June 09, 2014

Netflix Gets rid of Silverlight on Macs

If there is one thing Over-the-Top (OTT) service providers would like to do away with, it is propriety applications. Companies like Netflix deliver their service online, and this means they need plugins such as Silverlight and others to stream their content to their customers. If a Netflix customer wants to see "Orange (NewsAlert) is the new black" and they don't have the right plugin, the only color they are going to see is red from the frustration of not being able to watch the program. However, the company has been integrating HTML5 so its customers can stream their favorite shows using just a browser. Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 8.1 went under the transformation last year, and now it is Apple (News Alert)'s turn.

Netflix and Apple have come together to make HTML5 available in Safari on OS X Yosemite beta, with full release slated for later this fall. With HTML5 Apple product owners can stream video without Silverlight or Flash while still protecting the content, which was one of the fundamental issues that delayed the adoption of this platform. Publishers can now be assured their content will be protected while it is being streamed with the addition of three components Apple has integrated in the extensions.

According to a blog on Netflix, these are the implementation Apple made:

  • Media Source (NewsAlert) Extensions (MSE) using an optimized video pipeline on OS X, which lets users watch Netflix in 1080p without monopolizing the device CPU or draining the battery. This allows up to 2 hours longer battery life on a MacBook Air streaming Netflix in 1080p.
  • The Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) which provides the content protection needed for premium video services like Netflix.
  • Web Cryptography API (WebCrypto) in Safari, which allows Netflix to encrypt and decrypt communication between its JavaScript application and servers.

With Internet Explorer and Safari aboard, the next target for Netflix is Google (News Alert) Chrome. Having these APIs on all browsers will introduce a new standard in which creators, developers and service providers can use one single platform to deliver their content without any compatibility issue. Let's hope all other applications get adopted this efficiently so we can watch what we want when we want.


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