Screen Tearing using Google Chrome and NetfliXBMC [SOLVED]

Since Netflix came to Australia I’ve been binge watching all manner of things. I love it, finally a LEGAL way of watching what I want, when I want (well, so long as it’s in their library) – although it takes a bit of setting up to make it work properly with XBMC/Kodi.

First, you’ll need to install the NetfliXBMC plugin and set that up with your Netflix details. You’ll also need to install Google Chrome (Chrome, not Chromium due to DRM restrictions I believe). All the documentation says you’ll also need a plugin called Chrome Launcher. I’ve not found that to be the case – you CAN use Chrome Launcher, but you don’t need to.

If you’re like me, you don’t like running all the extra desktop stuff because you like to squeeze all the performance you can out of your HTPC. So, if you run your X Session with no desktop environment and only use kodi-standalone you’ll find a couple of issues if you use NetfliXBMC plugin to watch Netflix.

The first is that your Chrome window probably won’t be fully maximised when it starts up. This is because without a desktop environment (such as XFCE4 or Unity) running, the Chrome application has no way to find out what screen resolution you’re running at, so it just starts up at the same size it was previously – or the default if it’s never been run.

The solution to this is (under Ubuntu at least – I’m not sure about other distros), is to edit ~/.config/google-chrome/Default/Preferences and look for the section ‘Window Placement’ and set the bottom,left,top,right numbers (left and top should be 0) to numbers that match your display resolution.

The second problem with not using a window manager is that Google Chrome when playing full screen videos seems to exhibit screen tearing – the general advice on the interwebs is to install Compton. But all the advice says you need to install it within a Window Manager / Desktop Environment. Which initially I did but that gave me all sorts of extra grief – not least of which was that XScreensaver was running which I disabled and ran a whole of heap of commands to try to make sure it didn’t blank the screen every 10 minutes, but failed. Watching movies isn’t that much fun when the screen goes blank every 10 minutes!

So, in the end I created a shell script in my home directory, thus;


media@media-desktop:~$ cat start-kodi.sh
#!/bin/sh

compton&
kodi-standalone

And then updated /usr/share/xsessions/kodi.desktop to read thus;


[Desktop Entry]
Name=Kodi
Comment=This session will start Kodi Media Center
Exec=/home/media/start-kodi.sh
Type=Application

This starts Kodi when the X-Server starts without needing a Desktop Manager, but starts up Compton first. The result, no screen tearing when watching full screen videos with NetfliXBMC.

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