Netflix to transition from Microsoft's Silverlight to HTML5

Microsoft's Silverlight media player API hasn't gotten much love from companies of late. The last major update was Silverlight 5 in December 2011 but since then Microsoft has been silent about its plans for future versions beyond just bug fixes and plugging security holes. Microsoft plans to cut off support for Silverlight 5 in 2021 and most expect that Microsoft will not launch a Silverlight 6.

Even though that deadline is eight years away, that's apparently enough for Netflix. It's one of the few remaining companies that uses Silverlight, which powers Netflix's streaming video on PC web browsers. Today, Netflix announced that it will be dumping support for Silverlight over the next few years as it moves to an HTML5-based video solution.

Netfliix says it has been working with others on three specific HTML5-based solutions: Media Source Extensions, Encrypted Media Extensions, and Web Cryptography API. Netflix says that it has worked with Google to allow Samsung-made ARM Chromebooks to play Netflix videos using Media Source Extensions and Encrypted Media Extensions. Netflix says that once the Web Cryptography API can work in Chrome OSS without a plugin, it will begin to develop its HTML5 player for Windows and Max OS X platforms.

Source: Netflix | Image via Netflix

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About time.

Now to hope Silverlight completely dies so we can stop relying on proprietary technology.

Also; stupid codecs; just support all the major ones FFS. We're already severely limited by the constraints of flash; we don't need a repeat of it.

mozilla is against html5 drm so i guess we will probably have to install an addon for this to work in firefox until mozilla decides they were wrong not supporting it and adds support 12 months later.

Mozilla is not against html5. It's just a container for the <video> tag in html5. It's what's transported in the video container - webm (google vp8 or vp9) vs h.264 and h.265 (hevc).

The two camps are trying to reach a consensus on a single standard for a video codec to use in the html5 <video> tag. The work is carried out through the Internet Engineering Task Force standards organization. It's still open to debate on what codec to decide on.

E-mail discussioin list:
http://www.ietf.org/mail-archi...codec/current/maillist.html

they better get the consensus fast,
otherwise the old 'You must install our codec to view the videos from our sites' will rise again.

and those 'codec's are ridden with spyware that reporting your browsing habits.

They've basically decided on H.264 at this point, every single browser supports it now (Development builds of Firefox do at least)

What Mozilla are against is stuffing DRM into HTML, kinda goes against the whole "open web" thing if part of the browser has to be a "black box encryption device".

humanz. said,
The best news today.

Now Linux won't have to rely on workarounds

Or even non-Linux users for that matter, on platforms it's "supposed" to work on.

humanz. said,
The best news today.

Now Linux won't have to rely on workarounds

finally, hope for xbmc and similar to work well with netflix!

Well it better still go in to Full Screen mode if switched to HTML5.
YouTube videos don't so I've still stuck with Flash for them.

LUTZIFER said,
Well it better still go in to Full Screen mode if switched to HTML5.
YouTube videos don't so I've still stuck with Flash for them.

I have had no issues with fullscreen mode for YouTube.

If you enable html 5 in testtube then it will only fill the browser window not the entire screen in which you have to press F11

LUTZIFER said,
Well it better still go in to Full Screen mode if switched to HTML5.
YouTube videos don't so I've still stuck with Flash for them.

Full screen mode is now available for HTML5 video so i'd hope that Netflix uses it.
YouTube are just being lazy with their development on this or maybe it conflicts with ads and overlays?

ians18 said,
If you enable html 5 in testtube then it will only fill the browser window not the entire screen in which you have to press F11

Not true - for me it fills the full screen, regardless of the window size of the browser.

Mikeffer said,

Full screen mode is now available for HTML5 video so i'd hope that Netflix uses it.
YouTube are just being lazy with their development on this or maybe it conflicts with ads and overlays?


It's not YouTube that lacks the functionality, if it doesn't work like it should it means the browser you're using hasn't implemented it properly.

ians18 said,
If you enable html 5 in testtube then it will only fill the browser window not the entire screen in which you have to press F11

What you say is true for Internet Explorer 10, but not Firefox 20 or Chrome 26.

Lamp Post said,

It's not YouTube that lacks the functionality, if it doesn't work like it should it means the browser you're using hasn't implemented it properly.

Incorrect. You still have to set a parameter in the code, something that YouTube have not done as yet. Although perversely not all on all videos.

Because nobody but Microsoft's own platforms (Windows and Xbox) wanted anything to do with it. Apple wanted to go their own way, and Linux wanted to go yet another. Result - a real mishmash. In fact, let's look at the devices - they are separated (quite literally) by the underpinnings. HTML 5 comes the closest to universal support, even though (surprise!) Microsoft is actually the biggest force behind its push - all the while, Mozilla and Google are trying to fork it.

Actually, many sites have run Silverlight before, many that you may have not even known. But just like Flash, it's a dying platform and even Microsoft themselves are moving forward with HTML5, so it only makes sense.

PGHammer said,
Because nobody but Microsoft's own platforms (Windows and Xbox) wanted anything to do with it. Apple wanted to go their own way, and Linux wanted to go yet another. Result - a real mishmash. In fact, let's look at the devices - they are separated (quite literally) by the underpinnings. HTML 5 comes the closest to universal support, even though (surprise!) Microsoft is actually the biggest force behind its push - all the while, Mozilla and Google are trying to fork it.

You can't 'fork' HTML, all you can do is add extensions via your rendering engine.

Yeah, the "Encrypted Media Extentions" is going to be a sticking point, Mozilla are against it and I doubt companies would be happy with open source implementations (Similar to how Google can't ship a H.264 decoder with the open source versions of Chrome)

Edit: Say Mozilla supported it, you could then write a greasemonkey script to (stupidly) dump each video frame and chunk of audio to disk, how would companies react, etc.

A good idea at the time, Silverlight just didn't gain enough traction and the limited platforms meant it wasn't going to be easy to get on mobile devices...

Yea, I usually never install Silverlight and so when I go to a Microsoft video and it requires Silverlight I say darn and move on.

Not to mention the issues it created! Just trying to watch TV shows through xfinity was difficult whenever Silverlight was used, as half the time it would tell me my plugin was "out of date" when I've done a clean install of Silverlight numerous times.

All falls back to this stupid idea of utilizing third party plugins. We were getting tired of Flash as it was, why would we want another plugin introduced to bring us more headaches? ><

dead.cell said,
We were getting tired of Flash as it was, why would we want another plugin introduced to bring us more headaches? ><

It was a force of hand by Microsoft, making Adobe update Flash.

At the time Microsoft announced Silverlight, Flash was pretty much abandoned by Adobe. It didn't work very well, had no support for things such as hardware rendering and used to crash a lot. If that wasn't bad enough, security issues plagued the plugin and were simply brushed aside for the most part.

Microsoft may never have wanted to take over the world with Silver light, and indeed may have only wanted to push Adobe into updating it. Sadly, Adobe took so long updating Flash, that by the time Flash was on pair with what Silverlight was offering, Microsoft had already taken a strong foothold in a lot of sites that had tried to make the jump, including it's use in Netflix.
Flash's saving grace may have been Youtube's use of Flash.