrent… The messed up thing is I want to pay! I’m more than willing to shell out $10-$15 a month to watch from a library of TV shows and movies. Most people are!
That’s why I like Netflix and unlimited mp3 download sites. Because they know it’s better to offer a fair price on a subscription model, than screw people for $10-$25 for a DVD or an Audio CD. To make it worse you have to leave your computer to retrieve said items same day. So that cost the consumer extra dollars in gas or public transit. Which also has a cost; the environment and public transportation subsidies(AKA your taxes). Lets not forget about the reduced cost for the music/film producers.
A digital copy requires no paper, no human factory workers, no plastic wrap, no tape, no giant bill boards at check out stands with 500 copies of the ‘Incredibles’, and no need to ship it across the sea from China. I could keep going on about this, but I made my point. The Record and Movie companies margins increase because it cost a lot less to distribute copies over a computer network. Duh. Everyone one could be better off, it’s all about mindset and a little common sense.
So in a nutshell the Movie(MPAA) and Recording(RIAA) industries could be making hundreds of millions offering a price people would be willing to pay for content they want. Or they could keep suing children and families for millions of dollars(they don’t have) for downloading MP3′s illegally. My guess is that working people will have to turn the courts for protection since our government seems more interested in helping Gianormous Corporations.
Back to Business: Watching Netflix on Linux!
Netflix does not work with QEMU-KVM Windows XP VM. I tried my best… I prefer Xen and QEMU-KVM, but what works matters! It would be nice if Netflix provided a format that was compatible with Linux. but they don’t. The Mono project in conjuction with our friends from Microsoft have released ‘Moonlight’. which is supposed to be a open source version of Silverlight, which is the streaming Media format used by Netflix. This may not be Netflix’s fault however, it could a DRM stipulation by the greedy movie studios.
Install Virtualbox from Sun Microsystems. Virtualbox is a quasi-open source VM server. The install is easy, a one click setup and a nice user interface! It is easy to install Windows XP, even for a novice. So if you want to enjoy Netflix streaming use Virtualbox! I’ll ask Miguel de Icaza of Novell to comment on this one since he works on that project.