Change is always tricky. Not many of us like it, it can be unsettling, and most of us would prefer things to stay just as they are. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be how life works.
The software that streams our films online is a case in point – it will soon be moving from Flash to a system called Silverlight.
Studios require robust anti-piracy measures
We’ve been asked to make this change by the Studios who provide us with the films in the first place, because they’re insisting – understandably – that we use robust security to protect their films from piracy, and they see the Silverlight software as more secure than Flash.
Simply put: without meeting their requirements, we’d suddenly have next-to-no films to stream online.
Just to be clear – this change doesn’t affect or apply to any of our streaming devices (PS3, iPad, internet TVs, etc); only PCs, laptops and Macs.
And very regrettably, Silverlight software is not supported on non-Intel Macs (those with an operating system of 10.5 or lower) or on computers using the Linux/UNIX operating systems. In fact, none of the solutions available to us allowed secure streaming to Linux users.
HTML 5 was considered, but video streaming via HTML 5 is an open-sourced solution that is still maturing, and there are simply no security protections available within HTML 5 that would allow us to stream content securely.
Silverlight offers the best combination of security, quality and customer experience from a small number of available solutions, and the majority of our customers already have Silverlight installed.
Here’s another reason: a better streaming experience
Silverlight contains a technology called Smooth Streaming, which automatically adjusts the quality of the video stream to the best level for your internet connection. This reduces buffering for customers on a low broadband speed, but then improves the streaming quality when broadband speed increases.
So what now?
Flash software will continue to run alongside Silverlight until the first week of January 2012, so that everyone has time to make the switch (by following the prompt on the LOVEFiLM website, when you click ‘Watch Now’ on a streaming title).
And we’ll continue to offer streaming across a wide range of platforms, DRM services, Players and application technologies – the service will constantly evolve these as new technologies enter the market and new services mature.
Paul Thompson, Streaming Project Manager