Windows PC owners have been able to enjoy Netflix's Watch Instantly movie and TV streaming service since January 2007. The service even significantly expanded the quantity and quality of its streaming content recently by partnering
with CBS Television Network, Disney-ABC Television Group, and Starz Entertainment. But Netflix customers who own Macs have been all but left out in the cold. The Netflix Watch Instantly service currently doesn't work on Macs. The only way a Mac user could use the service would be to use in on a Windows partition running Boot Camp. But this is all about to change, thanks to none other than Microsoft...
Fast-forward to earlier this month when Microsoft released Silverlight 2.0 with more advanced DRM, using Microsoft's own PlayReady DRM engine. With this key piece of technology in place, Netflix could now finally get the gears in motion to make its Mac users happier. As such, Netflix has just announced that it will be transitioning its Watch Instantly service over to the Silverlight 2.0 platform over the coming months, with the expectation that it will reach all Netflix subscribers by the end of this year. This means that all Netflix users who want to utilize the Watch Instantly service--on both Windows and Mac systems--will have to install the (free) Silverlight 2.0 plug-in once their subscription has transitioned over to the Silverlight platform.
This is obviously great news for Mac owners, but Windows PC users might be wondering why they should have to go through the hassle just to accommodate a small percentage of Netflix's customers. According to Netflix, the transition over to Silverlight is not just about the Mac. Netflix claims that Silverlight will provide: "a faster, easier connection and a more robust viewing experience
," as well as a number of "viewing enhancements
" including "a breakthrough in timeline navigation that vastly improves the use of fast-forwarding and rewinding
The only caveat for Mac owners is that Silverlight only works on Intel-based Macs. According to Netflix about 75-percent of its Mac user-base currently uses Intel-based Macs. The other 25 percent, who are still using older PowerPC-based Macs, will not be able to use the Watch Instantly streaming service. If you are a PowerPC-based Mac owner who is jonesing to take advantage of Netflix's Watch Instantly streaming service, perhaps now is a good time to upgrade to an Intel-based Mac