Originally Posted by Brian Conrad
Then why do you need to have Silverlight installed to run Netflix? I know that you can use the codec and that MP4 is optional but but not available with their free version of Expression, just VC1. And of course I know that you can just use the codec and called it from your own software and probably wrap it anyway you want for DRM.
You need Silverlight
for the Netflix web player like you need Flash for some other web sites (Silverlight does a similar huge
bunch of stuff)--it's got nothing specifically to do with the video streaming, just the UI around the player window. I don't doubt that they use the Silverlight API to actually play the chunks of video and audio that the player receives from their servers, but they get those chunks using software that they developed themselves. They could have used IIS Smooth Streaming through Silverlight, but they don't. Netflix has said that they use their own proprietary stuff and Microsoft has said that Netflix uses their own proprietary stuff.
In any case, I don't think that there are any embedded versions of Silverlight--just Silverlight for Windows and Macs and an open source version for Unix called Moonlight. Therefore, it wouldn't be available on the many dozens of embedded platforms which have Netflix players. (Of course, the client-side component of IIS Smooth Streaming is portable so it could be used if they wanted to, but they don't).Here
's a very
technical academic paper comparing three ABS technologies, Microsoft's IIS Smooth Streaming, Netflix's and some open source thing called OSMF. It discusses the differences in Netflix's version of adaptive bit rate streaming as compared to MS' IIS Smooth Streaming.