Those looking forward to the upcoming Disney+ may want to double-check their preferred devices can actually run the streaming service in the first place. According to Linux developer Hansdegoede, Linux PCs, Chromebooks and some Android devices are incapable of meeting Disney’s stringent DRM requirements necessary for accessing Disney+ via web browsers.
Disney+ uses the “Widevine” DRM, which restricts access to content based on a security level between 1 (low) and 3 (high). Most streaming services only require devices meet level 1 security in order to watch (non-4K) content, but Disney+ is only accessible to devices that meet level 3. Linux, Chromebooks and some older Android devices are only compatible with level 1, meaning all those devices are locked out of the service. Disney is aware of this issue and told Hansdegeode that the issue was being worked on back in September, but the error persists.
Hansdegeode and a number of other Linux developers are calling for Linux, Chromebook and Android users affected by the DRM to voice their concerns to Disney and to boycott the service until support is officially included for these devices.
I certainly advocate users vote with their wallets, but I sympathise with those who want an easier solution. Unfortunately, there are no workarounds to watch Disney+ on the affected devices at this time. VPNs won’t solve the issue, and it’ll be difficult to crack the DRM Disney has in place. Technically, you could create a second bootable Windows partition on your hard drive, but if that’s the only reason you have to install Windows, then it might not be worth the effort and drive space.
A better solution is to just use a different device that supports Disney+ instead. There are quite a few that will support the service at launch, so it’s possible something else you already own would work. If that secondary device is, say, a smartphone, but you want to watch on a bigger screen, there are adaptor cables that can plug into a TV or monitor, while Chromecast, Airplay, VLC and Miracast all let you send media playing on one device to your TV.
Granted, this requires you have access to such devices, and that they meet the DRM requirements in the first place. We’ll keep an eye out for better fixes for those whose only options are Linux, but for now your only options are to skip Disney+ or find another way to watch.