How to watch Sky TV (Sky Go) on Ubuntu


EDIT: 18 Oct 14 – Firefox has just been updated from v32 to v33 – and brilliant news – pipelight and sky go now works again 🙂

article updated to reflect the new PPA available

Here in the UK we have a satellite TV company called Sky.  Its costs are huge – but the TV, movies etc are great.

What has always bugged me though was the inability to watch movies and TV from Sky on Ubuntu.  Their primary DRM based service is based around Microsoft’s Silverlight – yes that well known friendly opensource based company 😛

Since I never use Windows at home, I could only watch Sky on TV – battling with my teenagers now for the remote isnt as much fun as it once was.

Thankfully there is now a solution – and with a few caveats and workarounds – it works great!

Actually, alot of their clips are Adobe Flash based – so install the package ubuntu-restricted-extras first

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

Next we need add a PPA:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:pipelight/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pipelight

Be warned, on a 64bit system, this installs several megabytes of 32bit Wine libraries. Since disk-space is so cheap, lets move on.

Next, you have to fool Sky TV to thinking you are actually using Silverlight 5.1 but in reality you are actually using Silverlight 5.0 – yes I know, strange, but this works 🙂

sudo pipelight-plugin --disable silverlight --enable silverlight5.0

Fire-up your Firefox web-browser, log into Sky and enjoy!

Now the caveats.  Under Unity, on my system, full-screen crashes Unity.  The workaround is just before you want to go full-screen, open a terminal and type:
metacity --replace &

Dont close the terminal when the Unity desktop disappears (that is expected). When you have finished, in the same terminal you have to Alt-Tab back to the terminal and type:

compiz --replace &

I’ve tried to get Sky to work under Chrome, but no joy – so stick to Firefox.

Visit the pipelight teams website for further info together with instructions if you want to install shockwave and/or the latest Adobe Flash

EDIT – Update 28/09/13

Since upgrading to the raring hardware enablement stack and thus the latest graphics, Unity no longer crashes on full screen, so the metacity/compiz workaround is not required.  Yeah!

EDIT – Update 23/11/13

Recently the pipelight team have made changes which makes installation easier for newcomers. However, this also breaks previous users of pipelight.

To remedy this, reverse the initial changes you should have made:

rm ~/.config/pipelight
sudo apt-get purge wine-silverlight5.1-installer
sudo apt-get purge wine-silverlight5.0-installer
sudo apt-get purge pipelight

Then reinstall pipelight and downgrade silverlight as above.

EDIT – Update 23/12/13

The pipelight team have now combined their efforts in one PPA. To make use of their fantastic effort, you need to uninstall your previous installation.

sudo ppa-purge ppa:mqchael/pipelight
sudo ppa-purge ppa:ehoover/compholio
sudo apt-get purge pipelight

Now follow the instructions for the new PPA and downgrade silverlight as above.