[RELEASE] Amazon Prime Instant Video plug-in addon

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jshackles Offline
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Post: #391
BlueCop - thanks for the great plugin. I've been enjoying it greatly for the last month or so. Yesterday I started getting the FLASH DRM messages and the content would not play. I just renewed my Prime membership yesterday so I was a little ticked off by this and wrote to Amazon customer service. Here is the response I got:

Quote:I'm sorry that the Prime videos are giving a Flash error with using the Xbox Media Center.

Since the XBMC Media Center is not one our supported devices, I will not be able to look too deeply into this, but I did find a forum thread created by the person that developed the Amazon Instant Video Plugin for XBMC. It looks like on this thread that many people are experiencing the same issue, and the developer is actually working on a fix.

I would recommend posting on this thread and keeping and eye on it, because if anyone comes up with a resolution, it will likely be posted here:

forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=108124

I understand that it is necessary for the Instant Videos to work on the XBMC in order for you to keep your Prime subscription. So, if this forum isn't helpful or if you'd just prefer a refund for your Prime membership, please let us know.

Changes in the way our service works are not designed with third-party unsupported add-ons in mind. I understand that this has caused issues on your end, and have made a request to our development team undo the changes made to our video service that is causing this error. We value your feedback, and will consider this suggestion when making future changes to our service.

Thank you for your interest in Amazon Instant Video. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

I'm actually pretty impressed by their response, and would encourage others that are having issues to also press Amazon support on the matter to hopefully send them the clear message that we don't appreciate a DRM scheme that prevents us from enjoying Amazon video on a device of our choosing.
(This post was last modified: 2012-04-04 23:39 by jshackles.)
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ptzink Offline
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Post: #392
@jshackles
I sent them an email as well letting them know that I am displeased and threatened to cancel my membership. I would encourage others to take a second and do the same.
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ptzink Offline
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Post: #393
BTW, thanks for the work on this and all of your plugins BlueCop. I hope that either Amazon has a change of heart on the DRM or you are able to find a work around. Let us know if we can help test/troubleshoot in any way.
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marcmerlin Offline
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Post: #394
Amazon was probably told to add DRM as per the contract they have with their providers. They are likely stupidly scared that someone might rip the video and 'steal it' when in real life by stopping people from watching content they were lawfully allowed to, they are just enticing people who can't do the right thing, to fall back on less legal options Undecided

Threatening amazon to leave them is unlikely to accomplish much unfortunately, although telling them politely that the change is now making prime unwatchable for you and that other options don't work for you will still give them numbers to work with, but let's be honest, those number will be noise at best.

I'm not sure if Bluecop can work around the new scheme without reverse engineering the new flash applet, or working on a new solution where the flash applet actually plays the video in a full screen window.

In my case though, whether this works is very much going to impact whether I renew my prime membership when the time comes since I did want to use prime to legally watch content on my HTPC.
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mikefreeman Offline
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Post: #395
Bluecop: I know you don't want to have anything to do with Flash. That said, if you can detect that the Amazon video is using Flash DRM, why not add a button to the dialog box that allows the user to choose to launch the video into a fullscreen flash player instance? It's not ideal at all, but it would at least allow users to easily get to the content until a better solution is found. Is this something that would be possible (whether you actually want to implement it or not)? I'm no lover of Flash, but I paid $80 to get this service, and I want to be able to use it. Can't use Netflix on Linux at all, and Amazon has more content that I want to watch than Hulu. If Flash is the only way it's going to happen, then that's what I'll have to do one way or another.

Also, I too sent a message of complaint to Amazon about their use of Flash DRM and the impact it has had on my use of their service. I'll let you know if there is any news received from it, beyond what's already been said.
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Citizen_Seven Offline
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Post: #396
This may be unrelated, but two things I noticed when testing videos from Prime this morning:

1. Playing in a web browser (i.e. NOT xbmc), a message came up about "updating player". I had never noticed that before, and I've been using Prime videos since they started over a year ago. The videos (ALF in this case) play fine in the web browser, as per usual
2. Through the bluecop plugin, we are no longer getting the DRM message dialog box, but rather the script failed popup in the lower right hand corner. This is different behavior than occurred just a few days ago with the exact same video source.

I don't know if any of this is relevant, but I thought it might point it out.

On another note, and pardon my ignorance, but since we know that prime video works in a web browser either full screen or not, then couldn't a stripped down version of a web browser be incorporated into xbmc and invoked via the bluecop plugin? It would only have to incorporate enough elements to convince the flash player that DRM isn't being violated.

I realize that this wouldn't be an optimal solution, adding another layer of complexity and probably losing some functionality some people want. But, if like me you just want a unified front end for videos played via XBMC in some fashion and a decent search/organizational structure, then there wouldn't be any difference.

I've been using Amazon since the 90's, and been a prime member since about '04. I'd still be prime even if Amazon completely dropped their Prime Instant Videos program. That said, their search functions and organizational structure on their website are not very good at all, and xbmc via the bluecop plugin solves that problem nicely.
(This post was last modified: 2012-04-09 13:31 by Citizen_Seven.)
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jshackles Offline
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Post: #397
For grins, I "purchased" one of their free episodes of Battlestar Galactica in HD. When accessing items in my video library, they play fine through the plugin. However when trying to play "Prime Eligible" content, I get the FLASH_DRM error message. It seems to me like they would be justified in implementing this DRM on files that are for pay, and not the other way around. Very strange.
(This post was last modified: 2012-04-09 17:27 by jshackles.)
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BlueCop Offline
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Post: #398
Citizen_Seven: I want to add the option of launching a web browser. I have never really launched an external program in any plug-ins. I am looking how some of the other scripts do it. I wanted to test some a few browsers. There is a mini-player url we can use that is fully the flash player component. a full screen browse would then have the player full as well.

Flash doesn't run well on my htpc because it runs linux. It doesn't run at all on my atv2 or ipad. those are the 3 primary devices I use xbmc on. When they implement DRM it completely eliminates my ability to watch the content on the screens I want. I haven't really felt like spending time making it work in a browser when I benefit very little. I just had other stuff I wanted to work on really.

I would bet these DRM requirements are from the content providers. It is just another example of when they make it easier to pirate the content you want. I mean BR and DVD copy protections are completely broken DRM. It doesn't prevent anyone motivated to do so from copying the disc contents. The content providers know this. They still release dvds and blurays that get ripped and pirated. People still copy discs from rental and subscription services.

If they are insisting on unneeded DRM in online realm then they would eventually have to cut off the DVD and BR market to force people into using their online player environments.

That is where they cross the line. They shouldn't be able to determine how I decode the content that I pay for. They crossed the same line on disc formats when they had User Prohibited Actions like disabling skip forward during pre-roll trailers. They think people should be forced to watch this shit every time they put a DVD in a drive. I just mean fuck these people. They hate their customers and treat them with no respect. I wouldn't stand behind technology that confines the customer rather then empowering the customer.
(This post was last modified: 2012-04-09 19:41 by BlueCop.)
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Citizen_Seven Offline
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Post: #399
Of course, BlueCop, if you don't benefit then it would be nuts to expect you to work on a fix at all. The benefit of user-driven software projects such as these is that there's an "itch to scratch" on the developers part, and that they consent to share their work with the larger community. If the itch isn't there, you have no incentive, and development work becomes a job rather than a useful hobby. I appreciate the work you have done on this plug-in, and your other plug-ins as well.
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Clutchless Offline
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Post: #400
It appears that the view settings aren't sticking for Favorited shows as well as when you go into the episode level when browsing shows. It keeps defaulting back to DVD Case/Landscape respectively.
Is anyone else experiencing?
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marcmerlin Offline
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Post: #401
Hi bluecop. If it's useful to you or someone, I had eden crash once while playing amazon prime video:
http://trac.xbmc.org/ticket/12952
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marcmerlin Offline
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Post: #402
This is what I sent amazon:

I am writing you about the DRM you have been adding to your amazon prime library.
I know I am not using a supported way to play your videos and do not need you to tell me what the supported ways are since I am aware of them.

I am contacting you in the hope that you will forward this request to someone in charge of decisions for which formats you stream your videos in and whether or not DRM will get applied to cripple your entire collection, making it useless to me and others who do not use flash to play the videos.

I use XBMC on my HTPC since I like the freedom of controlling my own experience and the flexibility of programming it and having it do just what I need on the hardware that makes sense to me (which includes playback on devices that do not have flash capability).
I'm sure you are already aware of this project:
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=108124&page=41

For comparison, all HTPC players I've seen that use flash offer a pretty bad experience. Since flash was never designed for proper integration on computers controlled by a simple remote.

You also know that flash is a soon to be dead technology, it's already abandoned by Appple, and even Adobe gave up on it, mostly killing its future.
By converting your content to DRM, you are putting your content out of reach for us, just to appease some of your content providers with their pretend world that somehow it is protecting their content.

Since you are big, and they should listen to you, not the other way around, please convey to them that:
- forcing the use of flash DRM in no way prevents ripping the content with a screen grabber. It's not even hard.
- someone motivated in stealing your content can just reverse engineer that DRM, and in the meantime it only penalizes your customers.
- your streaming content is somewhat low quality, it's much easier to rip from a DVD or a blueray, both of them have been broken. Even HDCP has been broken so content can be ripped in highest quality from HDMI.

Therefore adding DRM to your flash streams just penalizes your legal paying customers, and accomplishes nothing. Please resist further converting your library to DRM, and if at all possible, please revert this useless conversion.

Not doing so, will just force some of your customers to switch to other options, maybe youtube or other, where the content isn't protected from being seen by its paying customers.
I'm not going to tell you that losing us as customers will impact your bottom line in a way that will be significant right now, but I am hoping that you'll consider doing the right thing, in a way that is indeed likely to impact your business longer term.
You are way behind netflix, you need to differentiate yourself in any way possible, and providing easy to watch content for all your customers is definitely a way to do it.

Thank you for reading.
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sosaudio1 Offline
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Post: #403
(2012-04-10 02:14)Clutchless Wrote:  It appears that the view settings aren't sticking for Favorited shows as well as when you go into the episode level when browsing shows. It keeps defaulting back to DVD Case/Landscape respectively.
Is anyone else experiencing?
Set up your settings to fix this in the add-on settings
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mythboy Offline
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Post: #404
I sent Amazon a similar letter. I'm allowing my Amazon Prime membership to lapse this year.

Bottom line: they are preventing me from watching content I've subscribed to.
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mythboy Offline
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Post: #405
I'm sure it wasn't due to my letter but Amazon content is playing again! No more DRM on any of the vids. Please reply with vids that you aren't able to view.
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