How to install HAL so Amazon Instant Video will work

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jimt35126
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How to install HAL so Amazon Instant Video will work

Post by jimt35126 »

Sometime in the past year, many Linux users discovered they could no longer watch Amazon Instant Videos. It has to do with DRM and the most recent version of Adobe Flash Player. Linux Mint comes with its own mint-flashplugin, but it must be based on Adobe's. I really don't understand all the details, but as you may know, Adobe has discontinued development of Flash for Linux.

HAL stands for "Hardware Abstraction Layer". It was a defacto standard for a while but most distros now use newer, more modern methods for handling the computer's hardware. There are several methods for getting Amazon Instant Video to work under Linux Mint, but the following seems to be by far the easiest:

Code: Select all

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mjblenner/ppa-hal
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install hal
Thanks to M.J. Blenner for maintaining this repository. The above code will install the full HAL module, along with hal-info and libhal1. Some versions of Ubuntu still include HAL in their repositories, but something like the above is needed for Lnux Mint.

I am assuming you will be watching videos using Firefox. Downloading google-chrome-stable will not in and of itself help you, I know, I tried, and was disappointed. So now clear your cache (history) in Firefox then close the browser. Double-click on your Home folder, then click on View, Show Hidden Files, and delete the entire .adobe folder.

Next, reboot your computer and login to your desktop. Start Firefox and attempt to watch Amazon Instant Videos. The first video you attempt to watch may (or may not) do a little update. If the video doesn't start within about 2-3 minutes, simply close the browser and try again.

HAL appears not to interfere with any other aspect of running Linux Mint. Installing the above package helped me get Amazon Instant Videos running when nothing else would.

Thanks ~James
trapperjohn
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Re: How to install HAL so Amazon Instant Video will work

Post by trapperjohn »

Hi,

Another approach that works very well is pipelight. I used to fuss with hal so that I could watch Amazon videos in flash mode, but pipelight ports Silverlight to Linux. (In fact, Amazon has a user preference that allows you to "prefer" Silverlight over Flash.) I have found that my videos are smoother (less cacheing) and my laptop is cooler using this approach.

Pipelight will also extend your options to Netlflix videos, which only work with Silverlight (or pipelight).

Happy watching.
jimt35126
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Re: How to install HAL so Amazon Instant Video will work

Post by jimt35126 »

Yes, I have also read about Pipelight. One reason I chose the HAL approach is I also watch Amazon via a ROKU, and when my account preference was set to Silverlight, I actually had a lot of trouble streaming the videos. Once I changed to Flash, everything smoothed out.

In my case, there was also another problem going on, and that is, my AT&T 2WIRE device was always gravitating to channel 7 when set on "Auto" mode, and I was getting a lot of disconnects. So changed to channel 8 using a manual setting, and the those problems went away.

Thanks for the comment. When I am willing to try breaking something which is now working, I may give Pipelight a try. Are you actually able to watch Netflix uaing Pipelight?

Thanks ~Jim
I Know Nothing
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Re: How to install HAL so Amazon Instant Video will work

Post by I Know Nothing »

HAL is also needed to watch 4oD in the UK.
jimt35126
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Re: How to install HAL so Amazon Instant Video will work

Post by jimt35126 »

Interesting to know. "The more things change, the more they stay the same." I am hoping that HTML5 will make all these issues obsolete.

So far, I am happy with my HAL installation. Other than being able to watch videos I was formerly unable to watch, I haven't noticed any negative impact.
trapperjohn
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Re: How to install HAL so Amazon Instant Video will work

Post by trapperjohn »

Hi,

Yup, Amazon Instant and Netflix on pipelight. I hear what you are saying about not wanting to mess things up. I actually have a duel boot where my alternate OS is also Linux. This separate boot is where I do all of my movie watching. Having nothing else to worry about on this system, I was able to tweek video performance in many ways including cpu frequency and gpu settings.

Perhaps HTML5 will get a firmer foothold, but right now the service/software providers don't seem to be particularly inspired. Really though, pipelight significantly improved my experience.

I am looking forward to a time when television stations abandon the shackles of cable/dish providers for providing their content. I'd being willing to pay for shows as I go. When stations are available (like PBS news) the videos are laggy and the viewer is periodically required to watch still life.

I dumped my tv service provider. AIV and Netflix are enough for me, except occasionally I'd like to watch a tennis match.
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