Ubuntu: Cannot play DRM content in browsers (honestly, I've looked)


Okay, before you guys say it's been answered and besiege me with links, I promise I've spent a TON of time searching: honestly I've looked, I've tried everything on every post I've found. I hopped in the IRC channel and the few times I've asked for help on it, people have said either that theirs works, and didn't seem interested in helping or other terse responses that "flash will be dead soon anyway, just wait.", which I can't wait till it is, but I can't "just wait".

I've tried in Firefox, Chromium, & Chrome all to not avail. I'm aware that Firefox can now get Flash v25 starting back in 49 (i think?). I've got 52 installed and can't for the life of me get DRM playback.

EDIT: I can only post two links as I don't have enough rep yet. Apologies but they'll be in follow up posts. If you don't mind, I'm going to start by posting the sites I've tried (and failed) to get working along with my "symptoms" followed by the many ways I have tried to get it working. Assume they don't work in both browsers unless notated.


WatchESPN - (Seemingly won't let me click on anything, sometimes one pops up and I usually get an endless loading circle, sometimes I get error 302 (some links I've found say uBlock causes it, even with it entirely removed I sitll get it). One or two times I've been able to get an "alternate" feed, SkyCam, Spanish broadcast, etc. but my guess is they werent' DRM protected.

FoxSportsGo - Endless loading without controls

NBCSports - Endless loading without controls

BeinSportsConnect - Endless loading. They use Silverlight IIRC, so a bit different as far as ways to go at it.

HBOGo - Black screen on whatever I click to play. It does give me the controls - play, pause, volume, etc.

Showtime Anytime - Endless loading circle for 15 seconds or so, then kicks me back to the episode selection.

Now, I've tried quite a few different ways of getting this to work, all with no positive outcome.

Once installing (to be clear, reinstalling) Firefox (v52) I saw an old adobe article mentioning installing hal (although it is currently dead as far as current OS's go) and I seem to remember seeing another old article that someone mentioned that once they installed the "zombie" hal/hal-flash ppas from mjblenner and Martin Wimpress][3], the skies parted and all was well. So I figured I'd try it, no dice so I just moved on.

[What I found][4] seemed to suggest that now with Flash being supported outside of Chrome that I shouldn't be running into the issues that I am. Finally I figured that I must be missing something and talking with someone in relative real time would be the best course of action. I hopped on IRC and was told by quite a few people that they hadn't had any issues with WatchESPN or other DRM enabled streaming sites. None of them seemed interested in assisting me so I went back to searching and trying anything I could find that might make it work.

Before I went back on search engines, I uninstalled Flash and ran an "apt-get purge" of chrome & firefox, then went into my home directory and flat out deleted the .adobe folder, .mozilla folder, the .config/google-chrome folder. I got rid of the freshwrapper-data folder and deleted: /usr/lib/mozilla, /usr/lib/firefox, & /usr/lib/firefox-addons thinking that every possible thread was gone and upon new installs everything would work just fine. Obviously I was wrong or I wouldn't be here posing the question.

As far as pipelight goes I [saw here][5] that it was being tested in Firefox Nightly and I have the ppa for it added, but I'm not sure if I needed to install it to try and get the Silverlight associated sites to work now that DRM is supported again in Firefox. I tried it anyway, but didn't work.

Most of the articles/posts/questions I have read seem to be at least a year old, most of them more so, but some seem to have had at least SOME activity more recently. These are the somewhat newer ones I've tried and not gotten to work.

[GlenPeterson's AskUbuntu question][6] - while including DRM doesn't EXACTLY relate to this

[LinuxMint article][7] - Not interested in installing Wine. I'll do a VM if it comes to that.

[itsfoss.com article][8] - I guess Christmas 2015 isn't THAT new.

There are plenty of others that had different steps of adding the hal ppas, then freshplayer, the new firefox or other things I've listed here.

Please Obi Wan Kenobi.. Oops, wrong closing.

Please guys I'm going mad at this. Any help is GREATLY appreciated. I really need the sports sites to be up and running as I'm tired of resorting to pirated streams to watch the games I want to; especially when I pay a fee for these sites that I can't get working. I've been on Linux over a decade. I have my iMac showing one game, but that's too few.

If you've made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read this long post/question. I really do appreciate it.



Unfortunately I don't think it is currently possible (as of March 2017) to natively watch any of these in linux without exposing your system to security vulnerabilities, since they required the hal-flash package with flash 11.*, and this no longer works in more recent flash versions.

One workaround that I have used to watch HBOGo (with somewhat limited success) is to run android-x86 in virtualbox and use their app. Another potential workaround is to downgrade to flash 11.* in firefox and install hal-flash, but running an out of date flash plugin is a tremendous security risk (and recent versions of firefox will block it by default because it is out of date) and there is likely no simple way to do this through regular software channels on ubuntu or most other distros.

Sources: https://github.com/cshorler/hal-flash/issues/26 for a discussion on this exact issue.

From adobe's announcement itself it seems possible that this will never work again in the NPAPI flash plugin: "Because this change is primarily a security initiative, some features (like GPU 3D acceleration and premium video DRM) will not be fully implemented." https://blogs.adobe.com/flashplayer/2016/08/beta-news-flash-player-npapi-for-linux.html (they seem to imply that DRM works on PPAPI flash, but this is unfortunately also not the case as these sites have never worked with chrome's flash).


I've installed Firefox on a 32 bit Wineprefix. For flash I've been using the offline installer here: https://fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/flashplayer/latest/help/install_flash_player.exe So far it works fine.

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