Silverlight Will Not Work In Chrome So What Next?
Giving viewers a better experience
Films and episodic television content delivered over an IP would have been seemingly impossible but for Digital Rights Management (DRM). When implemented in the correct manner, it is invisible to the viewers and provides a seamless user experience.
Google Chrome and Silverlight
The Silverlight browser plugin has served as an enabler that gives secure content access to Internet users. While the low penetration rate often prompted users to perform additional installations or step upgrades, the reward of getting across to content of the highest quality was worth the modifications.
Google is now looking to reduce the number of plugins in its Chrome browser. This transition began back in September 2013 with an announcement from the Google Chrome team that NPAPI was fast recording a depreciation. This is the interface used by all Chrome browser plugins and that includes the likes of Silverlight. Flash Player, on the other hand, has not been affected thanks to the fact that it is embedded into the Chrome browser within a secure sandbox environment. It also makes use of the Pepper interface, is auto-updated and largely protected by the browser itself.
This suggests that by the end of 2014, Chrome browser will stop supporting the Silverlight plugin. This represents roughly 45% of audience, as per statistical data on browser usage released in June 2014. On the other hand, OSX is moving ahead to a 64-bit version upgrade for Chrome and will do away with the support for all 32-bit plugins.
While Silverlight has a 64-bit version in place for Windows, there is no equivalent in place for OSX. Thus, the 64-bit Chrome users on Mac systems will not be granted any access to content that is protected by Silverlight. Moreover, the Silverlight-enabled premium contents will also not work on some of the configurations of the Chrome browser. This is likely to happen long before the Silverlight plugin support for Chrome officially comes to an end by the turn of the year.
Content migration, the path towards salvation
Given the expected changes that are soon to be implemented, a suboptimal viewer experience is likely to arise. Thus, the Silverlight-based players are required to migrate to a new technology platform in order to ensure complete protection for their website content.
A number of paths exist for enabling DRM protection to the users so that they can better handle life in the post-Silverlight world. Let us take a look at them in greater detail.
Switch over to an HTML5-based DRM solution for all the browsers. At present, this will require licensing different DRM solutions on every browser. On Mozilla Firefox, for example, Adobe Primetime DRM is the prevalent HTML5 DRM technology.
Make the switch to Adobe Primetime in order to enable better DRM protection. Use only a single solution across all OTT devices, gaming consoles, mobile and browser platforms. Using a Flash Player will allow you to cover DRM for the various desktop browsers.
Deploy a hybrid model that implements a mix of Silverlight and Flash for specific browsers and HTML5 DRM for the remaining. A possible choice would be the use of Primetime DRM HTML5 for Firefox, and Primetime DRM along with Flash Player for all remaining browsers.
With multiple DRMs giving rise to complexity in infrastructure and licensing, Adobe Primetime DRM is regarded as the only solution that provides a single DRM environment for use on the desktop. Moreover, this DRM can be used for OTT devices, mobile platforms and gaming consoles, thus providing a simple workflow with regards to content protection.
The use of Silverlight is definitely on the decline with the plugin fast expected to make way for bigger and better things. Thankfully, a number of options exist in the market that will provide smooth transition for the users. Nevertheless, a migration is necessary and this is the time to take action.