In June, Netflix announced that its streaming video service can be accessed by its new HTML5 codebase via Internet Explorer 11 in the preview version of Windows 8.1. This week, Microsoft went into more detail on how IE11 will offer what it calls "Professional Quality Video" without the need for plug-ins such as Adobe's Flash or Microsoft's own Silverlight. Netflix has already announced it will be transitioning its web browser support from using Silverlight to HTML5 over the next few years.
In a new blog post, Microsoft said it has worked with the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) to help bring new HTML5 standards for video streaming. They include Media Source Extensions (MSE) that are designed to curtail the ever present threat of "buffering" when viewing streaming videos. Another addition is Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) which offers a better DRM solution for video content providers.
Microsoft also mentions the previously announced Simple Delivery Profile for HTML5 that has been made for better closed caption support in videos. Finally, Microsoft says that IE11 is the first web browser to support the Web Crypto specification. Microsoft says, "Though it is not strictly a media specification, Web Crypto is useful for device and user authentication, which makes it important for Professional Quality Video scenarios."
In addition to the new HTML5 specifications for video, Microsoft says that IE11 helps to converse power on PCs when running video clips in the browser. The browser can automatically reduce the refresh rate on a display from 60 Hz to 48 Hz when running full screen video at 24 frames per second. This reduces power consumption on both the display as well as on a CPU. Microsoft claims that on a Windows 8.1 tablet while running video, it can result in an extra 30 minutes of battery power.
The blog also claims that IE11 can optimize downloads of streaming media by sending the data directly to memory instead of first caching that data in a storage component like a hard drive disc. Windows 8.1 can also "coalesce timers and park CPU cores" while a full screen video is being displayed, which again saves energy.
Source: Microsoft | Image via Netflix