If you're a Netflix subscriber and you use a Mac or PC for playback, then you may be aware that the service utilizes Microsoft's Silverlight plugin to bring you all that Breaking Bad and House of Cards goodness. But for a variety of reasons, Silverlight isn't the ideal video delivery method, and Netflix has started looking towards a bright, HTML5-based future.

There are two major problems with Silverlight. The first is that not all browsers support the plugin, with the most notable hold-outs being Safari on iOS and Internet Explororer in Metro mode on Windows 8. The second problem is the very fact that Silverlight is a plugin at all. Users have to install it, keep it up to date and due to security and privacy issues, may not actually want it on their machines at all. Microsoft also plans to stop developing the plugin by 2021, making the search for an alternative even more pressing.

Netflix has revealed its plans for the service, the first stage of which was the implementation of HTML5 streaming on the ARM-based Samsung Chromebook. In that instance, the company has used both Media Source Extensions (MSE) and Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) to allow JavaScript to generate media streams for playback, and to provide an API to control playback of protected content.

The company is looking to implement a Web Cryptography API (WebCrypto) that allows for the encryption and decryption of communications between JavaScript and Netflix servers. Once WebCrypto is ready, Netflix plans to implement a fully plugin-free service on the Chromebook, and will begin testing the HTML5 video player on Windows and OS X.

Netflix hasn't given a timeframe for the changes, stating only that the replacement needs to be in place before Silverlight's end of life in 2021. That said, the company's progress with Chromebook streaming is encouraging, and it's likely that we'll see HTML5-based Netflix before too long.

Source: Netflix