Good news for folks tired of installing Microsoft Silverlight just so they can stream videos from Netflix: The company now has an HTML5 media player which works without any plugins.
Here’s the bad news (for now): While Netflix is rolling out its HTML5 player to another platform, you still have to jump through some hoops to install Silverlight if you want to watch Netflix on a computer running GNU/Linux.
Netflix now uses its HTML5 player to stream videos to the Safari web browser in OS X Yosemite. Sure, Yosemite won’t be available to the public for a while, but folks who’ve downloaded the developer preview can experience Netflix sans-plugins today.
Netflix already supports HTML5 streaming to Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 8.1, and the HTML5 player also works with Google Chrome OS.
One of the key factors in the decision to switch to an HTML5 player for the next version of OS X is that the next-gen version of the Safari web browser supports “premium video content,” which is another way of saying DRM, digital rights management, or copy protection.
In other words, you can’t easily use Safari to download and save videos streamed from Netflix… so Netflix won’t get any flak from its content partners for using HTML5 to stream videos to Mac users.
On the on hand, that means it could be a while before we see official Linux support for Netflix… on the other hand, Mozilla did recently announce plans to add support for DRM for better or worse. So maybe the wait for Netflix on Linux won’t be too long.