Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Linux Mint 15 and Amazon Video (This also affects other video sites)

I just bought a new drive for my HTPC, A 3tb WD Red, but that's for another post. I had Amazon video working on Mythbuntu (just had to install HAL) but installing HAL on my (fairly) fresh new Linux Mint 15 install didn't work. I finally figured it out, with some help of course

What I've found:
  1. Amazon's error is completely useless. It makes you think that you have the wrong version of flash.
  2. If you haven't already, you need to install hal and libhal1 "sudo apt-get install hal libhal1"
  3. Adobe has a guide for sorting out these problems once you figure out it's DRM related. Here the test page was the most helpful.
  4. The test page gave me the cryptic error 3322 - device binding failed. 
  5. I tried the solution found here, "rm -r ~.adobe/Flash_Player" it didn't work, but was needed later, after I actually fixed the problem
  6. It turns out HAL wasn't starting, I ran "sudo hald --daemon=no --verbose=yes" it spat out a bunch of errors and died. I found the solution here, I'm not sure it's a perfect solution, but I ran "sudo rm -r /etc/hal" then "sudo ln -sn /usr/share/hal /etc/hal" and HAL runs! I think I will copy rather than link it at some point, but that's what I did.
  7. I rebooted and the test page still doesn't work, I had to do step 5 again, now it works.
Whew, only took me half the night to figure that one out.

I tried this on Linux Mint 14.1 and just installing HAL worked, I couldn't reproduce the problem on 15 by removing the /etc/hal directory. It's possible I corrupted something at some point, I'll try on a clean Mint 15 install sometime and report back.

I also got a 3323 error while HAL was broke, also fixed with #5.

Update: Only steps 2, 5, and 6 are necessary to solve the problem, the others are either diagnostics or irrelevant. (Thanks Douglas Roberts!)

Update 2: This affects other sites (Thanks NikAmi!), I don't really have the time to determine which ones myself, so I'll do a list and update it if anyone finds one that needs it (Post it in the comments). It may help someone else.
Known Sites Also Affected:
NBC Sports

Update 3: There is a package available (at least in Arch Linux's AUR) called HAL-Flash that lets you play DRM Flash content without needing the HAL package / daemon. I'm using it on both my laptop and HTPC and it seems to work fine.

Update 4: Chromium no longer supports NPAPI (netscape plugin API), pepper-flash doesn't work with protected files. Firefox still uses NPAPI and works with Amazon Prime Video. HD doesn't seem to work for me, but SD works fine. I'm not sure why.


  1. Good catch, thanks. hald ran without errors in Mint 14, but I had also noticed that it failed to run on Mint 15. Steps 2, 5 & 6 above worked, and, BTW, are all you really need to do to get Amazon video to run in Firefox in Mint 15. Firefox comes with Shockwave Flash 11.2 r202 pre-installed, which is a version that is acceptable to Amazon.

    1. Sorry, thought I had replied.

      Good point, I included the whole procedure, including the diagnosis and some tail chasing, in case I did something important without knowing it or need to diagnose a similar, but different problem in the future. Thanks

  2. I think that it would be useful for many people if you updated the title with other services that require this hack. For example, I needed to use this to watch soccer on NBC Sports' website and I only found it through somebody else's forum post. It's really good information that could help a lot of Mint users as the most often quoted methods don't work for us.

    1. Yea, this would affect any site that uses flash's drm, so it could be a pretty big list. I've started a list, and will update the tags. Hopefully this problem will disappear in Mint 16.