If you want to use Netflix, but are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or just want to watch a movie with the sound off, your choices are very limited. Netlfix (US) has about only 100 movies with subtitles or Closed Captioning. However, now there’s another way to watch Netflix streaming movies with subtitles even if they don’t provide them.
Odds are, you can find a good subrip file (.srt) using a search engine. However, Netflix, via Microsoft’s Silverlight only accepts captions in .dfxp format. There’s a selection of Netflix ready subtitles on this website, but it’s a lot of work to build a catalog of movie subtitles when Netflix has over 17,000 movies and TV shows.
If you’re on a PC with windows, there are programs that will convert .srt files to .dfxp format for use with streaming Netflix videos. You can find one on Josh Erickson’s website, called Subvert. Until now, if you were using a mac with OS X, you had to use a Python script in the Terminal.
Netflix has added Canada to streaming video, but again, few subtitles are available. So over the weekend I wrote an OS X program to convert .srt files to .dfxp format, and tested it out with the movie, “Lifeforce” on Netflix, streaming to my wife’s MacBook. I also tested the .dfxp file on a PC as well, and it works on both, as you can see in the image below:
My SRT to DFXP converter for mac OS X also has the ability to delay subtitles in case a movie or TV show has an intro – you’ll have to time how long the intro is, and adjust accordingly.
Once you’ve created your .dfxp file, to access the subtitles, start your movie on your mac, pause it, and hit Control-Option-Shift-M to access a pop-up menu. Select “Load Custom DFXP,” and select your converted dfxp file. Continue playing the movie and enjoy having subtitles playing on your Netflix streaming movie.
Not all .srt files are the same – different files may have different timing indexes, which means the longer a movie plays, the further off the subtitles will be from what they are saying, so you may have to try converting several different .srt files that you find.
You can find SRT to DFXP Converter here.
So until Netflix adds proper Closed Captions to their movies, you now have a work-around to watch a movie with subtitles.
Special thanks to @Codeman38 on twitter for all his help and information that made this program possible.