Netflix shrugs off Microsoft Silverlight

Microsoft’s best Silverlight customer has given up on the technology and moved to HTML5 video.

Netflix has been using Silverlight’s “high-quality streaming experience” for its “Watch Instantly” service.

However Microsoft itself has lost interest in Silverlight and is looking for other shiny objects to play with. It announced that it was pulling the plug on Silverlight in 2021 and gave companies that use the video technology a decade to gravitate to an alternative.

Netflix has now announced  that in light of Microsoft’s announcement, it will be switching to HTML5 video.

This means that Netflix will no longer have a lot of the problems of video plugins and browsers that don’t support them. Nor will it have to worry about the security risks of using plug-ins.

HTML5 means that Netflix can set up a service to watch instant video on a wider range of devices and browsers.

According to the company, Netflix is waiting to make the switch on what it calls three “premium video extensions”: Media Source Extensions, Encrypted Media Extensions, and Web Cryptography API.

At the moment it is still trying to work out how to deliver video in the absence of a plugin like Silverlight.

The first plan is to push out the service for the the SamsungARM-based Chromebook, which takes advantage of the Media Source Extensions and Encrypted Media Extensions in Chrome.

Since the Web Cryptography API isn’t in use on the Chromebook yet, it will use Netflix’s own Pepper Plugin API. The PPAPI plugin will be swapped out with WebCrypto when it is available via Chrome.

When this happens Netflix will start testing HTML5 video on OS X and Windows.