Watching NBA Playoffs in Firefox on Fedora--No luck

I have Fedora running on several computers at home and like to use it for as much as possible over Windows since it is lighter weight (less bloat) and I have the ability to control more aspects of the OS due to experience and the openness of Linux and Fedora. With that said, I try to be practical in my use of Linux--I am not a free software fanatic, refusing to use proprietary software under all circumstances. If I have to use some proprietary tools, I would much rather use a proprietary tool under Linux than Windows. If there is a reasonable open alternative to a proprietary tool, I frequently prefer it over the proprietary tool.

Several weeks ago, I was trying to watch some of the NBA Playoffs on-line using Firefox (taking advantage of our cable subscription). The web pages come up fine, but it refused to play at least some of the video clips. To debug the Firefox Web Console (Ctrl-Shift-K or Web Developer->Web Console under the Firefox menus), I was getting complaints about missing multimedia decoders (codecs). At the time, I wasn't making progress fast enough in debugging the problem, so I (sadly) installed Google Chrome on the Fedora machine and watched the playoffs.

FFmpeg to the Rescue

Ever since then, though, I have been wondering what I should have done. I ran across a similar situation again in the last few days, and it bugged me. Why can't I use Firefox for watching these videos? In doing some simple searches, I noticed that Firefox can use FFmpeg (or its libraries) for decoding video. I gave it a try and have had some success. Here are the steps for installing it under Fedora:

  1. I installed the RPMFusion free and non-free repositories using:

      sudo dnf install$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm
  2. I installed FFmpeg using:

      sudo dnf install ffmpeg

That has fixed the issue for some videos. Oddly, I have an second Fedora machine with Firefox that didn't require FFmpeg for the same video, so there must be more going on than I fully understand yet. Further, the second machine didn't even have the Cisco System H.264 codec enabled.

I guess there is some more to come on this issue.