June 18, 2013 - mikeyD

How-To: Amazon Instant Video Under Linux

This page is a placeholder for my ongoing support notes, potential solutions, and tips for playing Amazon’s VOD (Video On Demand) service under Linux. Since flash will no longer be developed for Linux past 11.2, we are left to hope for solutions from Firefox, HTML5 encoding, or some other wild idea. For now, the only concrete solution is running a virtual machine (Wine support is very difficult, but possible). Read on for more

Khannnnnnnn!!!!!!

What you should NOT see

 

Update:

Please see the Pipelight page for full directions on how to get flash working under Pipelight as an alternative method. Pipelight allows me also to play Amazon on demand video, as it seems to use compatible modules (you’ll see the same blue loading ring of Netflix).

This can be found at :
http://libregeek.org/2013/08/19/youre-doing-it-right-netflx-playback-on-linux-with-pipelight/

What I currently know:

  1. Currently builds of adobeflash-plugin (version 11.2) have broken DRM functionality via web browsers such as Firefox and Chrome.
  2. Downgrading flash may be troublesome down the road for other applications that depend on it.
  3. Part of the issue concerns Adobe’s legacy use of the deprecated HAL (hardware abstraction layer) which is not being used in most distributions nowadays.
  4. Adobe’s info for Linux playback is inaccurate and it doesn’t actually work with Linux
  5. Current solutions I have generally seen concern Ubuntu/Linux Mint
  6. Using Chrome which has the newest version of flash via ppapi. Amazon Prime strictly prohibits it.
  7. Using Chromium has the same issue as using Firefox
  8. Trying to install Adobe Flash 11.2.202.275 Is not compatible with raring libraries(?).
  9. The Moonlight plugin for Firefox will not work, as Amazon now uses a variant of Silverlight.
  10. It is possible that netflix-desktop can be tweaked to make this work, something I am currently investigating.
  11. Sadly, the 20130618 update to Chromium-Browser, did not rectify this, but video on many sites if MUCH smoother

Common Error messages when loading the Amazon Instant Video Player:

  1. “Sorry we were unable to stream this video. This is likely because your Flash Player needs to be updated.”
  2. “Service Error (1002)” after successfully loading silverlight, but not the DRM content.
What you will see if a video starts to successful load.  This sequence should last about 2-10 seconds depending on your network connection.

What you will see if a video starts to successfully load. This sequence should last about 2-10 seconds depending on your network connection.

 

Potential Fix 1: Flash via the Pipelight plugin set

Applies to: Most distributions

Once you install pipelight per my instructions, all you have to do to enable the flash plugin is the following (if using the multi-plugin):

Potential Fix 2: Hal fix

Applies to: ChromiumUbuntu/Mint 13.04 64bit:

Note:  If you are using ubuntu version 13.10 must download and install these raring(13.04) .debs because they have been deleted from the 13.10 repos: 

If for some reason, you cannot access those packages above, a fine fellow packaged the set into a PPA for Ubuntu based distrobutions.  You can add that repository and install what you need by doing the following:

Potential Fix 3 : Reverting your flash version

Applies to: Chromium , Ubuntu/Mint 13.04 64bit:

Potential Fix 4: Installing hal on Linux variants based on systemd

Applies to: Distributions that make use of systemd

Suggested packages in the past have been the Flash Player from Arch’s repositories, and using Chromium x64.  Some users report that when playing Amazon Instant content, the player will create a folder under ~/.adobe/flashplayer called “APSPrivateData2″ and then some folder and files under that for DRM.  This can possibly be solved by downloading the hal package from the AUR.  An example of the required commands is below:

Required hal package:

You can also install the hal packages using AUR helpers such as yaourt or pacaur.  Also alternatively, you can still grab the hal tarballs on the developer website located here.

Final Step

The last step is to clean the applicable files out of ~/.adobe.  Before performing these steps, you should close all browsers you may have open and have a Terminal window ready.

The use of “systemctl enable hal”  as a fourth line above is optional, as I am not sure what side effects there are of running hal in that fashion.  Restart your browser and give an Amazon Instant Video a whirl.  Also of note is a script which will start/stop the required services, as well as clean the hal cache.  You can find the script here.  This is the method I use for Arch linux and it works swimingly.

If these commands fail to work, try them again.  For example, I successfully watched “Jack Reacher”, but after closing my browser and trying another title, I was unable to do so until redoing the steps.  Your mileage may vary.  If you should continue to have trouble, trying looking over the Arch Wiki article for this subject.

Revision History:

20130618 – updated “What I currently know” to include Moonlight.  Added info on Chromium Browser.
20140108 – currently exploring a consistent method that is not susceptible to periodic breakage.
20140108 – Added information for systemd variants, such as Arch Linux

Whether it be contributing an article online, engaging with the community, or diving head first into unknown waters, Linux is the focal point of my computing hobbies.

Fix This! / Troubleshooting Adobe Flash / Amazon Instant Video / Amazon Prime / DRM / flash / HTML5 /

Comments

  • I’ve been going back and forth with them about this too. The first time I had problems with Amazon videos, I installed hal and that solved it, but starting in about March that no longer worked.

    I contacted them again and they suggested deleting the ~/.adobe/Flash_Player/NativeCache directory. After doing this, I was able to play videos again, at least for a while.

    In April, videos stopped again and the previously suggested fixes did not resolve the issue. Now, I can play 1 second of any video, but I invariably get the same error message about upgrading Flash.

    Just last Thursday one of their agents contacted me suggesting to do a “Reset License Files” using the Flash configuration interface: http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager08.html

    This did nothing at all.

    After reporting as much back to Amazon, I got this in reply:
    “Amazon recently started using “Silverlight” as an alternative to our “Flash” based web player, which may explain your recent streaming issues.

    Hence for better streaming experience I suggest you to install the “Silverlight” on your computer.

    For complete details and steps for Installing “Silverlight”, please visit the following link.

    http://www.microsoft.com/getsilverlight/get-started/install/default.aspx

    Once you’ve installed the Silverlight successfully, restart your Web browser. If you try again, you should be able to stream your videos without encountering further problems.”

    I had specifically noted in my prior communications that I was using Linux, but I don’t think the agent who gave me that read the issue too closely. I did try installing the Moonlight plugin for Firefox, but the Amazon page still tried to use Flash.

    In my response to Amazon, I expressed my disappointment at their using Silverlight, since it is Windows-only (not even Mac-compatible), but the next agent just suggested the “Reset License Files” again.

    The only potentially bright spark is that the first agent I spoke to said “I’ve reported this to our technical team, and they’re working on taking care of it.” Maybe, just maybe, something will come of it.

    I would also like to point out that Hulu and other video services based on Flash display no issues on Linux. Maybe Amazon can be publicly shamed into fixing support for Linux users.

    • professorkaos64 says:

      Thank you IMMENSELY for you input, I know it will be valuable to other greatly. We do have to keep pressure on Amazon for this, as we are paying them money, it is not a free service. Moonlight used* to be an option in the past, but no longer is one of those viable workarounds. I tried installed chrome in wine with some installation errors, so I will try that later.

      For now a VM is what I have going. What I will test tonight, is take the netflix-desktop package out there, and tweaking the URL it opens in the source code files to open amazon instead, since netflix-desktop uses a combination of Mono, Wine, and Firefox to get it working. Who knows.

      Again, thank you for reading, this post will stay forever update for Amazon, and I plan on creating one tonight for Netflix and Hulu as well.

      -Professor

    • professorkaos64 says:

      Also by chance, can you report what related packages you have since there are several for Linux? Tag with which distro you are on (Mint/Ubuntu/Fedora etc.)

      • I’m using (K)ubuntu 13.04 x64. I’m not sure what related packages you mean. I’ve got the latest available Flash (11.2.202.291ubuntu0.13.04.1). Everything else, hal, Firefox, Chromium, etc. is whatever’s in the repos.

  • I was able to watch videos on Amazon again yesterday (and today), though I’m not sure why. I installed pipelight, but I thought that was only supposed to be for Silverlight, and right-clicking on the Amazon video window still shows the Flash player dialog, including “About Adobe Flash Player 11.2.202…”

    • professorkaos64 says:

      After I installed pipelight, Amazon VOD worked FLAWLESSLY (updated note above). Pipelight is great, and only in the last few updates did it enable hardware GPU acceleration for 1080p playback. Pipelight is a contained silverlight implementation in wine. The wine-silverlight package is used here, but pipelight does its own working to make things a ton smoother. I have used this from its’ inception, and I can say it is quite usable now, and works very well. Please see the corresponding page here:

      http://libregeek.org/2013/08/19/youre-doing-it-right-netflx-playback-on-linux-with-pipelight/

      I maybe need to update the page, but if you have any questions, please let me know.

  • Thanks. This worked for me except that where you said ‘rm -rf -/.adobe/’ I did ‘rm -rf ~/.adobe/’

  • Mushfiq says:

    It worked! Awesome!!! Thanks

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  • Mike says:

    Thanks a whole lot for this. I’ve been trying to fix this Amazon streaming video thing for several days, now. As someone else indicated, over the last few months or so: it worked, then it didn’t, worked, and didn’t. Presently this seems to be the real fix. I really wanted to get this up and running because, as someone else also mentioned, I’m paying for the videos, part of my “Prime” membership on Amazon. Thanks a whole lot for whoever is making this happen in the Linux community, people just a hell of a lot smarter than me – great work! Thanks for being an alternative to the microsoft world, out there! MIKE

    • professorkaos64 says:

      Not a problem. Did you follow the latest steps or use the Pipelight method for flash and silverlight? I’m happy theses methods still work. I’ve been revisiting some of my articles like the recent Blu-ray article. I do everything through my HTPC, and I mean everything, using an Xbox controller as a media remote. We may see apps produced someday for these on Linux if HTML5 takes off. I set up launchers in XBMC to launch full screen zoomed pages of things like pandora.

      Thanks for reading. :)

      • cfx795 says:

        I’m not anywhere near the level of expertise that I’m seeing in many of these forums. I’m rather a functional idiot in the world of high tech and Linux. Indeed some of the stuff you mention, here, goes straight over my head! But to answer your question, I installed Pipelight as prescribed in “Potential Fix 1″ and tried it, still the same flash player message, etc. Then I employed “Potential Fix 2″ and, well I think closed out the browser, restarted the computer, etc, as I am becoming accustomed… tried the streaming movies again and voilla! I was delighted, to say the least! It works flawlessly! Again, thanks. I generally don’t fix much without a whole lot of hand-holding by the resident tech gurus. I also do just about everything on my computer, I don’t think I’ve had a TV for like 8 or 9yrs. I’m not, however a gamer, so I don’t have a lot of high-power equipment I put this computer together myself, just an inexpensive dual-core cpu and a small-ish SSD. I’ve been running Peppermint since they came out with “2” maybe three years ago, and I’m now running Peppermint 4. Thanks for helping make Linux a viable open-source alternative to… you know. The others.

  • […] made a few new sections in the “How-To: Amazon Instant Video Under Linux” article.  Added some steps for Arch users and a few other pieces of information. […]

  • Chuck says:

    Thank you so much for this info. FYI – when I changed my video to an Nvidia card with a proprietary driver, I need to delete the file in FlashPlayer

  • Wiley says:

    Hola (a vpn) lets me watch video on amazon. Everything else is just nonsense.

    • mikeyD says:

      It’s no secret VPN’s allow unrestricted access of conent across many mediums. This was mainly put together to help folks get the medium working on Linux without the neeed for such a thing. I could include that information, yes, but I do not pay for that VPN, so I ideally have no first hand experience testing it. Everything I do I try to test myself on native hardware or a virtual machine. Do you have any reference links or articles to show this working?

    • oh yeah says:

      need one suffer a microsoft OS on one end? (that wouldn’t be a solution for most)

  • oh yeah says:

    OSX joy /without/ installing creepy silverlight directly?

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