Why Can't I Watch Movies on Netflix?

By Michelle Mista

Netflix enabled devices allow subscribers to watch streaming video on their television.
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Netflix is an online subscription video services that allows subscribers to watch streaming movies via computer, mobile device or television. If you run into issues when attempting to watching a streaming Netflix movie, compatibility issues are among the first things to scrutinize. Other possible issues can arise from older software, Internet connection problems and account issues.

Operating System and Device

Netflix can only run on Netflix enabled devices. Linux based computer systems cannot run Netflix due to Digital Rights Management (DRM) issues. As of 2011, Netflix approved devices include: Windows (XP, Vista and 7); Mac OS X (10.2+); Apple mobile devices running iOSst 4.0 (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch); game consoles (Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Sony Xbox 360); and some Blu-Ray DVD players and standalone Internet media devices (Roku).


Not all browsers are compatible with Netflix. Netflix videos will not run on Google Chrome, Opera or older versions of Internet Explorer and Firefox. If using an unsupported browser, download the latest version of a supported browser like Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari for Mac. If using an older browser, update your browser to a newer version.


Microsoft Silverlight is a browser plugin and allows Netflix to stream DRM protected media from their servers to your computer. Problems with Microsoft Silverlight can prevent Netflix from playing correctly on your computer. If you suspect a Microsoft Silverlight problem, update your Silverlight installation by visiting the Microsoft Silverlight site and downloading the latest update.

Internet Connection

Streaming video requires a broadband Internet connection to run smoothly. Dial-up modems cannot handle the data speeds required for streaming Netflix video. The Netflix streaming video client will automatically determine the best quality your Internet connection can handle. At broadband speeds of 1.0 Megabits per second (Mbps), streaming video can run but may require time to build a suitable buffer and will not be high quality. Whenever possible, use a broadband connection with 5.0 Mbps speed or higher. Opt for a wired Internet connection whenever possible as wired network connections are more stable and less prone to interference that can impede smooth streaming.

Device Limit

Netflix allows subscribers to watch instantly streaming video from up to six Netflix-enabled devices, including computer and mobile devices. Attempting to watch from more devices may result in an error. This can be resolved by logging in to the Netflix website, navigating to "Your Account and Help" at the top of the Netflix website and then scrolling down to "Manage Netflix ready devices and computers." This will take you to a page where you can see what devices are in use and their last use. Deactivating an infrequently used device will allow you to add another one to watch from.