Installing Netflix on an import PS3

I purchased my first HD console—a used PlayStation 3 Slim—from a friend as he was leaving KAUST. Tokyo Games (the most trustworthy games retailer in the kingdom) imports its PS3s from somewhere in Europe: I knew when I purchased it that I would not be able to play region-locked Blue-Ray disks. I really only care about games, though, and PS3 games are region-free.

When I returned to the US, import PS3 in tow, I added a use-case for the system as a streaming media center. Hulu Plus worked well enough while I had it; but, when I dropped the service in favor of Netflix, I couldn’t get the Netflix application to install.

NetfliX is only licensed for use from the US. Though I was in the US, and logged-into an explicitly US PSN account, the XMB never presented me with the option to install the Netflix application. It’s not listed in the PSN store, either; so if the XMB doesn’t advertise Netflix to you on it’s own, there’s no way to get it to install.

I went back and forth for a while with Sony support; but, ultimately, they were completely unhelpful. I was sure that, if only I could get the application to install, it would work, but the technician didn’t seem to understand the technical side of the issue I was having.

Thankfully, the people at unblock-us did understand the problem, as I discovered on my own while waiting for the Sony technician to catch up. Ultimately, all I had to do was visit from the internal PS3 web browser. An HTTP redirect points to the installer on the Sony download server, prompting the system to download and install.

As expected, once the application had been installed, streaming worked perfectly.

It’s disappointing that something intended to simplify the user experience (don’t advertise applications that don’t work in your region) ended up severely complicating mine. I had the stubborn persistence to find a workaround myself; but there’s no reason Sony shouldn’t have a similar URL available and documented for people who take the time to contact support. It’d be even better if Netflix was just listed in the PSN store, too, as that’s already filtered by the region of your PSN account, irrespective of the console’s origin.

At least it “works for me” now.