How exactly does DRM work on Linux, and how can I change it?

On Windows, anything I purchase on Amazon Prime Video or Google Play Movies (YouTube) play in full HD.

On Linux, those purchases play only in 480p. Why is this so? What on Windows make it work in full quality, whereas on Linux there are some restrictions? Can I somehow modify and change this under Linux? More specifically, Mint?

Again, it’s only “purchases” that don’t work. Regular YouTuber uploads even work in 4K, so I assume there are DRM-imposed restrictions with some platforms.

What browser are you using? In Firefox you will need DRM content enabled for some sites:

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might have more to do with the browser than the OS

I did that. I use Vivaldi, Chrome, Opera, Firefox and Chromium. All of which still give me the same results for Google Play Movies and Amazon Prime. Support specialists say “Not supported on Linux in HD” but nothing else, and I don’t consider that a real answer because they never seem knowledgable. One even asked me “What’s a Linux?” xD

Again, they play fine in 480p and Firefox even installed necessary components, but only 480p shows up instead of full HD.

Interesting Test: I tried “Force HD YouTube” add-on for Firefox, which works fine. But for purchases, the screen goes black and audio plays, with DRM protected content. Strange… so I’m curious what the issue is here. Again, I have known many with this problem but I have never seen a fix.

Interesting, I frequently watch stuff on my Mint desktop, but have never checked the resolution - usually it’s just in a window not full screen. I’ll have to take a closer look.

Supposedly a user agent switch works for some people.

Others suggest getting wine-staging and using it to run Edge-dev will work.

Unless you happen to be using an 64 bit ARM processor or something, that’s a whole different rabbit hole.

Unfortunately, UA switcher did not work, Google still detected it and it. Not even sure about doing that other suggestion (I don’t know the know-how), but even then, I genuinely don’t think there’s a current workaround for the issue I’m facing unless I had lucked out with the hardware my PC uses.

There’s weird things with DRM for online video platforms.

YouTube for the most part has limited DRM.
Netflix uses Widevine for DRM and only officially supports 4K playback on the Edge browser or Netflix app.
Amazon’s DRM limits it to SD quality on Linux as you’ve seen.

For better or for worse in your case it’s solely because you are using Linux that you’re having issues. Or from slightly different angle the issues you are having is because some streaming services don’t support Linux.

No real way to get around it other than to

  • Use Windows
  • Make the DRM think you are using Windows
  • Somehow rip the DRM out of it

I just run windows 10 in a VM of mine on my gigantic ZFS pool, where it’s used purely for Netflix and Amazon prime. Then I just pass through the internet from my pfsense VM to the windows 10 VM and launch Edge browser

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