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With Google Chrome Switching Off Silverlight Support, Netflix Is Staring At A Potential Blackout


Silverlight set
Silverlight set to go off the boil on Chrome

An announcement coming in from Google is that it is set to switch off all NPAPI plugins in the Chrome browsers by the month of April. As a result, all major sites that make use of the Chrome Silverlight plugin are set to go off air- and that includes the likes of Netflix, the largest video-on-demand service provide in the world.

Updated news from Netflix: The Netflix service reported that they have made the switch to HTML5 video playback support for Chrome and are unlikely to be affected by the absence of the Netflix plugin. However, the support pages on the company website continue to state that Silverlight is used within the Chrome browser.

One could see this coming…

Last year, the search engine giants had said that they would be phasing out the NPAPI browser plugins. If the company claims are to be believed, these have a detrimental effect on the stability, security, and speed of the browser.

At present, Google has provisions for only six of the major plugins to automatically run in Chrome and that includes the likes of Google Talk, Java, and Microsoft Silverlight. However, when April 2015 rolls around, these six and all of the other NPAPI plugins will have a disabled tag hanging round their necks. The users will be required to deploy a workaround if they wish to continue with the usage of any of these plugins.

Absence of Silverlight will be a big blow to the developers

Out of all the plugins that remain, Silverlight ranks as the most popular of the lot. Its usage statistics for last month show that it was launched by as many as 11% of Net users on their websites. Netflix is perhaps the most popular of all users for this plugin which it makes best use of for providing the PCs with a video-on-demand service. However, the intention of the company to switch over to an HTML5 platform is a long-standing one. With Google deciding that it is time for the Silverlight support to be switched off, this transition is likely to gain a lot more impetus.

Little hope remains for Silverlight, now that Microsoft have distanced themselves

Even Microsoft, the company whose brainchild it was to develop the Silverlight framework, have distanced themselves from their own creation. They have failed to provide sufficient support in their latest Windows Phone versions while moving away to delivering content with the use of the HTML5 platform.

A temporary respite is on offer…

While plugin vendors are working really hard to find alternate technologies that they can make use of, there exists a small community of users who are still reliant on plugins that are yet to complete the transition. Google aims to provide an override function for enterprises and advanced users which will give them temporary reprieve with NPAPI plugins while they wait for the transition of the mission critical plug-ins to be completed.

However, this workaround will be effective only till September 2015. After that, for users and Silverlight developers who wish to continue working with the plugin technologies, the only option would be to make the switch to a different browser.

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