A while ago, Netflix decided to “go pro-Mac/Windows support” and allow their video streaming to be controlled by Microsoft’s Media Player, Silverlight, and threw their copies of Windows Media Player out of the window. The new Silverlight streamer allowed Windows Media Player movies to be streamed by Macs the world over, making quite a few people very happy. Bye bye Windows Media Player, thanks for all the memories.
But it’s not all jubilation and cheering in the Netflix offices today. The Silverlight Media Player has proved to be so powerful, reliable and efficient, that there is just no need for Netflix to employ their tech savvy team of experts anymore.
Netflix, who had a team of 75 technically endowed maintenance workers, will have to get rid of 50 of them, simply because no one using the new Silverlight software is having any problems.
Sky and ITV are another couple of video streaming websites that have jumped on the Silverlight bandwagon. They will be aiming at taking the iPlayer customers away from the BBC, hopefully providing faster and clearer video streaming.
Griff Parry, the director of On Demand at BskyB, is hailing the introduction of the Microsoft software, saying, “Microsoft Silverlight and PlayReady allowed us to build and launch this innovative service quickly, easily and in a package that provides consumers with even more flexibility in how they engage with Sky content.”
He went on to say, “As technologies that can reliably enable the rich delivery of high-quality protected content to both Windows-based PCs and Macs, the use of Silverlight and PlayReady was key in helping us provide our customers with more choice and control over their viewing.”
However, the Silverlight take over has been flagged to take over from DVD rentals by Silicon Alley Insider, who say, “It this as good as HD on-demand from your cable company? No. But it’s free if you subscribe to Netflix. Will this replace renting DVDs in the mail from Netflix if they’re available online, too? Maybe. Especially for movies that you aren’t watching for the visuals. Will this stop us from renting movies from iTunes if they’re available in both places? Probably — again, depending on the type of movie.”
Yet, although Netflix are releasing 50 members of the technical team, in what will be a pretty harsh Christmas for those leaving the group, they still seem pretty confident in the software, and why not. If it’s so good it can replace the old human touch, then surely it scores high in my books.
Neil Hunt, Netflix Chief Product Officer, said, “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. 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.”