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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 What Is Microsoft Silverlight? [Geeks Weigh In] What Is Microsoft Silverlight? [Geeks Weigh In] Read More 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.

Known collectively as the “HTML5 Premium Video Extensions”, these will include an extension that allows content delivery via JavaScript, one that incorporates DRM encryption, and another cryptography extension that secures communication between the JavaScript code and Netflix’s servers.

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?

Source: Netflix Techblog via The Verge

  1. Anon
    May 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Silverlight is a complete piece of garbage. Any company that chooses to leverage the joke known as "Silverlight" must have some pretty uniformed management. Thank god Netflix intends to dump it.

  2. Wes
    April 22, 2013 at 2:20 am

    Netflix is definitely making the right move here. HTML 5 is more widely accepted and implemented across devices than Silverlight. This should broaden their base and make them more money.

  3. null
    April 21, 2013 at 3:30 am

    I would like to know where else I can find HTML5 streams.

  4. Gregg R
    April 17, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    HTML5 is a great solution, both for the iOS users, and the linux community, which just keeps getting better.

  5. Aleksandra H
    April 17, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    great, it will be possible to watch Netflix on Linux, too

    • Robert4
      April 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      This is exactly what I was thinking. I had to drop my Netflix streaming account when I switched to Linux. The current Silverlight/Netflix workaround(s) for Linux sound too technical, and too clunky, for me to even attempt on my lower-end PC.

      Netflix-HTML5 can't arrive soon enough for me!

      So yes, Netflix-HTML5 is definitely the right direction in my opinion!

      • bob
        April 17, 2013 at 8:01 pm

        This is too technical?

        sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio
        sudo apt-get update
        sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop

        • Robert4
          April 18, 2013 at 2:47 am

          I just wanted to thank you for the heads up. Wow, they really made it easy now!

          I went ahead and installed the "Netflix-desktop" app for Ubuntu, even though I was skeptical it would work on my low-end P4 3.1Ghz (single core) system. I even re-signed up for Netflix streaming!

          Well, that was a risk, but the end result was that I spent the last two hours watching "Dallas (2012)" on my Ubuntu desktop system! IT WORKS!

          It IS a bit clunky, though, but after i figured out how to navigate the Netflix app, it works well enough to be quite watchable. I had to use the lowest (but still good) streaming bitrate, and there are still occasional dropped frames, but all-in-all the playback is generally smooth and surprisingly pleasant. I'm quite happy, and SHOCKED, that it works this well!

        • Steve G
          April 18, 2013 at 2:53 am

          Works great with Linux Mint 14 too.

        • RandomGuy
          April 18, 2013 at 11:12 pm

          Was using that, worked for two days, now it prompts for a Silverlight update and refuses to proceed past that. Installing the update just makes it play audio with no video.

          Was a nice fix while it lasted, hopefully they patch it soon.

        • lone eagle
          April 19, 2013 at 6:27 am

          there is a fix for silverlight problem on linux i use it too as a back up i use a virtual box with xp

      • bob
        April 17, 2013 at 8:02 pm

        I am assuming that you are running ubuntu if not make the switch for netflix ;-)

        • notlurking
          April 17, 2013 at 9:27 pm

          Agree not difficult at all, I've been watching Netflix on Ubuntu and Fuduntu with no problem at all.

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