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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  1. tmTM

    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.

    1. Spearchucker Jones

      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.

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      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.

  2. Martin Lyne

    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)

  3. JimmyPage Silver badge
    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" .....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Upset Users

    Should use Windows then shouldn't you?

    ;-)

    1. Bakunin
      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

    2. Tim Walker

      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?]

      1. JimmyPage Silver badge
        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.

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        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.

    3. Giles Jones Gold badge

      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.

      1. dansus

        Its coming..

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

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No V2000

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

    5. David Barrett Silver badge

      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?

      1. JEDIDIAH
        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.

        1. David Barrett Silver badge

          .. 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.

          1. JEDIDIAH
            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.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Typical Linux user

    7. Eradicate all BB entrants

      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

      1. Vic

        > Betamax lost out on 2 things.

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

        Vic.

      2. JimmyPage Silver badge
        Happy

        Be kind, rewind

        you mean you're gonna Swede it ?

    8. Anonymous Coward
      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...

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You offering...

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

    10. hplasm Silver badge
      Meh

      Upset-

      Not desperate.

  6. ■↨
    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.

    1. sisk Silver badge

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

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  7. Richard Wharram

    Moonlight?

    Wouldn't that work?

    1. tardigrade

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

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge
      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.

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        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.

      2. TheOtherHobbbes

        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.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. sisk Silver badge

      "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.

  9. Geoff Johnson

    Not a Problem

    Their streaming selection is rubbish anyway.

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. RW
      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?

      1. Vic

        > 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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Trollface

        Ha ha.

        No brainer.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  12. sprouty76
    Thumb Down

    "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.

  13. David Evans

    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).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  14. Jim T
    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 ...

  15. Chad H.

    Conflicted...

    I hate Flash.

    I also hate MS.

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

    1. Neill Mitchell

      There's only one way to find out...

      FIIIIIIGHT!

  16. HamsterNet
    FAIL

    Dead end

    Oh dear they listening to the moving studies over streaming.. The very people who would rather the internet didn't exist and have tried to stop streaming at all costs. Seems getting them on Silver light is a sure fire way of killing the streaming service.

  17. squilookle
    Facepalm

    Right... so... how likely is it that some of the customers that were once legally streaming the films legally are now going to go and get them by other means then?

    Seems like a rather stupid idea on the part of the studios to me. Especially when they allow the DVD's to be shipped and they're higher quality and easier to copy...

  18. Sean Houlihane

    workarounds

    So the film industry wants again to try and make paying customers jump through hoops to purchase content? All they do by giving us problems is encourage us to look for workarounds, which then increases the chance of said workarounds being used by non-paying customers.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rock and hard place

    Looks like their streaming business is stuffed...

    a) if they didn't, they wouldn't get any films.

    b) if they did, they lose customers and hence revenue.

    Not that I was a customer, by the way. I buy the DVD when it hits the bargain bucket.

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. DrXym Silver badge

    Inevitable

    Streaming services are not going to stream movies via protocols which can be ripped to disk. They *require* a DRM of some kind to meet their legal obligations. I'm surprised to hear a site dumping Flash for Silverlight - Flash has DRM already so perhaps someone has figured a way of compromising it, e.g. cracking RTMP.

    Anyway if LoveFilm is smart they will build their site almost exclusively from HTML & JS and confine the Silverlight to the video player in the middle. If browser makers were smart, particularly the likes of Mozilla / Chrome, they'd implement some form of DRM lickety split or open up their video tag to other plugins which could supply it.

    1. janimal
      WTF?

      except...

      ...no right minded pirate would ever create a rip from a flash stream. They are much more likely to rent or borrow the dvd & rip that.

      The only thing the studios will achieve with this is driving more customers to torrents.

      It is hilarious!

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Well that depends

        Flash is quite capable of delivering H264 encoded movies and if your bandwidth were sufficient then they'd probably be delivered at a pretty good bitrate too. So I don't buy the notion that it couldn't or wouldn't be used to pirate movies. And the content providers don't buy the idea either.

        It's true you can pirate in other ways. The risk of course between ripping a streaming service and using some p2p site is plausible deniability. If you could rip movies from LoveFilm, how are they supposed to know? To them it looks like you are watching a film so unless you systematically ripped off one film after another then no alarm bells are going off. Whereas for p2p, the pirate is exposing themselves when they collectively download so there is a higher risk.

        Other forms of piracy such as renting & ripping also have plausible deniability but arguably that's a more expensive proposition than subscribing to LoveFilm, or Netflix.

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Who really cares?

          Who really cares if people try to save the films they stream from Lovefilm. They're crap. If someone is willing to put up with that, they are not great customers. They are simply too cheap and nothing you do will change that.

          This is the modern equivalent of kids duping tapes between two cheap tape decks while riding next to each other on bicycles.

          These people were always lost to you.

  22. Adam Trickett
    Linux

    Isn't Silverlight dead?

    Haven't MS given up on Silverlight for HTML5?

    Lots of stink in the Twitterverse about this... Can't be good news for LoveFilm.

  23. Chris 3
    Holmes

    Begs the question...

    Is Silverlight DRM *actually* tougher to crack/circumvent than Flash-based solutions?

    Anyone?

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      I expect it's just that no one has bothered to try

      Why pick the lock on the front door when the back door is hanging open?

    2. Joe Montana
      FAIL

      Begs the question...

      I doubt Silverlight DRM is any harder to crack than Flash, both are a case of client side security and obfuscation and all it takes is someone sufficiently competent to sit down and take the time to crack it.

      The only difference is that flash has more users, and therefore more incentive for people to crack it.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seriously doubt it's the movie companys

    I really doubt it is the movie companies doing this, remember BBC Iplay, ITV player, 4OD, Hulu and youtube all use flash without this type of problem.

    On top of this LoveFilm now no longer supports Android users!

  25. Malcolm 1

    Interestingly, while Silverlight seems to be on the way out as a browser plugin it seems that the technology stack is becoming increasingly popular for secure video streaming - for example it is rumoured to underpin the impending xbox IPTV features:

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/xbox-live-tv-whats-inside-silverlight/10904

    and related technologies:

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/microsoft-xbox-and-mediaroom-iptv-to-meet-in-orapa/8886

    Having recently moved to a non-cabled area I've been investigating various video-on-demand services and whatever tech Microsoft use to do xbox movie streaming is frankly amazing - the quality is practically indistinguishable from a blu-ray. It's far and away the best quality video-on-demand I've ever seen.

    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Yes...

      ...but the media from those services are really easy to download to your own machine as permanent files.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Silverlight meh

    Still no 64 bit version of it on OSX, it feels even more of an intrusive install than flash does

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gag

    I don't even allow Silverlight on my Win7 box. No more lovefilm for me, then.

    Also, dear author, NAUGHTY STEP. "Sunset" is not a verb. That weirds language.

    1. JC_
      Thumb Down

      Weird that people get their knickers in a twist over a switch from one proprietary plugin to another - what's the difference? At least SL has Moonlight. It's even weirder when someone running Windows insists that they won't install SL - what principles are you putting at risk?!?

      1. Goat Jam
        FAIL

        "At least SL has Moonlight (on Linux)"

        As to compared to Flash, which has, let's see, oh yes, that's right, Flash on Linux (or gnash if you really want to stay fully OSS)

        Oh, and btw, moonlight doesn't do DRM (and never will)

  28. James 51 Silver badge

    I just moved to ubuntu as my main OS, looks like I may have to big out my old XP disk. I wonder if this has anything to do with becoming available on the xbox? I have seen the ads with knetic carry the lovefilm logo but I haven't seen the update yet.

  29. Shardik
    FAIL

    Never ever ever...

    Wow... Just... Wow... How long before the industry "get" it?

    If I want to pirate it, I'll download it from one of any number of sources that they will never kill off in the ongoing game of whack-a-mole.

    If I want to purchase it, I'll purchase it.

    It's a moral decision that's not going to be changed by placing DRM on a feed. All they do is knee legitimate customers in the balls and expect them to keep taking it.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile, in a parallel universe...

    Music giant Universal has forced music retailer HMV to only stock its music on vinyl, citing concerns about ripping CDs and downloads as a motive.

    The Santa Monica-based record label has reassured consumers the move will lead to improved audio quality and a better user experience, and has confidently invested in a new $100M vinyl pressing plant in Romania.

    Commenting on the news, BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles told us, "Oh faaaaakin' ell."

    1. puffspluslotion

      Breaking News!!!!

      Vinyl piracy has become a threat to the music industry's business model. http://www.synthgear.com/2010/diy/how-to-pirate-a-vinyl-record/

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Easily solved

        Apparently, the music industry's top lawyers are already lobbying hard for all wood, sealant and rubber to be banned - everywhere.

        Civilisation will cease to exist, yeah whatever, but it'll stop piracy so it's still a good move according to label bosses.

        If their narrow vision from inside their dying industry were a camera lens, it'd be a 200mm macro lens used inside a lift.

  31. Leona A
    Thumb Down

    well that's found to kill off Lovefilm then going to the dead SilverShite platform, well done LoveFilm way to go to kill a compnay, <shakes head>

  32. JDX Gold badge

    netflix

    I was interested to see they use SL when I was in the US. It worked very nicely on both Mac and Windows, and they have iOS players too - maybe for mobile they will use a separate app rather than SL?

    Got to love the morons saying "because they won't sell it in a format I want, I am free to steal it instead".

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      No on two counts.

      1) Copyright infringement is not theft. "…interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud", US Supreme Court.

      2) It's more "Because they won't sell it in a format I can use, I wont buy it."

      It's more disappointing that they still do not get it. Give people the content they want and allow them to use it how they want, and you will find that you will get greater monetization.

      The music industry (eventually) figured that out, Hollywood seem to be sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting "NO! LAHLAHALAHLAH! NO! I CANT HEAR YOU!"

  33. Stretch

    Funny how those who download their films via torrents NEVER have some greedy company pull the bait and switch on them like this.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A few years ago ...

    ITV were once using SilverLight on their website -- now its flash.

    What are LoveFilm thinking? A more retrograde step, given the uncertain future of SilverLight, its hard to imagine.

    Why is anyone using either of these crap, dead old throwback technologies for anyway, when better, free non-proprietary universal alternatives exist now? That don't alienate anyone? Oh -- they don't want that. Less "control" or some such shit. Fuck 'em. Neither wonder piracy is a "problem" to them.

    1. David Barrett Silver badge

      "What are LoveFilm thinking"

      Probably something along the lines of "If we dont do this we will have nothing to stream... Best crack on with it"

  35. Thoguht Silver badge

    Microsoft, Amazon, Sky. Yes, very small-fry minorities indeed.

    Wake the fuck up, everyone, the days of beards, sandals and free love ended long ago.

    1. Miek

      I see plenty of Beards and sandals.

  36. g e
    FAIL

    Enough time to switch

    To BitTorrent ?

    Classic MAFIAA thinking, though.. Let's use a dying/still-born technology no-one else uses because it is a great match for our business model.

    So... User-agent work-around for a fake PS3 Linux login maybe? Would need to emulate a SONY user account login too, though...

    Notably SKY use SilverShite, too, presumably for the same reasons. I'd have thought that if everyone said 'fuck off, we'll just not distribute your movies, then' that might have worked more effectively ? Perhaps not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bittorrent is OK

      but has the slight risk your IP could be picked up by a "rogue" peer, and your ISP bothered by the film companies lawyers ... yes you can mask or spoof your IP, but it's hassle and breaks a lot of trackers.

      Best way is to sign up to a usenet archive database, and a decent usenet binary server, and just pick stuff off from them ... with the added advantage you can run at almost full speed.

      So I am told.

      1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

        Shhhh

        First rule of Usenet - Don't talk about Usenet...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      BitTorrent will be moving to Silverlight next..

      No doubt the MPAA, having failed to get bittorrent declared a forbidden protocol and having all network switches drop all bittorrent packets silently, will go for second best and pay for the authors of the best bit torrent client apps to move all their code to .NET and the silverlight platform. This will reduce the customer base enough for the #of peers serving files to drop and ruin the whole experience.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    VLC?

    OK, I know MoonLight won't work but I wonder if VLC can/could be made to capture the stream?

    That would mean it could work on anything, Linux, OS X, Windows or phones.

    I don't know enough about the nature of the LoveFilm stream to know, but I'm guessing it isn't insurmountable.

    1. Will 28

      It is insurmountable (probably)

      Microsoft's PlayReady tech (the DRM system they use) is very secure. Say what you like about MS business practices and attitude, their tech guys are not idiots. They've experience both of screwing up DRM, and then securing it again (remember that WMP DRM debacle). This DRM is their new attempt at it having learned from those mistakes. You will not be able to hack the stream to go to anything but the silverlight control.

      1. Vic

        > You will not be able to hack the stream

        If there were enough motivation, someone would indeed break the DRM.

        Given what I've heard about LoveFilm's streaming stuff, nobody will bother trying.

        Vic.

      2. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Just like Blu Ray?

        What did they say? It will take 30 years to crack or something like that.

        If there is ever content of any interest it will be cracked, MS will patch it, and it will be cracked again in two days. It will only remain "secure" as long as there are better/faster ways to get stuff.

      3. LaeMing Silver badge
        Happy

        If I had a dollar...

        ...for every DRM system that was claimed un-hackable but in the end wasn't even close, I could buy more congressmenn than the MPAA/RIAA!

      4. Tom 38 Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Cobblers.

        Any system where the user has both the content and the keys can be broken. DVD, Bluray, itunes DRM, silverlight etc all allow a user to access encrypted content using software, and so to crack any of them 'simply' involves extracting the keys and reverse engineering the algorithm.

        With the rise of VMs, even OS level protection is no good if you can stop the VM and start poking around in its memory.

        I say 'simply', I couldn't do it. But I know a man who can.

    2. alanbdee

      Sorry, don't think it would work

      The reason Moonlight, Linux Silverlight equivalent, won't work is because it's missing it's DRM components. Those DRM components need direct access to the kernel, which Linux won't allow.

      It might be possible to setup VLC to stream it but that would open up an exploit just waiting to happen. I like my security much more then I like the idea of watching movies on my computer. I'll use my xbox, DVD player or other machine to watch movies.

      ref: http://www.slashgear.com/netflix-linux-23141134/

      1. Vic

        > Those DRM components need direct access to the kernel, which Linux won't allow.

        Rubbish.

        The kernel APIs - including the API for LKMs - is readily available. Anyone can write a module to do the DRM. The GPL - under which the kernel is licenced - specifically and explicitly prevents anyone from trying to prevent anyone else from writing to those APIs.

        There are several reasons why a Moonlight DRM kernel component doesn't exist. But none of them are because the Linux kernel won't allow it.

        Vic.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meh

    There's only so many dodgy 80s/90s/foreign language films you can watch before you're bored and cancelling your subscription anyway....

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shirley a PVR circumvents all the security. Plug PC HDMI into PVR and record.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nope.

      HDCP

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or wait...

      ...a few days for the DVD to turn up in the post, and rip yourself a decent version direct.

      1. Vic

        Perhaps

        > HDCP

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/25/hdcp_dvi_hdmi_smashed/

        Vic.

  40. V.B.N.
    IT Angle

    Silverlight for Linux

    Moonlight? http://www.mono-project.com/Moonlight

    1. Vic

      > Moonlight

      ... is shit.

      HTH, HAND, etc.

      Vic.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      doesn't work for LoveFilm, streaming etc

  41. bluesxman
    FAIL

    is it really on obstacle?

    "the technology switcheroo wouldn't affect or apply to PS3, iPad, internet TVs and other streaming devices"

    If some devices can still access non-Silverlight content, I'd wager there's a piece of software that can be written that'll pretend to be one of them in order to circumvent this.

  42. Cameron Colley

    Talk about a lucky escape.

    As someone who doesn't watch broadcast television I was looking for a way to view films via the internet and LoveFilm looked like it could be a good option. Thanks to this move I'll stick to torrents.

    The film industry have labelled me a pirate for using Linux and Flash so I'll happily take that role. If they want me to pay then they can give me a viable way to use their product legally.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  43. spegru
    Boffin

    I wonder

    what happens if you run sliverlight on a Win XP running inside virtualbox running on Linux ?

    (of course the xp wouldn't be used for any proper stuff)

    Of course it'd work.... but can you also record the screen to an external file on the host?

    1. David Barrett Silver badge

      Correct me if Im wrong, but...

      I suspect that the frame rate may suffer?

    2. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Windows in a bottle

      > what happens if you run sliverlight on a Win XP running inside virtualbox running on Linux ?

      Netflix streaming runs just fine this way actually.

      I did this before the whole Quickster nonsense.

      Now I just use Amazon Prime streaming minus the bother of a virtual machine.

  44. OSC
    WTF?

    It's not only LoveFilms

    If you care about democracy you might also care that UK Parliament requires silverlight

    http://www.opensourceconsortium.org/content/view/158/89/

    And about 60 local authorities that we've found so far

    The London Assembly requires Windows Media Player

    1. Chemist

      "If you care about democracy"

      Just harangued http://www.parliamentlive.tv

      Ta

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not that I can give you a definite answer to the London Assembly issue, but it might be because the broadcast system for that has been kicking around for many many years and has not been re-designed for the 21st century. It is a case of if it isn't broken, don't fix it.

    3. Chemist

      I know it not the same ..

      but UK Parliament is also available as wmv format which can be used by Linux browser plug-ins

  45. Anon E Mus

    How hard is this????

    To amazon/lovefilm

    Here's a simple idea:

    1. Get films

    2. Encode 264 and dolby (or dts) into an mkv or m4v container

    3. Take my money!

    Why aren't you on this yet?

  46. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Chemist

      "Linux isn't an entertainment OS"

      Strange - it seems to be from here.

    2. James2011

      Most set-top boxes run of Linux - do your homework

      Most set-top boxes run of Linux - do your homework

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The irony

    I primary use Netflix and Linux. To do so I have a VMWare Virtual Machine of Windows XP. The irony is that VMWare has a built in screencaster, or screen capture recording tool. So in their efforts to make it "more difficult to pirate" they actually made it much easier for Linux users.

    Of coarse using a screencaster is just silly because IF you wanted to pirate a movie, the torrent is still the best and easiest solution.

    The simple fact is, a good friend of mine "wink", stopped pirating movies after getting a Netflix account. Again, because Netflix made it easy, cheep and legal.

  48. scientific_linux_01
    Linux

    why

    Why???

    So basically it is like extortion?

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you took all the stupid things...

    ... the content industry does to make it difficult-to-impossible to give them money. Would you have a good defence in court in the (unlikely) chance you are 'harvested' by their heavy-squad?

    "Your honour, the prosecution's client and their policies are clearly the biggest promotor of piracy on the 'net. If the defendent is guilty of piracy, then they are even more guilty of corruption of the defendent through denying access to usable access to the content." If the defendent is under-age go full out on 'corruption of a minor'. :-)

    Doubt it would work, but if you could blow it into a media storm, the lols would be worth it.

  50. Occams_Cat

    And in one move my days of watching streamed films on my HP TouchPad, have been revoked. As has the entire reason I bough the (cheap) tablet. Gutted. Bastards.

  51. Grease Monkey

    What makes me laugh is all those commentards who actually think that Amazon give a shit about the views of a tiny minority of their customers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well ...

      Amazon *do* make their MP3 download thingie for Linux so I have always thought they did care -- at least enough to take my £4.99 for an album once in a while.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Inferior to Flash

    I'm no Flash fan either, but having tried to watch something this evening, I got fed up with the "Buffering" messages and the complete breakdown of films on medium action scenes (worse even than Flash).

    I've got a fast connection here and my hardware spec is pretty high, and it was never this bad previously. To me that just leaves the changed bit to blame.

    I am wondering when LoveFIlm will announce the reduced price for the reduced service ;-)

  53. bobdobbs
    Holmes

    i feel like we're all missing something...

    Every time i read one of these stories where it seems like the movie execs are pushing people to pirate more by making the non-pirated version/experience suck, all i can think is that they _want_ the piracy stats to continue rising. That way, they have justification for pushing legislation that will really fucking suck for everybody (except them) and won't be as easy to get around as hitting up the pirate bay. In an Orwellian world like that, they can just sit back and let the bucks roll in.

    Sherlock 'cause, well, I hope I sound deductionary, not tinfoil-hatty...

  54. Chris Woollard

    Youtube Films

    Google Youtube Films are still flash based!

    So they will work on Linux.

  55. JDX Gold badge

    re:Inferior to Flash

    It's about the server not your web connection then. Unless you can test watching video in both formats from the same provider, it's not a valid test.

    Anyway.... if Amazon are going SL and Netflix do to, doesn't this make it more likely we'll get SL on Android... Amazon will surely want video on their Fire tablets...

  56. airbrush

    Moonlight?

    Presumably this doesn't support DRM yet or has been killed??

  57. Red Bren

    A novel defence?

    Prosecution: "So Mr Freetard, why have you got all these pirated movies?"

    Defendant: "Because the movie makers took away the means to obtain them legitimately."

    Judge: "Case dismissed!"

    1. Grease Monkey

      If you think a court would take that view you are hopelessly naive.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        If you think a court would ever be asked to pass judgement on someone for possession of copyright infringing materials, then you are hopelessly naive.

        The state is only interested if it is criminal infringement, ie mass producing dodgy dvds and the MPAA only have a case where they can prove that you facilitated copyright infringement by _uploading_ content.

        Mere possession is not punishable, and by downloading content you are not creating a copy of a protected work, the person sending it to you at the other end is.

        Think someone has seen too many "Piracy is theft" adverts.

  58. Somerset John
    Linux

    What's the problem?

    Simple answer........ If LoveFilm insist on silverlight then they should provide a free copy of windoze to all their subscribers.

    Although I can't really see all the Linux bods downgrading their operating systems just for a few overpriced films!

    1. Grease Monkey

      Why? Silverlight isn't only available on Windows. However I think you are well aware of that fact, but you just ignored it in order to make your post.

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        Silver light runs on the mac

  59. masterofobvious
    FAIL

    No one wants your low quality streams anyway LoveFilm

    Streaming content looked worse than a DVD to me with massive compression artifacting, why bother?

    1. James2011

      Having a choice would be nice

      Many people around the UK have low speed connections which would make getting higher quality difficult. However I would have been nice to have the choice of quality ie. Low, Med (DVD), High (HD).

      And yes, the films where badly encoded.

  60. Morat
    Linux

    Meh

    I used LoveFilm on a Samsung smart TV and the quality was absolutely awful. Really no great loss.

  61. James2011

    Surprising - THanks for the XMAS present - not

    I would be very interested to know how many Linux based customers lovefilm.com have; or had ;-(.

    Good news for XBOX 360 users, should have something to try in the next few weeks - yay.

    Move to Silverlight and ditched Linux users - boo.

    www.lovefilm.com still down right now; accidental or upset Linux user(s)?

    Don’t forget Amazon may have been involved in this decision. (There on-line shopping is great though.)

  62. James2011

    Windows 8 Myth

    Yes Windows 8 does support Silverlight and the lovefilm service does work on it. (I did not someone complaining that it was not going to be supported but it is.)

  63. James2011
    Meh

    My nee-jurk response -> and now after careful consideration

    This is mainly speculation but as I understand the story so far:

    lovefilm want to increase their range of films that they can offer to enhance our (the customer’s) experience and bring in revenue; which is generally expected of a company! In order to achieve this the studios have said that they require that vendors use the up-to-date DRM which I am assuming is something like PlayReady that happens to be owned by Microsoft thus, Silverlight was an obvious choice.

    Microsoft have been planning to stop development of Silverlight for the PC platform but continue development for mobile devices. Silverlight is really just for front-end presenter so it does not really matter that much as the cost is more significant in the server side technology for delivering content securely and thus the cost of changing the front-end is low risk and not cost prohibitive to upgrade latter down the line.

    (It is important to point out that other media providers have already moved to Silverlight and that there has been talk of flash being dropped by Adobe, and thus it would be folly not to make the change.)

    The key to this streaming technology is PlayReady. PlayReady being backed by both technology giant Microsoft and a number of film studios is the reason. (Obviously a ‘newish’ revenue stream for MS but that’s what business is about – although I have used Zune in the past.)

    I am very much looking forward to the XBOX360 support coming in the next few weeks for lovefilm customer’s. It was just a bit of a slap in the face to halt Linux support but really only a minor inconvenience.

    PS. Just make sure you secure rights to stream the new James Bond film when it’s finished!!!!! Also, keep pressing to get the best films and in HD with good quality video compression, after all that’s the most important thing, that’s what customer’s really care about; content availability; quality; and at a very competitive price.

    It would be useful to have options on quality so people with slower hardware or connection can get to use the service but those of us that are lucky enough to get 50Mb broad band and have fast PC’s etc... can get HD (and I guess HD 3D in the not too distance future).

    1. Cameron Colley

      Lack of Linux support may be a minor inconvenience to you.

      To some of us it means we cannot use Love Film.

      If they were to offer a free copy of Windows for every subscriber it would still be against my morals to use them. It may sound petty but some of us think that Microsoft has been damaging computing for years and that paying them is helping them hire more lawyers.

  64. Lexxy
    Stop

    Speculative views presented as fact

    Folks,

    Can someone please cite an official source and not an opinion or rumour piece backing this commonly held view that Microsoft will end development on Silverlight on the PC ?

    I'm just looking for some clarity amongst all the FUD: I fail to understand how "Silverlight is dying" as people say, when a major internet player is taking the platform on at this stage of play. I would go as far as to say to those still blindly repeating that particular rumour that it's time to re-assess that view?

  65. JDX Gold badge

    interested to know how many Linux based customers lovefilm.com have

    Surely the answer is very few... not only because Linux remains a (tiny) minority OS for desktop/laptop, but because Linux users are (statistically speaking) more into getting stuff for free.

    I still want to know what's happening about mobile devices though. Netflix uses SL in the US but you can watch it on iOS IIRC... so does that mean special iOS/Android apps exist?

  66. roy lovelock

    another customer gone here

    i currently have the 3 at home package, and used the streaming on occasion when at work on my samsung galaxy tab. this is very poor descion by love film and i think they will lose good percentage of thier customers because of this.

    talk about shoot themselves in the foot - your damned if you pirate and your damned if you legally stream.

    when are these companys gona understand that DRM is an out dated and hated by everyone, amazon do this on audible and now they are doing it on love film, well done

  67. Havin_it

    Dev FAIL

    I still wonder why they used Flash in the first place, when a dedicated in-house native app could have been more tightly-focused, probably more efficient and certainly more "secure" (in the fashion the content-pushers value). A little bit of serious dev work at the outset could have saved them this sort of pain down the line.

  68. FunkyEric
    Facepalm

    The morons

    Were always free to steal it, they just chose not to before, now they feel they have no viable alternative.

  69. billium
    Black Helicopters

    Looks like market protectionism to me. HTML5 is open and un-American.

    LoveFilm selection was bad, so I did not go beyond the trial.

  70. BitDr

    Movie studios are dumb like a fox...

    Hmmmm. Perhaps the studios are planning their own streaming service? The strategy, force the existing streaming companies using Flash to switch to Silverlight. This will tie up resources and reduce the size of their customer base. Flying under the radar get your own streaming service set up and ready using HTML 5. When you go online tout that you're using web-standards based tech and support everyone, while the competition does not.

    Well, it's a possibility... I personally don't think the studios are smart enough for this but it is possible.

  71. Vitani

    What is it with the film industry and jumping on sinking ships?

    The music industry abandoned DRM years ago, and they seem to be doing OK ...

  72. Will 28

    When they axe Silverlight

    It doesn't get deleted from the internet. Their 'Axing' of it involves not developing it any further. You'll still be able to download it, write apps for it, same as now. It just means there won't be a Silverlight 6. Given all Lovefilm need is something to play videos, what is the problem with that? There aren't any new features needed for their purposes. The only risk they're taking from that perspective is that it might not be supported in later versions of browsers (I don't know what the story is there).

  73. Lamont Cranston
    Thumb Down

    "suddenly have next-to-no films to stream online"

    So, no change there then? LoveFilm's streaming service is laughable - poor video quality, poor selection, crappy player (had to resort to IE last time I used it, as it was unusable under Opera).

    Making films harder to access, by switching to Silverlight, just provides more of an incentive for those who can to steal* films, rather than pay to watch them.

    *I know, it's not actually stealing. Whatever.

  74. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Lock the catflap, but leave the door open

    I can appreciate the film industry doesn't want people making illicit copies of it's sequels, prequels, remakes, derivative works and any actual original films that it may make. However, surely the biggest hole in the "we mustn't let customers copy films" strategy is letting people have the DVDs and Bluray discs in their houses, while never knowing what other media copying equipment they may have?

    Looking at the Lovefilm rental offerings, it seems that the average punter still has far greater access to the physical media than they do to downloaded material (3 discs per month, compared to 2 hours of download time) and therefore this represents a much bigger threat/opportunity for naughty people to indulge in a spot of copying than trying to secure the online viewing process?

    But then again, this is the film industry we're talking about so it's futile to expect rational thought or a considered strategy from them.

  75. bigfoot780

    XP,ie6,7,8 will keep flash/silverlight/java alive

    Well only ie9,FireFox,Chrome etc support html5. A lot of computers are on XP with ie 6,7,8 espially in business. In this economy a lotof places will hold on to XP and ie pre 9. Only when there is a move to chrome,FireFox,win 7,8 will html5 take off.

  76. a_mu
    WTF?

    NET TV's

    my sony tvs have lovefilm built in,

    these tvs are not MS based I'm certain,

    and sony own a lot of films do they not ?

    so sony who own films are stopping us paying and watching those films on their TV !

    or will sony update the TV so it still receives love film , on linux ?

    interesting,

  77. Levente Szileszky
    FAIL

    AWESOME, MP(AF)RIAA, just awesome - what a bunch of incompetent indiots!

    Seriously: beyond spreading false videos and totally fake numbers and buying out (illegally) the entire US Gov and Congress to *make* *laws* *for* *them*, do these fat parasites ever use their head?

    I mean I have an impression that despite living off their money they actually HATE their audience and try to screw them as much as they can... their actions certainly look like that.

    And choosing SIlverlight... really? I think the stupid cousin of the chairman who advises them about these internetz really needs to read that webmaster crash-course textbook again.

  78. CraigW

    Idioacy abounds.

    Do they have any idea of how many android tablets there are and how many there will be very quickly, and they have removed the only way to use their service on them?

    When the film industry lobby is so powerful that it can effectively KILL a legitimate business through bullying tactics, AND result in a service that is worse for the consumer, then something is very wrong.

    Set Levinson loose on them once he's done with the press.

  79. Derek Foley

    Flash support for all android devices

    This is really dumb, all existing Android tablet and phone users can't access the Sky Go service on their tablets because

    1) there isn't a dedicated app yet, even though there are more Android based devices than iOs now,

    and

    2) on the web they are using Silverlight tech. If they decided to use Flash, obviously no problem for Android users from 2.2 upwards as the whole service would just run in the browser as it would on a PC.

    There was some hope for Silverlight support on Android here... http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1207785 although this is probably not going to happen either now!

    I do wonder when is the obsession with the mobile "app" or even exe based app going to end, probably once the chrome OS method of keeping everything browser based and in the cloud becomes more readily accepted .

    Personally I'm sick of scrolling through dozens of app icons! One day as tablet/phone browser performance improves everyone will finally people realise browser based tech was and always is the best solution (one size fits all - which Adobe had right).

    After all, if HTML 5 is all its supposed to be cracked up to be, why aren't we seeing more web based HTML 5 video services - is this purely down to a lack of developers?

    Performance wise, I did try the HTML 5 player on YouTube a few months ago, performance (smoothness) was rubbish compared to Flash streaming so I changed my account options to not use it anymore - perhaps its improved by now, but I'm still not convinced (yet!)

  80. This Side Up
    Mushroom

    Betamax

    "Remember the ever shrinking "Betamax" section of your local video store ?"

    No, because I never went into video stores. I used Betamax for timeshifting tv and radio programmes (or saving them indefinitely) and for recording sound with Beta HiFi or PCM-F1.

    I could still use Betamax for recording streamed video.

  81. bigweeal
    Go

    Fear Not

    When netflix arrives they will have no customer base left as everyone jumps ship.

    No mention of price yet, but the US enjoys unlimited downloads for £20 a month. ($29.99) Fill yer boots.

    bye bye, lovefilm, btvision, blikbox, sky movies, etc. They all must be shittin themselves.

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