Short and Long-Term Fixes for Netflix in Windows Media Center

Sep 28, 2015 by

Media Center NetflixWindows Media Center still isn’t dead, but the official Netflix plugin for it has been dead for over a week now. Marc Davis, the developer behind popular Media Center plugin AmazonMCE, has released a potential fix to restore the lost functionality. He’s also announced a new plugin that should serve to be a much better long-term solution.

Earlier this week Mr. Davis issued a post with instructions for fixing the missing Netflix plugin in Windows Media Center. The fix involved downloading a copy of the plugin that he had found on a machine that had not been updated after the official removal on September 15th. At the DMZ, we’re not big fans of software being distributed by those who don’t own the license. We discussed that on the latest episode of Entertainment 2.0, and Davis heard our concerns.

Davis updated his post to include a new solution. The new download attempts to find the files needed by the Netflix plugin on your machine. It seems that sometimes the update doesn’t fully clean up after itself, and his process can find the old files and restore them. This new option should ease concerns of those who didn’t like the idea of downloading Microsoft software from a non-licensed entity.

While both of these options for restoring the Netflix plugin should help users right now, it’s not known how long they will continue to work. This plugin uses the Silverlight-based video streams, and Netflix has been migrating most of their apps to use HTML5 instead. When Netflix finally pulls the plug on Silverlight this Windows Media Center plugin will almost certainly break.

The good news is that Davis is working on a brand new Netflix plugin for Media Center users. It will be based off of Netflix’s HTML5 sources, so it won’t be left out to dry when the Silverlight feeds go away. He’s also going to handle authentication differently than how he does with his AmazonMCE plugin. The Netflix plugin will just be hosting the browser version of Netflix inside of Windows Media Center. This means you won’t be providing the app developer with your login credentials.¬†(Update: This was worded poorly. As the developer noted in the comments below, AmazonMCE doesn’t provide the developer with your Amazon credentials. Some people have concerns over providing credentials through¬†third-party apps though. This won’t be a concern with the Netflix plugin that he is developing. Our apologies for misconstruing how AmazonMCE handles authentication.) Of course the website doesn’t currently support remote controls, and having remote control support is critical in a Media Center plugin. That’s the main area where Davis is focusing his attention. Hopefully he finds a way for us to sign in to the Netflix site once, and then use a remote control for the rest of experience.

While the news is somewhat mixed, at least there are options for Windows Media Center users who still want access to Netflix content. Keep an eye on the DMZ for any further developments.

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

Sponsor

  • Marc R. Davis

    To clarify one point with the Amazon plugin – you’re not providing me with your credentials. You are logging in to the Amazon API through a login form in the plugin. The credentials are not stored in any way, locally or otherwise. After you login you have a session cookie that is good for a very long time. No one panic – I don’t have a file somewhere with thousands of logins at my disposal.

    The Netflix app will be inherently different – simply because the Netflix API is closed to casual developers and only available under license to select device manufacturers. My approach for the new Netflix app is basically a small MediaCenter shell application to act as a launch point to a WinForm app using the WebBrowser (or similar) control to render the native Netflix experience. Inside that app will be the logic to handle the remote events and map it to elements on the Netflix page(s). Catch will be keeping up with Netflix when they change their page design. I’ll be posting my progress to a new page on my blog shortly with some screenshots and video examples.

    Thanks!

    Marc

  • jpollarddmz

    Marc, sorry about that. We should have worded it differently, and we’ve updated the post to clarify the issue.

  • Marc R. Davis

    Thanks! Much appreciated!

  • Marc R. Davis

    For those who are interested in following the development progress of the new NetflixMCE app – please take a look here: http://sharepointsnapple.com/netflix-for-windows-media-center/

  • CaliKapo

    I’ve used Media Center Studio to re-enable the netflix app inside WMC. Works great! http://www.acs-digital-media.com/mce-rtb-lite.html

  • Pingback: Entertainment 2.0 #344: Microsoft Makes Sparks Fly | The Digital Media Zone()

  • Michael Hinchey

    Does the dd 5.1 work with this?

  • CaliKapo

    After a while the fix stopped working and would error out. It’s not working anymore. sorry about the bad news

  • Michael Hinchey

    No worries. What are you using now?

  • CaliKapo

    I haven’t found a good solution yet. Right now ai open the browser manually on my HTPC. I wasn’t happy with the Netflix Kodi interface. I’m waiting for Android TV to get it together with it’s live tv / dvr function and then I’ll move over to that instead.

  • Michael Hinchey

    Netflix is rather clunky in xbox and I have yet to get it to operate fully. However I noticed at least amazonprime lights up dd for me