There is more than one way to play Netflix movies, but in this post I will discuss the nasty W8156-88890001 error that shows up at the moment that you want to play Dolby digital in your Windows 8 native Netflix app. Therefor this article only applies to those that have a Windows 8 installation. There is no native Netflix app for Windows 7 or any other Windows version.
This article also assumes that you have a digital output solution to your Dolby surround set and receiver. In my setup I am using an old Compaq CQ40 with an HDMI port that is connected to the input HDMI of my receiver. The output HDMI on my receiver is connected to my LCD TV.
Dolby digital on Netflix but not with a browser
It is sad to see that quite some people have the problem that Netflix is not playing Dolby digital with the Windows 8 native app. And the support from Netflix on this issue is very little. I am somewhat surprised that all the options they give won’t lead to the solution. Others give you the advice to play Netflix in a browser. That works fine, but you will never have more than just a stereo sound. So that is a crap solution. The only way to have Dolby digital on a Windows machine is with the native app from Netflix.
My Compaq CQ40 (about 5 years old and not really state of the art) has an Nvidia graphics card with Nvidia HDMI digital out. The laptop has 4Gb internal memory and is running Windows 8 (64bit, but 32bit would be fine here too). The only modification is that is has a dual core instead of it original single core processor. A genuine laptop from a couple of years ago. During playing on the TV, I switch the laptop display off to save memory and CPU performance.
The complete instruction in a video
I have prepared the solution to the problem in a video that can be watched on Youtube as well. In the video you will hear “background” noise and music, that is the actual sound (with laptop microphone) coming from the speakers. The movie example is shot with a digital camera because the footage from Netflix would otherwise shown as a black hole. The content used from Netflix is purely used for educational purposes.