Can I Watch Netflix Without a Browser?

By Melly Parker

Some streaming options are better for groups; others are better for individuals.
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Netflix subscribers spend one billion hours every month watching videos -- and not all those hours are spent with an Internet browser. While streaming video was exclusively offered on computers when it was first introduced, the service soon expanded to other devices to give users choices about how to watch Netflix. Now users can even use smartphones and tablets as Netflix remote controls when they're watching streaming video on a television.


Netflix started as a DVDs-by-mail service. In 2007, the company launched a streaming service with only 1,000 titles. The service expanded and now many television shows, movies and original content can be played. The streaming service was only available on Internet browsers that could support the Silverlight plugin at first. As of 2013, the latest version of each of the top five most popular browsers is compatible with Netflix.

Desktop Apps

Both Windows 8 and the Chrome OS offer apps you can use on your computer to watch Netflix without a browser. If you don't want to open your browser to get to Netflix, simply install the app, sign in with your account information and then use the app instead of your browser. The apps won't work on other operating systems.

Mobile Apps

Netflix also has mobile apps that you can use on tablets and smartphones. They're available directly from the devices' app stores. If you want to continue a show you were watching in your living room, you can sign in to the app and finish it as long as you have a Wi-Fi signal or a mobile data connection. Netflix saves your place on each streaming video so that you can continue it on a different device later.

Streaming Devices and Consoles

Devices such as game consoles, Blu-ray players and streaming video boxes also enable you to play Netflix without a browser. You must connect the device to either a Wi-Fi or wired connection. The video may play more smoothly on a wired connection. No matter what device you choose to use, you must sign in with your account. While you can connect up to six devices, including computers and all other devices, each account can only be active on two devices at one time.