Does a Computer Count As a Netflix Device?

By David Nield

A computer can be used as a Netflix device, if it meets the minimum system requirements.
i Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Netflix brings you a world of TV and movie streaming, and part of the appeal of the service is the broad range of devices that are supported. You can play movies on your desktop computer or gaming consoles and then take your tablet or smartphone on the road and stream Netflix through it. Every computer on which you watch Netflix counts as a device associated with your account, and you may have up to six registered at any one time.

Netflix Devices

An unlimited streaming Netflix subscription comes with the ability to stream content on up to six different devices. Compatible devices include Windows and Mac computers, the Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3, Android devices running version 2.2 and above, and iOS devices running version 5.0 and above. A selection of Internet-enabled set-top boxes and DVD/Blu-ray players are also supported. On a computer, the streaming is handled through a Web browser; on other devices, a dedicated Netflix app must be used, which is free to download and install.

Managing Devices

Different computers on the same local network count as separate devices. You can change the devices associated with your Netflix account through the "Manage Netflix ready devices and computers" link available through the Netflix website once you have signed into your account. This page can be used to free up one of the available device slots if, for example, you have upgraded your computer or switched to using a different gaming console.

Simultaneous Streams

A Netflix account entitles you to stream content simultaneously to two of your six registered devices. This means someone can watch a movie on a TV downstairs while someone else watches a TV show on a laptop in the bedroom using the same Netflix username and password to log in to the service. If you need to watch more than two streams simultaneously, you must sign up for another unlimited streaming Netflix account using a different email address.

Streaming on a Computer

On desktop computers and laptops, Netflix is powered by the Silverlight streaming technology. To run correctly it requires Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8, as well as the latest version of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. On Apple systems, an Intel-based computer running Mac OS 10.4.11 is required, as is the latest version of Safari, Firefox or Chrome. Log in to the Netflix site using your username and password and follow the instructions in the browser to install the latest version of Silverlight and begin watching.