How-To Geek

How to View Netflix Watch Instantly in XBMC

Netflix streaming isn’t just a feature that is nice to have, for many people it is a must have for any video streaming software. Unfortunately it has been missing from XBMC for various reasons, until today.

In order to get Netflix Watch Instantly working in XBMC you just need to have XBMC 10.0+ installed on Windows or OS X. Because of a lack of Silverlight support, this currently does not work on XBMC Live, Linux, or iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, AppleTV). You also need to live in a region that offers Netflix streaming (currently US and Canada).

Install XBMC Flicks

To install XBMC Flicks in the latest version of XBMC all you need to do is go into your settings then add-ons. Click on get add-ons -> add-ons -> video add-ons then scroll to the bottom of the list and click XBMC Flicks.

Note: If you don’t see XBMC Flicks, you do not have a system that is capable of playing streaming Netflix or you are missing needed components.

Click install on the following window and the add-on will be automatically downloaded and installed in your system.

Configure XBMC Flicks

To change settings for the application click configure from the installation window.

You may need to change the setting “Are you in Canada?” if you are using Netflix from Canada. This setting will automatically use the website for streaming.

If you are using OS X, change the “OSX” setting under miscellaneous to Yes.

Allow Access to Netflix

The next step is to authorize XBMC Flicks to connect to your Netflix account. If you are familiar with authorizing any other Netflix streamer this step will be very familiar to you.

In XBMC go to videos -> video add-ons -> XBMC Flicks and you will be prompted to click OK after you finish authorizing the add-on.

A browser window should automatically launch and go to the Netflix authorization page.

Log in and click “Yes, Link This Account” and you will be forwarded to the confirmation page.

Now close your browser and go back to XBMC and click OK.

Restart XBMC and go back to the add-on.

Using XBMC Flicks

XBMC Flicks works like any other Netflix streaming application.

You have access to browse your instant queue, top 25, new arrivals, or by genre. You can even search to jump right to a video whether or not it is in your instant queue.

Once you find a video you want to watch, a full screen Netflix window will open and begin streaming your video. You will need to log into Netflix to begin playback so we would recommend having Netflix remember your login information for seamless playback.

During playback a remote control will still work for play, pause, etc., but if you don’t have a remote you will need to push Alt+F4 in Windows or Command+Q in OS X to quit playback and go back to XBMC.

For help and support with the add-on please see the official XBMC Flicks forum thread on

Justin Garrison is a Linux and HTPC enthusiast who loves to try new projects. He isn't scared of bricking a cell phone in the name of freedom.

  • Published 02/17/11

Comments (25)

  1. Cambo

    FINALLY!!!! This is AWESOME!

    Even though we’re in Canada and the selection blows…nothing a small VPN can’t fix.

  2. karol34

    can someone tell me why is everywhere promoted the XBMC over Plex?
    Plex is WAY further with every aspect as media center app, it does everything that you get from XBMC, only better.

  3. Atomsk

    I wonder if this would work on an xbox 1 with xbmc.

  4. Justin Garrison

    @Karol34 Can you name something that Plex does that XBMC does not? In the early days Plex was OS X only (which was it’s biggest problem) and now XBMC has caught up, or surpassed, Plex in every area that I know of. Online content, media scrapers, and “App store” are all available in XBMC which was originally Plex’s biggest draw.

    @Atomsk It won’t work on an original xbox because there is no silverlight support on the xbox

  5. John

    Just wondering what program you are adding this onto? You say click on setting etc but in which program?

  6. Eric

    I assume Netflix still doesn’t have a Linux viewer, right?

  7. Alex

    I liked Plex better for the media server, the app store, the ready-to-go Hulu and Netflix… but it simply wasn’t stable on my 2010 Mini. XBMC plays back much more smoothly and with fewer (or no) hiccups. I wish Plex would take whatever playback mods XBMC has done and incorporate them.

  8. Josh

    I have been using Plex on my 2010 Mini until recently. I like it well enough, but hardly any of the plugins work correctly and it must run on an old Flash version, which keeps you from updating Mac OS properly. I’m just now getting around to test driving XBMC and I’m happy with what I see. There seems to be MUCH more community involvement with XBMC and honestly, the community drives the product.

  9. Tom

    Hi I am having a problem that has been brought up before on the xbmc forums and I can’t find where it has been resolved. When I click on a movie the movie plays behind xbmc – additionally it is not in fullscreen mode. The app looks great but can’t get it to fully work in osx.

  10. Jonathan

    “Because of a lack of Silverlight support, this currently does not work on Linux devices” This is not entirely true. Linux does have a native Silverlight plugin. It’s called Moonlight and it’s developed by Novell in cooperation with MS. The problem lies in that Moonlight doesn’t support DRM (Digital Restrictions Management).

  11. Richard Cintron

    Dear HowToGeek,

    I have an Apple TV 160 GB (1st Generation). I recently installed an ATV Flash. I followed your guide on how to set-up my Netflix account using XBMC Flicks. However, I hit a wall. After making several attempts no window has appeared asking for my account name and password. Did I miss a step?

    Thank you,
    Richard Cintron

  12. Scott

    I too have hit the wall on authorizing. No browser window appears nor is one running anywhere on the AppleTV. Can we manually hack in our username/password anywhere?

  13. Jon

    @Scott and Richard,

    He mentions in the article that AppleTV’s won’t work, due to not supporting Silverlight.

  14. jojomojo

    It says xbmc has linked to my netflix account although xbmc just hangs when trying to view my instant queue, and when I check my account settings via web broswer “Manage site connections and applications” xbmcflix is not listed in fact nothing is listed.

    What gives?
    Grrr, at least my Evo finally has streaming
    Hoping to get this fix when i have the time.

  15. Shaun

    On Leopard I’m getting an issue where Chrome opens up the link, but it is actually showing the contents of the Firefox application. I attempted to switch Firefox to the default browser to fix it, but it just opens the movies outside of XBMC in Firefox now instead.

  16. Matt

    I recently added this to my brand new Macbook Pro and similar with those using apple TV no browser window opens up to link my account…. Not sure what to do so it works, any ideas?

  17. Rob

    Same problem as “Shaun” – OS X Snow Leopard opens up Netflix in a new web browser window. I’ve switched my default browser from Firefox to Safari to Chrome and no matter what, XMBC opens the browser instead of XBMC Flicks

  18. Josh

    Having the same problem as Rob and others – any show/movie selected opens up in a browser window as opposed to the XBMC player, regardless of whatever is the default browser. Seems to be a common bug that needs fixing for this program to work..

  19. Tim

    Just confirming what others have noted here about Mac OS 10.6.x and the XBMC Flicks add-on: it doesn’t work.

    As of this stage there is effectively *no* viable XBMC controller for NetFlix on the Mac. Yes, Boxee and Plex are OK, but they are buggy and very quirky in interaction.

  20. nate

    so does this work on original xbox?

  21. Brett

    It should be mentioned that this is for Windows and Mac only. XBMC is a cross-platform application, so people running the live version, running it on Linux or running it on the original Xbox get no love here. That isn’t very clear in the article

  22. Kevin

    I’m not seeing this addon in the list of options.

    I can view Netflix via browser+silverlight. I’m Running Windows 7, Silverlight, XBMC latest nightly build.

  23. 11bc11

    okay, very last stage of the set up, the red netflix window to prompt the account link w/ my netflix account never pops up! — just the black window saying click ok when I’m done linking it. where’s the red netflix window? Can this work on a gen1 apple tv?

    Thanks for your help.

  24. singapura

    I just managed to get the plugin working on my Macbook (Lion). You need to install Firefox and have it as your default browser. The close all browser windows and have XBMC Flicks ask for the link. If the browser windows doesn’t show, alt+tab to Firefox. You should see the proper connection window and be able to authorize XBMC Flix. I switched back to Chrome after that because I don’t want to switch browsers every time. Problem is still that I want a full screen Netflix window without user bars but that seems to be out of the question unless I do it manually all the time. Let’s hope the Boxee people wake up and finally fix their Netflix app (Crunchyroll to please).

  25. Zaggy

    Yes you can use the original xbox to stream with it, with a bit of googleing and some flashing and what not you can stream it through the xbox…..

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