Netflix (NFLX) continues to improve its “Watch Instantly” movie/TV show streaming service, free for its nearly 9 million subscribers.
The latest version — the first that will work on Apple (AAPL) Mac computers — uses Microsoft’s (MSFT) Silverlight video/animation plugin. Silverlight is a relative newcomer designed to take on Adobe’s (ADBE) Flash, which dominates the Web video market. And Silverlight has been winning (and buying itself) some big deals, such as NBC’s Olympics video this past summer and Major League Baseball’s MLB.TV live streaming service. From Netflix:
NETFLIX BEGINS ROLL-OUT OF 2ND GENERATION
MEDIA PLAYER FOR INSTANT STREAMING
ON WINDOWS PCs AND INTEL MACS
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 PlayReady 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 PlayReady 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.”
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