Netflix Backing HTML5, But Not Without DRM In Place

rated by 0 users
This post has 5 Replies | 0 Followers

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 26,687
Points 1,207,040
Joined: Sep 2007
News Posted: Tue, Apr 16 2013 1:40 PM

There's little doubt that HTML5 is going to have a huge impact on our Web-surfing, as it's far more capable than previous standards to the point where entire plugins can be replaced. Plugins such as Flash, Silverlight and perhaps even the ever-vulnerable Java. While the Web remains rich with Flash-based content, whether it be video, games, or advertisements, Silverlight's implementation is rather minimal. In my personal experience, the only time I've ever needed it was when trying to watch some sports online. For avid movie-viewers, Netflix has no doubt been the leading reason for an install.

The folks at Netflix understand this well, and it considers that to be a downside. As stated in the linked blog post: "First, customers need to install the browser plugin on their computer prior to streaming video. For some customers, Netflix might be the only service they use which requires the Silverlight browser plugin. Second, some view browser plugins as a security and privacy risk and choose not to install them or use tools to disable them. Third, not all browsers support plugins (eg: Safari on iOS, Internet Explorer in Metro mode on Windows 8), so the ability to use them across a wide range of devices and browsers is becoming increasingly limited."

What's not explicitly mentioned is that it's not just browser-support that's the problem, but OS support. Because Silverlight support under Linux is virtually non-existent, for example, users of that OS have had to resort to extreme work-arounds to access the service. With Netflix's discussion of moving to HTML5, though, that sort of cross-platform roadblock could disappear.

While HTML5 is an open format, that doesn't mean that companies like Netflix wouldn't be able to implement DRM. In this particular case, "EME", or Encrypted Media Extensions, will be used for the purpose. It's a W3C standard that allows a content delivery system to encrypt the video stream - perfect for Netflix's purposes.

Also in the blog post, Netflix mentions that it's been working with Google to support the HTML5 video extensions in Chrome and also Chrome OS for Chromebooks. The future looks good here, although as a Linux user I find it unfortunate that the company didn't even mention the OS - despite Chrome OS being based on Linux. Regardless, if a Web browser has full HTML5 support, especially with the required extensions, the OS should never be the issue. This will be interesting to see play out.

  • | Post Points: 50
Not Ranked
Posts 9
Points 135
Joined: Apr 2013

I hope they do switch to HTML5. I want to use Netflix on Linux.

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 27
Points 145
Joined: Mar 2013

It seems a lot of entertainment companies are heading in the direction of HTML5. The future is looking good.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 730
Points 5,865
Joined: Apr 2013
Location: Lewisville, TX
Clixxer replied on Tue, Apr 16 2013 4:31 PM

Its about time they looked towards switching since everyone else is. I didn't know that you could not use Netflix on linux due to this. I figured since they brought out their streaming service someone had made an easy workaround or Netflix would take the initiative just so they can reach more customers.

My rig - I7-4770K, ASUS Z87-A Mobo, 16 GB Corsair Ram, AMD 7990 GPU, CoolIT AiO Cooler, NZXT H630

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 619
Points 5,260
Joined: Dec 2011

Watch the DRM not be compatible.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 541
Points 4,525
Joined: Apr 2012
Location: Schertz, Texas
ajm531 replied on Wed, Apr 17 2013 1:08 AM

good job netflix. at least its good progress towards a better tomorrow(tomorrow)

  • | Post Points: 5
Page 1 of 1 (6 items) | RSS