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Official Raspberry Pi Support Arrives For Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime

Stock image of streaming media on a tablet
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Many Raspberry Pis are pressed into service as home media devices. They are a natural fit given their price, power and size. But one facet of media consumption where the Raspberry Pi needed a little help was streaming content from services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu which use Widevine DRM to deliver protected streaming media. In a recent update, Ventz at vpetkov.net has announced that an official Widevine package is now available for the Raspberry Pi 4 and 400.

Ventz is well known in the community for Chromium Media Edition, essentially the same Chromium executable but using a custom launcher and user agent that tricked sites such as Netflix, Hulu and Spotify to work with the Raspberry Pi. With the release of an official package for the Raspberry Pi we can now install the Widevine support for the provided Chromium browser.

Installation is a breeze, using just three lines of code, the first two to ensure our Pi is up to date before finally running the Widevine package installation.

sudo apt update
sudo apt full-upgrade
sudo apt install libwidevinecdm0

Screenshot of Star Trek Discovery on Netflix

(Image credit: Future)

We tested the installation on a spare Raspberry Pi 4GB connected via Ethernet. Initially Netflix playback was a little choppy, but after a few seconds everything was in sync and playback was certainly comfortable.

Adding Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ to your home media center just got a little easier thanks to Ventz and the Raspberry Pi.

  • SonoraTechnical
    I have a Raspberry Pi 4B running NodeRed and some very heavy flows for measurement and control . I think I'll stress test it by adding this capability to see how it all works together...
    Reply
  • dprestegard
    This will be a software DRM implementation (Widevine Level 3) which often means SD-only, or (sometimes) 720p. No 1080p, UHD, or HDR.

    This is because software DRM is easy to crack.
    Reply
  • SonoraTechnical
    that's fine.... my RaspberryPi4Bs are operating with the offical 800x480 touch display..... ;) Again, I'm just curious to really stress test the CPU and OS w/ my complex NodeRED installation and streaming media playback....
    Reply
  • punkncat
    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I understand these will play (local) video and low quality YouTube in an acceptable way. I wonder where they are going to magic the oomph to run (even HD) titles along with their player?
    Reply
  • dprestegard
    The rpi 4 has a fabulous little hardware video decoder that can do 1080p60 H.264 or 4kp60 HEVC in real-time with zero CPU. This is really great!

    I don't see VP9 acceleration, but that would mostly matter for YouTube, and the software decoder is quite fast so that might not matter.

    These premium services will mostly use H.264 anyway.
    Reply