Netflix Plan Silverlight Departure In Favor Of HTML5

Following in the footsteps of Adobe, streaming giants Netflix have announced that they are making a change to their video delivery providers, dropping Microsoft’s ‘Silverlight’ platform in favor of the HTML5 video ‘no plug-in’ concept.

html5_logo_blueFollowing on from becoming compatible with Samsung Chromebooks due to such a switch, Netflix have announced that they intend to break their ties with Microsoft Silverlight across all systems 8 years earlier than anticipated.

The Silverlight plug-in had been used to deliver the video streams of Netflix to its subscribers on web browsers, but it appears now as though the anticipated ‘end of support’ announced by the company for the year 2021 will be brought forward as they experiment with newer methods.

It is claimed by Netflix representatives that the use of plug-ins does not operate well when run on mobile browsers (seen as possibly as an area of primary interest in the future by some), whilst also being seen as a hindrance for some users, with the changes also being fueled by the belief that Microsoft might not be creating a new edition of Silverlight past its current release.

It is believed that the use of HTML5 video, a technology which integrates itself more into the actual web pages as a ‘Premium Video Extensions’, will pose Netflix with three different methods of delivery that could be experimented with prior to actual release online.

Such approaches include enabling ‘DRM encryption‘ (seen as an important feature for a subscription-exclusive platform), an extension enabling the service to deliver streams via JavaScript, and one which is dubbed a ‘cryptography extension’ that would enhance security between their ‘JavaScript code’ and servers. It is believed that the first two features are currently in operation on the Chrome operating system version of Netflix, but that once the cryptography system is completed, Netflix will be able to use Google’s platform as a means of testing HTML5 video towards a wider audience, with a view towards making it their sole method of video delivery as soon as possible.

Netflix representatives Anthony Park and Mark Watson summarised of the planned changes in an official blog post: “We currently use Microsoft Silverlight to deliver streaming video to web browsers on the PC and Mac.  It provides a high-quality streaming experience and lets us easily experiment with improvements to our adaptive streaming algorithms.  But since Microsoft announced the end of life of Silverlight 5 in 2021, we need to find a replacement some time within the next 8 years.

“…We’re excited about the future of premium video playback on the web, and we look forward to the day that these Premium Video Extensions are implemented in all browsers!”


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