While the majority of the world chose Adobe Flash, Microsoft’s own hosted videos use Silverlight. Besides smaller, one-off sites, the only other big user of Silverlight that I am aware of is Netflix.
Since Microsoft has announced an end-of-life for Silverlight 5 (of 2021) and have not announced a release for Silverlight 6, Netflix is forced to make plans to find an alternative platform for the future. The proposed candidate: HTML 5
Silverlight 5 does not even list Internet Explorer 10 as a compatible browser or Windows 8 as a compatible operating system on the system requirements document, so the move away from Silverlight was inevitable probably sooner rather than later. In a blog post to the Netflix Tech Blog, the progress to moving to HTML5 was discussed.
First, an explanation of the current browser plugin approach using Silverlight:
Silverlight is a browser plugin which allows our customers to simply click “Play” on the Netflix website and watch their favorite movies or TV shows, but browser plugins have a few disadvantages. First, customers need to install the browser plugin on their computer prior to streaming video. For some customers, Netflix might be the only service they use which requires the Silverlight browser plugin. Second, some view browser plugins as a security and privacy risk and choose not to install them or use tools to disable them. Third, not all browsers support plugins (eg: Safari on iOS, Internet Explorer in Metro mode on Windows 8), so the ability to use them across a wide range of devices and browsers is becoming increasingly limited.
These extensions bring greater functionality to HTML5 including what is needed for streaming premium subscription videos, like DRM and encryption.
Moving to an open standard like HTML 5 will allow services like Netflix to function on various hardware and software platforms like the Chromebook, Linux, and set top boxes as long as they are updated to support HTML 5 and the new extensions.
Netflix is ready to begin testing HTML5 video playback on Windows and OS X platforms according to the post.