Purchased content on Youtube doesn't allow HD playback in Chrome/Firefox on Linux Mint


Trying to figure out an issue with some youtube video playback.

Issue: Playback is limited to SD (up to 480p) and doesn’t allow HD content to play, option is missing from settings in the youtube player.

My Investigation: The youtube stats (see below) report that 1080p output is restricted. It seems to also impact Firefox.

My speculation: I feel that it’s possible DRM is to blame here, maybe something on the backend isn’t supportive? Other content plays just fine in 1080p/4k.

My Question for you: Do you have issues playing back HD content in your browser? If you do, let me know!

Stats for Nerds:
Google Chrome Version: Version 71.0.3578.98 (Official Build) (64-bit)

Output of etc/os-release (fresh install)
NAME=“Linux Mint”
VERSION=“19.1 (Tessa)”
PRETTY_NAME=“Linux Mint 19.1”

Running: 4.15.0-43-generic

Youtube Player Debug: {
[removing all the boring unimportant shit]
“drm”: {
“systemInfo”: {
“flavor”: “widevine”,
“keySystem”: “com.widevine.alpha”
“sessions”: [
“requestedKeyIds”: [
“cryptoPeriodIndex”: null,
“keyStatuses”: {
“Az6QWENrWkG–8PyVc45Vg”: {
“type”: “HD”,
"status": "output-restricted"
[removing the remaining boring unimportant shit]

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Ironically, Google doesn’t come up with anything showing this issue, I’ve also tried other distros and haven’t had luck either.

No clue honestly, but if they are restricting it due to the OS then you could try one of those user agent switcher add-ons that lets you choose which OS and browser YouTube sees you as using. I remember that was needed to use Netflix before they started to support Linux.

Do any regular free videos play for you in HD? I’m on 1366x768 so I can’t do any useful testing.

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Yep, you are getting shafted by DRM, widevine is a DRM solution.

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This has been reported as a bug internally.


Good to know! Thanks for the follow up.