For the longest time, Chromebooks were denied the simple pleasure of streaming content from Netflix. This is because Netflix’ streaming service is powered by Microsoft’s Silverlight software, which is not available on Chrome OS. To get around this, Google worked with Netflix and Microsoft to get a version of Netflix running on at least one Chromebook.
Google announced today that Netflix is now available via HTML5 streaming on Samsung’s latest Chromebook. It’s a pretty big deal as this is the first time Netflix has moved off of Sliverlight. It’s also one of the first major video providers to use HTML5. YouTube has been beta testing HTML5 support for a year now, but Netflix may really push it to its limits.
Netflix users who also happen to own a Chromebook will be pleased to know that there are no hoops to jump through to start watching video content. In fact, it’s just as simple as watching Netflix on any Windows PC or Mac. All you have to do is head over to the Netflix Web site and start watching whatever content currently pleases your eye muscles.
Looking at the bigger picture, it doesn’t appear that Netflix will be free of Silverlight on other operating systems anytime soon. What this really means is that we start seeing Netflix appear on more operating systems that don’t support Silverlight – namely Linux. Native support for Netflix via HTML5 would be a huge win for the open source community. Let’s just hope Netflix can find a way to make it happen.