Netflix planning switch from Silverlight to HTML5

By on April 17, 2013, 1:30 PM

Netflix has been working toward transitioning away from Silverlight to HTML5, it recently indicated on its technology blog. With Silverlight's biggest customer fleeing the web-based video plug-in scene, the imminent demise of browser plug-ins like Adobe Flash and Microsoft's Silverlight has never looked so certain.

Netflix is working with industry leaders to solve the conundrum of streaming "premium video" sans the aid of third-party add ons using only HTML5. Their efforts have yielded a set of HTML5 premium video extensions which promise a simple, standard way to embed protected video content without the necessity of plug-ins.

Netflix's effort to ditch Silverlight was likely sparked by Microsoft's own shift away from the platform. In recent years, even Microsoft has been pushing HTML5 as a preferred alternative.

In spite of Redmond's apparent disinterest in Silverlight though, the software-maker is still promising long-term support until 2021. This means Netflix has about eight years before it needs to make the switch -- plenty of time to kick the tires on future, alternative streaming methods.

Although browser plug-ins like Silverlight and Flash offer a common framework which ensures uniformity across multiple platforms, critics have long derided such proprietary software as unnecessarily resource intensive and inherently insecure. With the advent of HTML5 though, there was finally an open standard to rival many of the features afforded by Silverlight and Flash.

According to Netflix, Chrome OS is the first software to partially implement HTML5 Premium Video Extensions. No browsers appear to fully support the entire set of extensions just yet.




User Comments: 15

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howzz1854 said:

I hope it doesn't take 8 years for Netflix to make surround sound available on the PC platforum. one of the biggest obstacle with current netflix PC streaming is due to Silverlight's lack of surround sound support in common codec standard. Silverlight can only output WMA multi-channel, which probably only about 2% of the consumer market AVR equipment can decode. in order to make HTPC more attractive to more people, with the advancement of MCE in the past few years, Netflix really needs to overcome this hurdle. I am not sure what HTML 5 is capable of as far as audio support, but Netflix really needs to get this ball rolling.

Chazz said:

I think it'll be a year or two before this happens completely native. The consortium is moving fast but not fast enough.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Use Media Center software and you get 5.1 surround sound. I don't use PC to Browser streaming feature just lacking. Wii, Network media players a lot of devices to play netflix on today.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Love to see this happen, so I can get me some Netflix on Linux. It's the one thing really missing from my RaspBMC build right now. But, I can see some issues...

If they make the switch, what will that do to all of those native Netflix apps built into things like TVs, Blu-Ray players, etc.? Do those native apps circumvent Silverlight completely? Never really paid much attention to their inner workings. But, supposing they all still use Silverlight to stream in one capacity or another, I guess if you have some method for firmware updates, and your hardware even supports updates, you would potentially be ok. Would be interesting to know how many streaming systems in use today might not be able to continue with a major switchover like this.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Lots of these network streamers use Linux OS and there are Apple TV uses Apple OS. I use SONY SMP-N100 or SMP-N200 really mostly I am on Windows laptops so it has Media Center - Movie applet has Netflix own applet. So that runs without a browser.

Wii also has Netflix applet you download and install on the Wii memory or SD card. To me Netflix looks really good on the Wii and Apple Tv. I don't own Apple TV but help a someone with their setup. Cost of that device was $99 bucks at Apple store. Then they get you with $19 bucks for 6FT HDMI cable. I told the person buying this you could get this for so much less.

I can play netflix on Android (linux) with HDMI out to the HDTV. Nother option. Today you got many options. These Media Players use 1080p HD and Optical Fiber to your your 7.1 True HD. If Vudu Service from Walmart they use HDX system that use Cloud storage and Blue Ray to get you full 1080p.

howzz1854 said:

Use Media Center software and you get 5.1 surround sound. I don't use PC to Browser streaming feature just lacking. Wii, Network media players a lot of devices to play netflix on today.

you can't get 5.1 through medica center plugin nor browser. netflix currently does not support multi-channel outside of specific consumer devices like Apple TV or Roku. you can get matrix surround through Dolby PLII. but it's a inherent limitation with silverlight.

howzz1854 said:

Lots of these network streamers use Linux OS and there are Apple TV uses Apple OS. I use SONY SMP-N100 or SMP-N200 really mostly I am on Windows laptops so it has Media Center - Movie applet has Netflix own applet. So that runs without a browser.

Wii also has Netflix applet you download and install on the Wii memory or SD card. To me Netflix looks really good on the Wii and Apple Tv. I don't own Apple TV but help a someone with their setup. Cost of that device was $99 bucks at Apple store. Then they get you with $19 bucks for 6FT HDMI cable. I told the person buying this you could get this for so much less.

I can play netflix on Android (linux) with HDMI out to the HDTV. Nother option. Today you got many options. These Media Players use 1080p HD and Optical Fiber to your your 7.1 True HD. If Vudu Service from Walmart they use HDX system that use Cloud storage and Blue Ray to get you full 1080p.

yes, and you'll end up with a box for netflix, a box for video game, a box for blu-ray, and another box for something else. the whole point of HTPC is so you can have all and do it all in one box, thus I don't have to switch through 5 different HDMI modes everytime I want to switch task.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

So, true but I use the PC through Media Center more than I use the other boxes. Your on Linux so I am sure you have something pretty much the same process. The other devices get use if I want to run them. Most of the higher end Surround Amps can switch HDMI device 4 and up. Can give you up to 7 HDMI ports. I use that with SONY BRAVIA Series. Again I use laptops now as DVR not as HTPC those days are gone today I use HDHomeRun these are network dual tuners (4x) and tablets as players some can access Windows Shares from any source in my case NAS running Linux OS.

1 person liked this | JC713 JC713 said:

Who even adopted Silverlight. That plug in is garbage.

howzz1854 said:

Hence exactly my point, you have to switch between devices 4~5 times when you change task. my HTPC accomplishes all through one HDMI connection through the AVR. I never have to touch my AVR remote. it does Losless streaming, 1080P, 3d blu-ray, gaming (because it has HD7950 and i7 860), DVR, TV, CABLE card, Spotify and more. and for Netflix to not be able to do Multi-channel in media center is really behind the curve

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Who even adopted Silverlight. That plug in is garbage.

Meh, Love Film uses it here as well, in fact I think they are the only 2 major streaming services and both use Silverlight

I know where your coming from though, it isn't the greatest platform or plug-in.

Guest said:

I am guessing this is a LONG way off. Or perhaps it will be an option. I don't know about Netflix customers but IE8 and below are still the largest group of browsers on the internet at about 35%

After the disk/streaming split fiasco I imagine they are leery of alienating their customers and few things would make Mom and Dad unhappy as telling them it doesn't work and they have to upgrade or install some other browser they know nothing about.

JC713 JC713 said:

Meh, Love Film uses it here as well, in fact I think they are the only 2 major streaming services and both use Silverlight

I know where your coming from though, it isn't the greatest platform or plug-in.

Flash player is better haha. I guess they just feel Silverlight is more secure since it is from MS.

Guest said:

Glad to see Netflix moving away from silverblight

Guest said:

You can actually get surround sounds on PC if you are using the Netflix app on Windows 8

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