Netflix uses Silverlight to support Mac, Linux

October 28, 2008 | 09:09

Tags: #digital-restrictions-management #digital-rights-management #drm #mac #playready #streaming #windows #windows-media #windows-media-player #wmp #wmv

Companies: #netflix

If you've been waiting for Microsoft's Silverlight to get a big marketplace win before considering it as a serious contender to Adobe's Flash, it might be time to take a second look at the technology.

According to BetaNews, web-based video streaming outfit Netflix is to use Microsoft's rich-media Silverlight system to allow users without access to Windows Media Player 11 – previously required due to the DRM used on the videos available through the service – to stream paid-for video content. The really good news for the service is that as well as extending the reach to customers without Windows Media Player, Silverlight allows the company to reach customers without Windows – the company is concentrating on fully supporting the Mac OS X platform and hopefully Linux-based systems too.

The fact that they are able to do such a thing stems from Microsoft's Silverlight including the PlayReady DRM system that is used to protect content in Windows Media Player 11. Unlike Windows Media Player, the DRM built in to Silverlight doesn't care what the host operating system is – so Netflix are able to bring streaming content to non-Microsoft operating systems so long as Silverlight is used as the streaming system.

While the move is likely to appease both customers wanting to access their paid-for content on non-Windows boxes and the film studios who insist that their intellectual property must be wrapped up in layer after layer of DRM – Netflix has previously stated that Mac support would come only after “a studio-approved DRM solution for the Mac is available” - the fact remains that none of this would be an issue if it weren't for the reliance on DRM technologies.

If you're a Netflix subscriber hoping to get your films on a Mac or Linux box – or a Mac or Linux user thinking about subscribing – the rollout of the new Silverlight player is expected to finish by the end of this year.

Tempted by Netflix's service now you're not tied to Windows, or will it be a cold day in hell before you inflict Microsoft's Silverlight on your precious Mac? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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