Oh the irony
Netflix has finally began rolling out a version of its video streaming service for Mac users, and it comes courtesy of Microsoft. Although only available initially to “a small percentage of new Netflix subscribers”, with a full roll-out anticipated by the end of the year, the new PC-based version of the company’s ‘Watch Now’ service is powered by Microsoft’s Flash competitor Silverlight, a technology that crucially includes its own cross-platform ‘studio approved’ DRM solution, thus enabling Netflix to support both Windows-based PCs and now those running MacOS (Intel only).
Along with adding Mac support, Netflix says the adoption of Silverlight delivers a number of usability improvements too, including “a faster, easier connection” and “a breakthrough in timeline navigation that vastly improves the use of fast-forwarding and rewinding.” Yes you read that right, fast-forwarding and rewinding. Who said the revolution wouldn’t be televised?
In the future, it’s very possible that Neflix’s use of Silverlight could see its streaming service reach even more devices beyond PCs and set-top boxes currectly supported. In particular I’m thinking of mobile phones and Internet tablets from Nokia. The Finnish handset maker has already announced that it plans to support Silverlight on future handsets, starting with those powered by S60, with S40 and Maemo devices to follow. And from a marketing perspective, a partnership with Netflix would make a lot of sense as it would surely help the company shift more handsets in the US. In this regard, Nokia has previous form too. The company’s flagship smartphone, the N96, is in part being sold in the UK based on its support for the BBC’s iPlayer service.