Advanced Television

Netflix updates on HTML5 video

March 23, 2017

By Colin Mann

Describing it as “a huge milestone”, Netflix has confirmed in its Tech Blog that users of Firefox can now also enjoy Netflix on Linux. The move is part of the streaming service’s plans, announced some four years ago, to play premium video in HTML5, replacing Silverlight and eliminating the extra step of installing and updating browser plug-ins.

“Since then, we have launched HTML5 video on Chrome OS, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, Firefox, and Edge on all supported operating systems. And though we do not officially support Linux, Chrome playback has worked on that platform since late 2014. Starting today, users of Firefox can also enjoy Netflix on Linux. This marks a huge milestone for us and our partners, including Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Mozilla that helped make it possible,” says Netflix.

“But this is just the beginning. We launched 4K Ultra HD on Microsoft Edge in December of 2016, and look forward to high-resolution video being available on more platforms soon. We are also looking ahead to HDR video. Netflix-supported TVs with Chromecast built-in—which use a version of our web player—already support Dolby Vision and HDR10. And we are working with our partners to provide similar support on other platforms over time,” it confirms.

Netflix adoption of HTML5 has resulted in the service contributing to a number of related industry standards including:

  • MPEG-DASH, which describes its streaming file formats, including fragmented MP4 and common encryption.
  • WebCrypto, which protects user data from inspection or tampering and allows Netflix to provide its subscription video service on the web.
  • Media Source Extensions (MSE), which enable its web application to dynamically manage the playback session in response to ever-changing network conditions.
  • Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), which enables playback of protected content, and hardware-acceleration on capable platforms.

Netflix confirmed that it intends to remain active participants in these and other standards over time. This includes areas that are just beginning to formulate, such as the handling of HDR images and graphics in CSS being discussed in the ‘Color on the Web’ community group.

“Our excitement about HTML5 video has remained strong over the past four years. Plugin-free playback that works seamlessly on all major platforms helps us deliver compelling experiences no matter how you choose to watch. This is apparent when you venture through Stranger Things in hardware-accelerated HD on Safari, or become transfixed by The Crown in Ultra HD on Edge. And eventually, you will be able to delight in the darkest details of Marvel’s Daredevil in stunning High Dynamic Range,” it advises.

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