Monday, October 27, 2008

Netflix finally brings 'Watch Instantly' to Macs via Silverlight

In a move that is likely to cut into iTunes rentals, today Netflix announces they will finally offer streaming content to their Mac using subscribers.

Though, I wouldn’t boot up the old PowerPC just yet, in order to access Netflix streaming content you must be running an Intel-based Mac loaded up with Microsoft's Flash-type browser plug-in, Silverlight. On top of giving us "breakthrough navigation for fast-forward and rewind," Silverlight, will also maintain the content’s DRM via PlayReady, Microsoft’s content access and protection technology.

By now you may be thinking, “who wants all that evil Microsoft code on their Mac,” especially when you consider this feature is in limited release and is only being offered to newer subscribers, for now. Which, for those of us that have been waiting ages for this feature to be worked out for Mac, is mad disappointing.

I just subscribed to Netflix about two month ago and it definitely doesn’t work for me yet. On the other hand, I can hold off on that Netflix compatible Blu-ray deck, at least until my stock portfolio rebounds.

Press release in expanded article.


Based on Microsoft Silverlight, New Player Features Enhanced Dynamic Streaming, First-Time Use for Macs and

Breakthrough Navigation for Fast-Forward and Rewind

LOS GATOS, Calif., October 27, 2008 – Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), the world's largest online movie rental service, today announced it has begun the deployment of Microsoft Silverlight to enhance the instant watching component of the Netflix service and to allow subscribers for the first time to watch movies and TV episodes instantly on their Intel-based Apple Macintosh computers. The deployment, which will initially touch a small percentage of new Netflix subscribers, is the first step in an anticipated roll-out of the new platform to all Netflix subscribers by the end of the year.

Silverlight is designed for delivery of cross-platform, cross-browser media experiences inside a Web browser. It is expected that Netflix members who watch movies and TV episodes instantly on their computers will enjoy a faster, easier connection and a more robust viewing experience with Silverlight, due to the quality built directly into the player. Among the viewing enhancements with the new player is a breakthrough in timeline navigation that vastly improves the use of fast-forwarding and rewinding. The new Netflix player takes advantage of Play Ready DRM, which is built into Silverlight, for the playback of protected content on both Windows-based PCs and on Macs. That had not been possible with previous generation technologies.

"Silverlight with Play Ready offers a powerful and secure toolkit for delivery of dynamic streaming, which offers faster start-up, and higher quality video, adapted in real time to users' connection speeds," said Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt. "Members who enjoy watching movies and TV episodes from the growing library of choices that can be instantly streamed at Netflix will be thrilled with this next generation improvement of access and quality, on a broader range of platforms, including Intel Macs and Firefox."