Netflix’s streaming movie and TV service Watch Instantly has spent the past year irritating the red envelope crowd for not being compatible with Macs or Firefox.
Meanwhile, the Mac community founded more reasons to hate Microsoft when its Silverlight media player became the “official” Olympics online media delivery system, leaving Apple users to the leftovers on broadcast TV.
Here comes a break in the case: Silverlight now is streaming Watch Instantly movies to Macs — assuming they’re the newer-generation Intel-based machines. This move comes courtesy of the recent release of Silverlight 2 and Play Ready DRM, a digital rights management technology that allows the app to protect copyrighted content on any browser.
Mac users, of course, aren’t entirely thrilled because they would be downloading a Microsoft plug-in onto their computers. A non-Apple DRM with unknown potential issues isn’t exactly welcome, either.
Still, somewhere between here and the end of the year, Netflix expects to deliver its streaming content to subscribers with the Intel Macs. Some subscribers reportedly have the upgrade now. Both Safari and Firefox browsers can handle the job.
Netflix’s product unit chief Neil Hunt provided this bit of canned quotery in the Watch Instantly press release:
“Silverlight with Play Ready offers a powerful and secure toolkit for delivery of dynamic streaming, which offers faster start-up, and higher quality video, adapted in real time to users’ connection speeds, Members who enjoy watching movies and TV episodes … that can be instantly streamed at Netflix will be thrilled with this next generation improvement of access and quality, on a broader range of platforms, including Intel Macs and Firefox.”
Meanwhile, Samung agreed to provide Netflix movie streaming via some of its recent players, the BD-P2500 and P2550. Terrific. Now if Samsung can just get its players such as the notorious BD-P1200 to play major studio Blu-rays. Like, say, the highly anticipated new James Bond releases like “Dr. No.”
This means delivery options for Watch Instantly include some LG Blu-ray players, the Roku black box and, coming soon, the new Xbox 360 media delivery system.
Update: Jason Snell of Macworld.com reviews the Watch Instantly stream on a Mac, noting that the quality and quantity of the movies and TV shows has improved since the Starz deal. “Still, where Instant Watching shines is in its collection of documentaries, classic movies, and TV series.”
Also, Dan Frommer of Silicon Alley Insider weighed in. Bottom line: “The movie and TV streaming service from Netflix is “a good start and worth checking out if you’re a Netflix subscriber with a Mac.”