Remember Microsoft’s Silverlight Flash competitor? Few people probably do (and Microsoft has long given up on it), but for the longest time, you needed Silverlight to watch Netflix in your Firefox browser on Windows. Starting today, however, you can watch Netflix in Firefox on Windows without having to install any plugins.
For now, this is only true for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows users using the latest version of Firefox, but both Netflix and Mozilla say support for OS X and Linux should arrive sometime next year.
For the longest time, Mozilla didn’t want to build DRM solutions into Firefox. Without those, Netflix couldn’t play its videos in an HTML5 player. Earlier this year, though, Mozilla decided to take the pragmatic approach and announced that it would work with Adobe and others to bring DRM-controlled content to its browser.
The latest versions of Firefox now ship with the HTML5 Premium Video Extensions. Thanks to these, Netflix can now adapt its video streams depending on the available bandwidth and still provide its content providers with the DRM protections they want. The company says it worked closely with Adobe to make Netflix work using Mozilla’s <video> tag using Adobe’s Primetime Content Decryption Module (CDM).
All of this, of course, means that Firefox now ships with a built-in DRM solution. You can still install a DRM-free version of Firefox, too, but given that Primetime CDM is now installed by default, chances are only the staunchest of DRM critics will bother doing so.
With this update, Netflix now supports HTML5 players on all major browsers, including Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Chrome.