Netflix takes heat over Silverlight-based player

By Justin Mann on March 2, 2009, 2:26 PM
Netflix users are lashing out at the streaming video service lately, following the introduction of a new distribution method for their online content. A few months ago, the company announced that they would be introducing a new player for their streaming content, moving away from their current Windows Media based player. After a few months of making the new player available on an opt-in basis, many users have complained about what they perceive as quality control issues and being deceived.

The first big issue is related to quality, where Netflix users are saying that the Windows Media-based player is delivering much better quality video, up to the full quality Netflix currently provides. The Silverlight based player, on the other hand, does not. The second big issue is that the “opt-in” doesn't provide an “opt-out” down the road; once you've opted in to the Silverlight player, you are forced to use it permanently on any machine you stream with. The deceit came in to play after some people felt they were coerced or tricked into opting in. The final issue stems from Netflix apparently ignoring their customers – telling them essentially to just deal with the issues.

That's not to say Silverlight doesn't have any advantages. It does allow the content to be brought to other platforms, such as Intel-based Macs, which do not have Windows Media player. But are they making the right choice in preventing users from backtracking, even though it is beta software?

User Comments: 4

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captain828 said:
Has Netflix heard of flash??
tengeta said:
Flash makes Silverlight look efficent and secure, you gotta be kidding me.
sngx1275 said:
I watched a movie this weekend on my Vista machine. 2.13Ghz Core2Duo, 3 gigs of RAM, 8800GTS320, processor usage was up around 90% the entire time it was playing. The last time I streamed a movie was when they used WMP. Processor usage at that time was about 70%, but only in bursts as it downloaded, when it wasn't downloading the processor usage was down below 25%. So they really did screw the pooch with Silverlight.
jmachado82 said:
My biggest problem with Silverlight is that it doesn't bypass your screensaver when you're watching a movie. I called Netflix on that and they appologized but they couldn't do anything about that since it was Microsoft's program. They did kindly suggest that I turn off my screensaver, when I kindly told them that was highly inconvenient.I didn't even know I had the option to not upgrade. When I watched a movie last week, the website informed me that I had to upgrade. I wish I didn't.
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