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back to article Lovefilm dumps Flash, BLINDS Linux fans with Silverlight

Lovefilm has sensationally ditched Flash in favour of Microsoft's Silverlight technology, in a move that snubs Linux users and appeases film studios. The Amazon-owned company revealed yesterday that it had effectively been strong-armed by the movie industry into agreeing to dump the Flash software it had been using to stream …

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Why??

I was under the impression Silverlight had been dumped around the same time flash for mobiles was dumped, both companies in effect agreeing HTML 5 was the way forward.

I don't think Silverlight works on Android devices properly at the moment, so those who enjoyed watching LoveFilm on their tablets will be disappointed now.

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Silverlight hasn't been dumped.

The desktop and web versions will not evolve further. Silverlight will however, continue to evolve on Windows Phone. Support for the desktop/web version will come to an end - I haven't seen a roadmap for that, but I suspect it'll be the usual 5 years or so.

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Why? because Microsoft probably implements some sort of security or DRM that stops people streaming the video straight to the hard disk using 3rd party tools.

People have moaned about Apple and others selling DRM-laden media but this shows that it's often the choice between selling something or nothing at all. The media companies are leaning on the vendors and streamers to secure the media.

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Anonymous Coward

I use Linux so this will mean that I can no longer use the service any more. Not to worry. Just tell the studios that if they wont let me pay for and watch films legally then I’ll pirate them instead. I get the added benefit of keeping a copy to send to my friends as well, plus it wont cost me anything.

So all in all I’m happy with this new arrangement.

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Devil

I'd pay if it was worth it.

It's ironic isn't it.

If I want a film that will play on any device, doesn't have un-skippable adverts and warning, I can keep for evermore and get almost instantly without leaving my house, then downloading a pre ripped copy is my only option.

You'd think in any viable business model the legitimate version would be the one that offered the customer the best all round experience

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legitimate version

You could turn that around:

You'd think in any viable business model the version that offers the customer the best all round experience will be the de-facto legitimate version.

It's what will happen.

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Anonymous Coward

Typical Linux user

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Thumb Up

Wow - time travel *is* possible

You could almost have pulled an article from the 80s and simply substituted "Flash" for "Betamax" and "Silverlight" for VHS ...

I have this rather ludicrous picture of older marketing execs digging through drawers, attics and closets, and pulling out gas masks and tinned rations, telling their young proteges how the survived the "first format wars" .....

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Um...

...you DID read the bit about the strong rumours that MS may be about to dump Silverlight, didn't you?

Perhaps a better analogy than Betamax and VHS, might be vinyl and analogue cassette...?

[why don't we have a "blue touchpaper" icon here, Reg folk?]

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Mushroom

Yes

I did. But the whole point of "format wars", was that it was eventually decided *not* by the techincal merits of the combatants (Betamax is superior to VHS, in quality). It was decided by the VHS consortium snuggling up to the content providers, and negotiating exclusive distribution rights on VHS. Remember the ever shrinking "Betamax" section of your local video store ?

In this case, the relative merits of HTML5/Sliverlight/Flash are irrelevant to the outcome.

Anyway, I wouldn't put it past M$ to suddenly revisit their decision to scrap Silverlight, now theres a commercial demand for it.

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It's about time we were allowed to just buy a licence to watch a film indefinitely or for a finite period of time. You would register this at the film company and then they would provide a copy of the film in your chosen format for a nominal admin fee.

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Anonymous Coward

No V2000

No they moved from Betamax to V2000. Better technology but too late, little take-up and dead on arrival.

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Quality had sod all to do with it....

....as Betamax lost out on 2 things.

A 3 hour blank VHS tape was an E-180, a Betamax 3h 35 min tape was an L-830 meaning that when purchasing the VHS number was easier to understand.

VHS tapes had two windows making it easier to quickly estimate if you had enough on the tape to get another hour of recording onto the tape. Betamax with it's one window and occasional tiny marks on it made that all but impossible for the average user.

As for the change, as a retailer if all of your suppliers say 'make this change or no more stock for you' the choice is simple, make the change or go out of business. For the linux boys, if open source is your thing then get your old action figures out, use your phone camera and lightworksbeta and make your own versions of the popular hits of today. Actually ...... sod you guys, I might just do that myself :D

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Its coming..

Theres a new standard with a silly name that will allow such thing, cant remember whats called but its coming.

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Vic
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> Betamax lost out on 2 things.

Nope. Betamax lost out because it was a lot easier to get porn on VHS.

Vic.

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Happy

Be kind, rewind

you mean you're gonna Swede it ?

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Anonymous Coward

Upset Users

Should use Windows then shouldn't you?

;-)

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Anonymous Coward

OK, I'll just use Windows then. It can go in my password protected encrypted pirating partition, and run in a Virtualbox. What was that website called... TPB something...

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Anonymous Coward

You offering...

...to buy us all a copy? :-P

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Meh

Upset-

Not desperate.

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The film and music industry still wont get it when it's written on their tombstones.

"It" being "modern technology".

Silverlight is dying soon - great platform choice, retards. (Not mention obvious MS-based, limited userbase fail)

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Wikipedia says...

Wikipedia says that Windows has 87% market share at the moment,

So if there are 2000000 love film users that means that 1740000 of them are running windows some of the remainder will be using PS3 etc and the rest running Linux/Mac.

Now remember that Love Film is a business, it exists to make money.

Is the best way to do this to devote a huge amount of resource on developing HTML5 (esp given that others are activly doing this)?

No.

Is the best way to do this to stick with flash and end up with no content to stream?

No.

Is the best way to move to the next best technology which is available and will work for 87% of your users...

Probably.

The fact is that MS have not said either way that they are scrapping SL, from what I have read it is supported in Win8 so will need to be supported until it comes to the end of its life (so at least 5 years) that give LF some time to play with a long term strategy for content delivery, whilst maintaining some content in the mean time.

I guess that Netfix etc are being given the same deal by the Content Providers, It will be interesting to see how they react.

Finally, What happened to moonlight?

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Devil

Twisted Lemming Logic...

No. The logical thing for a "business" person to do is NOTHING.

NOTHING does not require investing any extra money.

No. They "business" person will like the status quo. They might consider hedging against future changes but they will not blow a lot of money to screw over ANY portion of their user base. All money is good money. Someone that's actually in business tends not to just flush it for no good reason.

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.. true, with the exception of when they are forced.

Given the option to change and loose a small percentage of their customers or stay with flash and loose most content and thus the most custom they would do a cost benefit analysis and decide on the better option.

Of course the best option is to do nothing... Until you are forced, as they have been.

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Linux

Yeah Humpty was pushed...

...but I mainly object to the absurd idea that anyone that's in business for themselves will turn down someone's money. It doesn't matter if they're just a small part of the market, you just don't turn them away. You may not go chasing them, but you're not going to chase them away either.

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FAIL

How long until it gets hacked?

In the same way that Get_iPlayer gets the for-iPhone DRM-free version of the BBC's iPlayer, I don't doubt that the same think will happen to LOVE FiLM. Someone will work out how to emulate the iPad or other non-Silverlight device and LOVEFiLM will actually make the security worse by going to Silverlight.

Talk about short-sighted.

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That hasn't happened to Netflix yet, at least not to my knowledge, and they use Silverlight also.

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Anonymous Coward

get_iplayer hasn't got the for-iPhone streams for a while now (the radio streams have been discontinued, so I hear). It pretends to be a Flash-enabled web browser.

And of course, the other streams aren't actually effectively protected. "Here is an obfuscated video stream" says the server, "and here's the key to de-obfuscate it".

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Anonymous Coward

Who cares

Nobody - I know at least - bothers with ripping from sources like this. By the time most movies even make it to the likes of Netflix the movie is already for sale in the stores for a week or two... and is usually out for download (so I hear) at least a week or two before that.

Don't get me wrong, I would like (really, really like) for my Netflix to work with Linux. I'd rather not have to rebuild my daughter's laptop to windows just for this reason when it works perfectly well otherwise.

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Moonlight?

Wouldn't that work?

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No. Lovefilm have already confirmed that because of DRM issues they cannot/will not support Moonlight.

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Flame

Moonlight is vapourware peddled by that MS stooge de Icaza. It will never, ever get to the point where it is a suitable replacement for Silverlight in the scenarios where Silverlight is actually used, since the DRM components will never be ported.

The real answer is to use open standards to deliver open content. The user is already bloody paying for it, allow them to access the data with a subscription, screw the DRM.

The purpose of the DRM is to stop you copying the movie stream and redistributing it. However:

Films on Lovefilm aren't available before they are released on DVD/Bluray

Films streamed from Lovefilm are not high bitrate

Content that is available for sale on BD is available 'in all the usual places'

So why would I use my shitty, low bitrate stream as a source to release from, when there is already lovely BD rips of the same content everywhere you look? By putting frankly stupid illogical barriers in front of end users, you are practically encouraging them to go elsewhere for their needs. It's the modern day equivalent of sticking unskippable trailers and calling your customers thieves before watching a DVD.

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Just like upsampled DVD

They require the use of HDMI (no component allowed) on up sampled DVD players. What moron would copy the analog component out put in real time when they can just rip the DVD in a few minutes? They just don't think about things in the real world. They double lock the front door while the back door is broken and hanging off it's hinges.

They make life difficult for anyone who wants to pay them while making the bootleg copy even more attractive. Bunch of rejects.

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And hypothetically

considering that LoveFilm are still in the spinning silver frisbee rental business - indeed someone I know gets an impressive pile of DVDs from LoveFilm every week - it's not impossible that at least some of their customers are ripping the contents of said silver frisbees to hard disks or other media.

So - hypothetically again - the idea that someone somewhere might care enough to install a live Flash ripper to copy content makes as much sense as expecting Steve Ballmer to become President for Life of The International Chair Protection League.

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FAIL

Unfortunate, but it's not really Loveflims fault.

Blame Flash/Adobe

Blame the Movie studios pressuring them.

Blame Netflix.

I'm guessing they don't want to be moving to a soon-to-be-axed Silverlight platform either, but their hand is being forced. If they want to compete with Netflix with regards to streaming content, then don't have any choice.

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"Blame Flash/Adobe"

No, their only problem is that there's no DRM built into Flash. That's a Good Thing, really, and one of the reasons that Flash is better for consumers than Silverlight.

"Blame the Movie studios pressuring them."

Yes, absolutely. The moronic movie studios are so concerned about piracy that they're stupidly chasing away legitimate customers to prevent it. This move will result in an increase in piracy, as the first AC has already pointed out.

"Blame Netflix."

You do realize that Netflix was forced to make this same move several years ago, right? You can't watch Netflix on Linux or antique PPC based Macs either, and an Android it only works because there's an app for it.

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Not a Problem

Their streaming selection is rubbish anyway.

Hopefully all these issues will be fixed soon as Netflix is coming to the UK.

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Anonymous Coward

Please understand

Content selection aside... Netflix uses Silverlight too, so they have the same issue with Linux desktops and laptops.

What they do have that LoveFilms apparently does not, is an Android app.

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Anonymous Coward

Crazy idea

The movie industry honestly believes that making it harder for it's honest, paying law abiding customers that have chosen to go down the legal movie streaming route is a good idea?

It makes illegal movie downloads one of the only options left.

It would be great if the movie companies had backed up the decision by showing how many pirate films on torrent sites were only available as rips off a pirated Lovefilm stream rather than a cinema capture, DVD rip or leak. I am guessing it would be zero.

in fact an awful lot of pirated movies in Asia have the words scrolling across the screen every so often that say "For award nomination purposes only, not for public release" or similar - maybe they should stop sending out DVDs for award nominations instead - it will definitely do more to guard against piracy.

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Facepalm

Shades of the FBI warning on CDs

That big FBI seal and ominous words to the effect "don't you dare pirate this CD!"

Never mind that the only people who see it are the paying customers who actually bought the CD. Talk about insulting one's customers!

WRT Lovefilm dumping flash and thereby shutting out Linux users. Yes, Linux users may only make up a percent or two of their customer base, but in these hard economic times can any business afford to throw away a percent or two of their established customers?

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Vic
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> in these hard economic times can any business afford to throw away a percent

> or two of their established customers?

But if they don't make the change, they throw away 100% of their established customers...

This is a sad state of affairs, but it's the content providers that are forcing it. I hope they end up ruing this decision.

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

Not so crazy...

"The movie industry honestly believes that making it harder for it's honest, paying law abiding customers that have chosen to go down the legal movie streaming route is a good idea?"

Honest, law-abiding customers don't use Linux, thieving freetards who won't pay for the fruits of someone else's labour do. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

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Trollface

Ha ha.

No brainer.

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Anonymous Coward

Painful memories?

Spot the incompetent retard that once "tried Linux", completely failed to find the Internet Explorer icon and gave up in a tearful rage...

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Anonymous Coward

does this mean they'll finally get a half decent collection of movies to stream and better quality feeds?

As an aside, bit silly for the movie types (whose number one skill is shooting themselves in the foot with a rocket launcher) to insist on more security from a company that sends out dvds and blurays which are easily ripped to various other more useful formats. 1080 flac 5.1 10bit mkv's anybody?

If I wanted to steal the stream I'd download it from one of the many sites that one can download such things from and save myself the money and the eternal dissappointment that is LoveFilms streaming service.

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"Simply put: without meeting their requirements, we’d suddenly have next-to-no films to stream online."

When I gave them a trial a few weeks ago, they already had next-to-no films to stream. Cancelled the trial the same day.

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confused

Isn't LoveFilm part of Amazon? Amazon Prime is still Flash for PC & Mac so why has LoveFIlm had to switch? Unless this is a testing ground in a smaller market for something they're going to do stateside later?

NB. Assuming Amazon ever want to sell the Kindle Fire in the UK/Europe, they'll have to have an Android version of LoveFilm anyway.

All seems a bit odd overall (having said that, if you're a PC user, Silverlight is a nicer experience than Flash, I use it for SkyGo and the quality is excellent).

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Anonymous Coward

Here's how you can tell it's bullshit.

"HTML 5 was considered"

They were told that Piracy / DRM / Whatever was a massive issue and considered HTML5?

No.

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FAIL

Nope, no way

I've never been particularly happy with LoveFilm as a streaming service. Mainly due to movie availability, quality of the interface, etc.

However, until now, I've always wanted them to succeed.

But moving from something doomed but ubiquitous to something that's doomed and nowhere, well, screw them, we're cancelling. It's just easier to torrent the bastard things.

We might stream on demand from android market. Unless I root my xoom. Hmm, torrents just look better and better.

Yet Spotify still feels like it's working quite nicely ...

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Conflicted...

I hate Flash.

I also hate MS.

Can't decide if this is a good thing or bad thing.

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