Can You Watch Netflix on Netbooks?

By Kefa Olang

Netflix offers streaming movies and television shows for a monthly fee.
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To stream Netflix movies and TV shows on a netbook, your mini laptop must meet certain hardware, network and browser requirements. As long as your netbook contains the sufficient components, you can decrease the chances of running into loading and display problems when you stream your favorite Netflix titles.

Hardware Requirements

You can stream Netflix titles directly from your netbook as long as it meets Netflix's minimum system requirements. Netbooks come in a variety of models and support different features; however, certain features are necessary for streaming titles. Netflix recommends a computer running Windows XP or higher. The newer the operating system, the better the overall quality and streaming will be. The netbook you're using must also contain at least 512MB of memory and a 1.6 Gigahertz processor or higher to stream titles. If your netbook meets these minimum requirements, or contains even more improved hardware, you will be able to watch Netflix videos.

Network Connection

To stream Netflix titles, your netbook must be connected to a fast and efficient wired or wireless network connection. A network connection not only enables you to stream content, it determines how smoothly or poorly videos will be displayed. Netflix uses volumes of bandwidth depending on whether you're watching DVD quality or high-definition titles. On average, Netflix recommends a fast broadband network connection that supports at least 1.5 megabits per second to stream regular content, 3.0 megabits per second to stream DVD quality content and at least 5.0 megabits per second to stream high-definition content. A fast network connection decreases the chances of annoying buffering problems, loading and display issues, especially with high-definition videos. If you don't know anything about your network connection speed or bandwidth, contact your Internet Service Provider.

Browser and Plugin

Other than a broadband network connection, an updated browser is essential for keeping up with Netflix's ever-changing content. Updated browsers contain fixes and improvements that can improve display and loading speeds. In addition, updated versions of Silverlight, the primary plugin that Netflix uses to stream content, improve your playback experience. If your browser is outdated, or if you don't have Silverlight, Netflix usually prompts you to install the necessary updates.


Whenever possible, update your netbook to improve your Netflix experience. Windows updates include everything from drivers to security tools, so it's important to install them where necessary.