Netflix has long been making use of Microsoft’s Silverlight to stream its content on Windows and Mac OS machines. However, over the years, browser plug-in support has diminished. That may be the reason why the streaming service is now planning to switch to HTML5-based streaming.
One other reason why Netflix has decided to ditch Silverlight may be the fact that Microsoft will be abandoning support for the plug-in in 2021. Netflix, for its part, may simply be planning ahead and switching to a more reliable, long-term streaming solution which is already available in HTML5.
The company recounted the numerous disadvantages of using Silverlight while announcing its plans of moving to HTML5 streaming. According to Netflix’s director of engineering, Anthony Park and director of streaming standards, Mark Watson, “We’re interested to solve these problems as we move to our next generation of video playback on the Web.”
The duo further wrote in an official blog post, “Over the last year, we’ve been collaborating with other industry leaders on three W3C initiatives which are positioned to solve this problem of playing premium video content directly in the browser without the need for browser plug-ins such as Silverlight.”
However, Netflix will need to put in significant efforts while making the switch. Moreover, it will take a while before the switch is made. So for now, Netflix’s streaming will continue to be supported on Silverlight. We can expect that by the end of the year, the company may finally start the transition towards HTML5 streaming.