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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Watch the NFL Sunday Ticket on Linux

If you subscribe to the DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket, you can watch all of your Sunday football games on Linux. But it only works with certain browsers because it requires Flash Player 14 which is only available on Linux as a Pepper plugin. Only the Chromium family of browsers supports this API, and the NPAPI version that is used by other browsers is no longer developed on Linux by Adobe (version 11.2 is still receiving security updates). The easiest way to get this is to install Google Chrome. It is also possible to use it with the Chromium packages provided by various Linux distributions; packages are available to install it for both Debian and Ubuntu. For Debian it is in the contrib repository and for Ubuntu it is in Multiverse. It may also be possible to use it with the developer version of Opera, which is now Chromium-based as well, but I haven’t tested this.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you must or even should swap browsers. You can use a Chromium-based browser with Flash for the NFL Sunday Ticket and still choose another browser, like Mozilla Firefox which seemed to come out ahead in our recent benchmarks, for other things. Ultimately, we would all really like to see web applications, including video streaming, developed with HTML5 and web standards. Mozilla is probably one of the biggest forces pushing for this. Some people even refuse to use the proprietary Flash plugin at all in order to help promote this lofty goal. But if you want to watch your NFL games on Linux this year, now you know how.