These days it seems as if every DRM video service is moving toward using the Adobe Flash plugin. This might not sound like a big deal until you realize that Adobe hasn’t given the Linux platform any updates past version 11.2, while the rest of the world is using version 18+ packed with various enhancements and plugins. It is because of this that support for services such as Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Prime Stream is moddly non-existent.
Here’s how to get these services running on Ubuntu.
Getting Hulu and Amazon Prime working
You won’t be able to watch the DRM-protected content from Hulu or Amazon Prime on Linux with just the flash plugin. Some things need to be installed for this all to work. Flash Player on its own has a hard time displaying DRM-protected content. It needs a separate plugin known as HAL. It should be noted that though this guide focuses on Ubuntu, the plugin can be installed on just about any Linux distribution through various means.
Ubuntu Linux doesn’t have HAL in their repositories, so it’ll be necessary to add a repository to your system first. This is accomplished by opening a terminal window and entering the following command:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mjblenner/ppa-hal
Now that the PPA has been added to your system, Ubuntu will need to be updated to reflect the changes made.
sudo apt-get update
Finally, HAL can be installed on your system.
sudo apt-get install hal
With Hal installed on your system, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and just about any DRM video service that relies on this plugin will work just fine.
Getting Netflix Working
Watching Netflix is possible on Linux, but it’s best to just let go of the idea of watching it on Firefox or alternative browsers. Stick to Chrome; it has a more up-to-date flash version, as well as proprietary video codecs that are necessary for playback. Head over to this website and you’ll be able to grab the latest package straight from Google. It also adds a repository to your system, so it’ll stay up to date.
Once you have the package on your system, click on it to install it through the software center.
Note: Chromium, though similar to Chrome, doesn’t have some proprietary tools needed for DRM video.
Installing Pepper Flash
Just installing Google Chrome isn’t enough to watch Netflix on Linux. The correct flash version needs to be installed as well. All Linux distributions have access to the Flash plugin, though by no means is it up to date with the latest technologies. To watch protected content, you’ll need to install the Pepper Flash plugin on your system. To install this plugin on Ubuntu, simply enter the following:
sudo apt-get install pepperflashplugin-nonfree
Once this plugin is installed, simply load Netflix.com and watch whatever content you like. Netflix has some rearly great Linux support these days, so there’s absolutely no reason you should have to tweak anything more to get it working. Enjoy!
With how popular these streaming services are, it’s a shame that we as Linux users still have to fight with our systems to get services working correctly on our platform of choice. As operating systems like Ubuntu and Fedora grow in popularity, maybe the big streaming companies will take notice and work towards giving Linux better support.
Are you watching Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime on Linux? Tell us in the comments below!