Netflix’s developers have officially announced their intentions to switch the service’s playback interface from Microsoft Silverlight to HTML5. The announcement came shortly after Microsoft revealed that support for Silverlight 5 will stop in 2021, giving the media-based company no choice but to find an alternative.
One other reason behind the move is the fact that Silverlight is a browser plugin – something that most mobile browsers aren’t well-equipped for. Some browsers even view plugins as a security risk, posing an issue when they choose to not install them or use tools to disable them. Safari on iOS and Internet Explorer in Modern mode, for instance, both generally have trouble with browser plugins.
Although Netflix’s decision is to utilize HTML5 video, the relative youth of the technology presents a problem. Further development on HTML5 video must be completed in order for it to be successfully used by Netflix. In an effort to find a solution, Netflix has been collaborating with other industry leaders on the development of three W3C initiatives that will incorporate premium video content via HTML5.
According to Netflix, the first two extensions have already been implemented into Chrome OS, but the third temporarily has Netflix’s own custom plugin in its place.
HTML5 is a new and exciting technology, and Netflix is dead-set on improving it. Do you believe that the company is going in the right direction? Do you think stepping away from Silverlight is a good decision?