This tutorial describes how to get SkyGo working on Ubuntu Linux. Other linux distros may work, as may other video services, such as Netflix, NowTV, though it will be most successful for those that use Silverlight.
As my long winded title suggests, this tutorial will allow the potential online video viewer who has made the decision to use the free Open Source Operating System, Ubuntu, rather than a closed source OS, to actually watch video online when it is in the format Silverlight 5+ (currently, at the time of writing, we’re on Silverlight 5.1).
Previously, those of us who save money, time, hassle, and headaches with our business and home computing by using Linux distros, like Ubuntu, were unable to get some video services online using our Linux browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Chromium, etc).
Silverlight Won’t Work on Linux
Services like Sky Go and Netflix use modern versions of the closed source proprietary (Microsoft) software, known as Silverlight.
Linux users attempting to watch Sky Go (UK) online were sent to a (now dead) download link for the Moonlight plugin which would allow playback of Microsoft Silverlight versions up to Silverlight 4.0. This was, therefore, not very helpful!
The Solution is Pipelight
But there is a solution, which takes only a few minutes. Fair warning, though, you might break something, so backup, and be careful before you get started.
The solution is to install a new Linux based Silverlight PPA (Personal Package Archive) which is known as Pipelight onto your Ubuntu system.
How to Install Pipelight
Step One – Close Browser
Important! Close ALL your browsers. Yes, that includes this one. Copy these instructions into a TEXT EDITOR.
Step Two – Remove Pipelight
Remove any old versions of Piplight you might have installed using the following command:
sudo apt-get remove pipelight
Step Three – Get & Install Pipelight
Get the repositories and install pipelight
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:mqchael/pipelight
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pipelight-multi
Step Four – Install / Enable Plugin
Install the plugin:
sudo pipelight-plugin --enable silverlight
The above will install Silverlight 5.1. If you require Silverlight 5.0 instead, then use the following command:
sudo pipelight-plugin --disable silverlight --enable silverlight5.0
Step Five – Spoofing Sky Go / Netflix (or whatever)
Now that you have Silverlight 5.1 installed (and you can test it here), you should be able to actually watch Sky Go or Netflix in your Firefox (or Chrome) browser. HOWEVER, those systems will think you are using a non-compatible Linux browser. You need to emulate, spoof, or otherwise con these systems into thinking you are using Firefox on Windows.
This can be achieved on Firefox by installing a plugin called “User Agent Overrider” and then setting Windows / Firefox as the user agent.
On Chrome, you can do the same with the “User Agent Switcher” extension – select Firefox 15 as the browser in this.
Did this (Not) Work for You?!
Leave a comment below with your experiences, and I will try to help you get this working!
It should only take 10-15 minutes to do the above…
[UPDATE – March 24 2014 – Have found that this works best re Sky Go on Ubuntu Linux when the browser employed is Chrome, and the plugin spoofs Firefox 15 for Windows. This always results in good performance (even, incidentally, with a relatively low RAM machine). However, note that when web videos are played on this setup via the on demand (not live) service, videos don’t seem to be able to restart from where you left off… they will only play from the start, which could be frustrating in a long movie, for example! Also, some channels don’t play so nicely on the live mode – leave comments below if this matches your experience, and help the Linux community to learn through shared successes!]