It is because
chrome packages the...
Widevine Content Decryption Module - Version: 22.214.171.1247
Enables Widevine licenses for playback of HTML audio/video content. (version: 126.96.36.1997)
chromium does not and in August 2014 Netflix switched to allowing HTML5 content by default. Visit:
...to see a list.
You will need that plugin installed to
chromium for it to work. You might also add the google talk plugin and pdf plugin while you're at it, but if you do so you pretty much just installed
chrome as those are some of the primary differences.
In fact, though, until late summer 2015 you couldn't install that component singly to
chromium - we can chalk that one up to another (short-lived) win for Digital Restrictive Management, I guess. With some serious downtime and expert hacking you might be able to compile your own package (a
chromium compile is no Sunday drive, by the way) - but you might have to hack the plugin out of
Failing that, you can use the Ubuntu
chrome ppa source, I suppose:
wget -q -O - https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub |
sudo apt-key add -
echo "deb http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb/ stable main" |
sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google.list
...should probably do the trick, I guess, if you're ok with using the closed-source
As of August 2015, though, you can now install the Widevine module separately as the
chromium maintainer has patched the source to accept its use. For example, on an Arch Linux system there is the chromium-widevine AUR package. Have a look at its PKGBUILD script to see how it's done - it doesn't look very complicated. Essentially the
chrome...deb debian package file is downloaded, from it are extracted only a few Widevine relevant files, their version numbers captured, and then these are copied into the relevant
chromium installation paths.
There is also the Pipelight project which should enable you to use the Silverlight plugin (via
wine) to watch Netflix video (and so not the HTML5 method which works with
chromium. It is a somewhat heavy-handed approach in my opinion, but it is a popular option.