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.

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