Netflix has officially embraced HTML5 video. The company doesn't just want to just push forward with its own flavor of HTML5 video, the way Apple did with its iOS devices, but it wants to build an industry-wide consensus on issues like video codecs and container formats used for browser-based video delivery as well as DRM content protection. Because many of these issues haven't been resolved yet, Netflix has yet to adopt HTML5 video, but the streaming website is clearly distinguishing itself from Apple by putting emphasis on cross-platform standards.
Netflix wants to actively get involved in standards bodies like the MPEG committee for Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH), which is trying to come up with a standard for adaptive bitrate streaming to browsers with HTML5 support. The committee, which also includes companies like Microsoft and Apple, will get help from Netflix beginning early next year, by means of a profile describing a limited subset of the MPEG DASH standard.
Netflix currently uses Microsoft's Silverlight to deliver video to PC-based web browsers, but has to leverage various other technologies to support Linux-based CE devices, mobile phones, and tablets like the iPad. HTML5 video would help to simplify the roll-out of its online video service across different devices and would also help CE partners and end users.
"What's still missing is how to address the last item - how exactly to tie advanced streaming standards (MPEG DASH and others) into the HTML5 video tag," a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. "To this end, we are starting to get involved in the community with the goal to help shape a great standard that will be useful to everybody involved in building browsers, CE devices and services for streaming video over the Internet. We know that achieving this goal will take a while. In the meantime, we’ll continue to evolve our own streaming technology to make sure our members have the best streaming experience possible and to get to as many platforms as we can."