WebKit2.WebView (and Gnome Browser) doesn't play YouTube videos

Inside a Python GTK+ 3 application I have a simple WebKit2.WebView (no customization) to display a set html string (no live browsing). The html contains a javascript lightbox with some youtube videos. When I open them, the youtube video box shows up but the content doesn’t play and I get a black screen saying (“An error occurred. Please try again later. (Playback ID: …”).
Similar image found on the web: https://i.redd.it/gwqswatndiy11.png

I then tried browsing the YouTube website with the Gnome Web browser (v 3.18.11 on Linux Mint 18.3) [based on WebKit] and the same problem occured with every video.
Of course everything works with other browsers (Chromium and Firefox).
Moreover, everything works if I use WebKit1 instead of WebKit2 in my PyGtk+ 3 app.
So I think the problem lies in the Webkit2 options configuration.

Does anyone know how to solve this problem?

Here is an extract of my code. As you can see, I have already tried to set some options but nothing worked.
[Side note: browser_settings.set_enable_media(True) gives me the error AttributeError: 'Settings' object has no attribute 'set_enable_media'; I don’t understand why since in the documentation the method exists]

import gi
gi.require_version('Gtk', '3.0')
gi.require_version('GtkSource', '3.0')
gi.require_version('WebKit2', '4.0')
from gi.repository import Gtk, GtkSource, GLib, WebKit2

self.webview = WebKit2.WebView.new()
browser_settings = self.webview.get_settings()
browser_settings.set_property('javascript-can-access-clipboard', bool(True))

# browser_context = self.webview.get_context()
# cookie_manager = browser_context.get_cookie_manager()
# cookie_manager.set_accept_policy(WebKit2.CookieAcceptPolicy.ALWAYS)
# browser_settings.set_enable_xss_auditor(False)
# browser_settings.set_allow_universal_access_from_file_urls(True)
# browser_settings.set_allow_file_access_from_file_urls(True)
# browser_settings.set_enable_media(True)
# browser_settings.set_enable_media_capabilities(True)
# browser_settings.set_enable_media_stream(True)
# browser_settings.set_enable_mediasource(True)
# browser_settings.set_media_playback_allows_inline(True)


I just tested on Fedora 33 with Epiphany (GNOME Web) 3.38.2, and Youtube videos played OK. (Seemed to take a huge amount of CPU, but I guess that’s a separate issue).

You mentioned v3.18.11, this is a very old version and may not have some thing that’s needed to work with current Youtube.

If it’s impossible for you to use a recent version for some reason, I’d suggest opening the developer console in Web by pressing F12, and look in the console for any errors that might give a clue what’s wrong.

First of all, thank you very much for taking the time to assist other users like me. It’s much appreciated.

I run Linux Mint 18.3 (which is a LTS version with support until 2021) with everything updated, so apparently the only available package for Gnome Web browser is quite old. Can that happen in a LTS version?

That is reassuring. At least updating the package (by upgrading distro) is one solution.

In the console I get these two types of error:

I think it’s related to cross-origin requests, but I couldn’t find a solution… So frustrating…

I also think that more than Gnome Web browser / Epiphany versions, we should compare WebKit2 versions.
In the software manager I found that I have installed the following package:
gir1.2-webkit2-4.0, version 2.20.5

Which are you running?

I have version 2.30.4 of the webkit2gtk3 Fedora package.

I run Linux Mint 18.3 (which is a LTS version with support until 2021) with everything updated, so apparently the only available package for Gnome Web browser is quite old. Can that happen in a LTS version?

Very much so. LTS distributions deliberately avoid updating to newer versions of components, which is a tradeoff that sometimes pays off and sometimes doesn’t.

Have you looked at Flatpak? This provides a nice way to use up-to-date apps and libraries on older distros, by running the app in a special container. You can try GNOME Web from Flatpak and see if it works any better.

That makes sense. I just saw that the “current” WebKit2 version in Mint 18.3 was actually released in August 13th, 2018.

Since Mint 18.3 is coming to end-of-life I’ll just install Mint 20 (or Fedora) on another ssd disk and check if this issue is solved (I’ll need to upgrade the system anyway in a few months, so no harm starting now).

Thank you very much. I will mark the topic as closed as soon as I verify everyting on the new system (at most in a few days).

FYI, Linux Mint 20.1 should be released anytime soon, so you should get the latest packages there.

Thank you for the reminder

1 Like

Confirmed that the probelm is no longer present in Linux Mint 20, with newer package versions of WebKit2. Thank you very much!!