back to article Firefox-on-Windows users, rejoice: Game of Thrones now in HTML5

Firefox has joined the Netflix community on Windows with the addition of HTML5 video extensions. The box set streaming giant’s HTML5 video player now works with Mozilla’s browser and digital-rights management software from Adobe to police content – Primetime CDM. It means you can stream Netflix to Firefox on a Windows PC …

  1. Greg J Preece

    Sounds good. Streaming video is one area where I can understand and accept reasonable DRM, as Netflix seems to use. Fights like VP9 vs H.264/265 are worth fighting to keep content creators free of bullshit, but media extensions not so much. Nice to see Firefox taking the practical route here. I'll soon be able to use my default browser on Linux for Netflix rather than having to switch to Chrome.

    Also kudos to Netflix for ditching Silverlight and going with something that can work more universally. Not having to have a Wine-based hackaround any more is very pleasant.

    1. davidp231

      We just need Linux Firefox to catch up now... Pipelight's just a pain in the backside on a 64bit system.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > ... I can understand and accept reasonable DRM

      It is good news that Netflix is available now more widely but I would definitely take issue with the above statement.

      DRM has never stopped copying by those that wish to do it as attested to by the veritable glut of stuff available on the 'Net.

      The reality of services like Netflix is that it is so cheap and convenient, why would anybody go to the trouble of copying their stuff? The only actual effect of DRM is that it makes it so I cannot use my Linux box to watch Netflix and I'm a paying subscriber.

      The Hollywood wonks care more about control than they care about offering a service that people can use more easily than Bittorrent clients.

      1. Greg J Preece

        The reality of services like Netflix is that it is so cheap and convenient, why would anybody go to the trouble of copying their stuff? The only actual effect of DRM is that it makes it so I cannot use my Linux box to watch Netflix and I'm a paying subscriber.

        I'd disagree, based on the type of DRM being used (which is why I used the term "reasonable" when describing it). The DRM Netflix are using now is the kind that can be auto-configured by your browser seamlessly without your intervention, so long as your browser supports it. You can quite happily watch Netflix from Linux right now on Chrome, because they were the first to implement these extensions.

        The DRM they had previously was Silverlight, which is restricted proprietary bullshit that doesn't work cross-platform and requires ongoing user intervention. I don't consider that kind of DRM acceptable/reasonable. Hopefully that clarifies my position a bit more.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > The DRM they had previously was Silverlight, which is restricted proprietary bullshit that doesn't work cross-platform and requires ongoing user intervention.

          I read the following on Mozilla's website and I quote:

          "Today, Firefox includes an integration with the Adobe Content Decryption Module (CDM) to playback DRM-wrapped content. The CDM will be downloaded from Adobe shortly after you upgrade or install Firefox and will be activated when you first interact with a site that uses Adobe CDM. Premium video services, including Netflix, have started testing this solution in Firefox."

          So the improvement is a silent download of a binary blob into an open source product, yet another Adobe product that effectively replaces flash. They have implemented a standard HTML way of interfacing with binary blobs rather than the old plugin interface.

          This is hardly much different to where we started and experience tells us that Adobe absolutely cannot be trusted to produce reliable, bug free software.

          My original point still stands. If I want to watch Netflix in a web browser that doesn't have a port for this plugin, it just plain won't work, even if the browser supports HTML5.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            > If I want to watch Netflix in a web browser that doesn't have a port for this plugin, it just plain won't work, even if the browser supports HTML5.

            ...and I should point out that it would be illegal for me (in many countries) to write one.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "You can quite happily watch Netflix from Linux right now on Chrome, because they were the first to implement these extensions."

          Hmm.. Let's try it... No doesn't work. What a surprise.

          It doesn't matter if you "can get it to work" by messing around for hours. The fact is that it doesn't just work out of the box. There is no purpose for you to try to defend that state. The point of DRM is for stuff to not work.

          ....and the point of stuff not working is to force me to install Adobe software.

          1. DrXym Silver badge

            "Hmm.. Let's try it... No doesn't work. What a surprise."

            I was able to play movies off Netflix on Linux simply by installing Chrome, running it and logging into my account. No complexity at all.

          2. Greg J Preece

            It doesn't matter if you "can get it to work" by messing around for hours. The fact is that it doesn't just work out of the box. There is no purpose for you to try to defend that state. The point of DRM is for stuff to not work.

            Huh, that's interesting. It does work for me, right out of the box. Chrome isn't my normal browser so I haven't tweaked any of the settings or "messed around for hours." I just loaded Netflix, and it worked.

      2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        "The only actual effect of DRM is that it makes it so I cannot use my Linux box to watch Netflix and I'm a paying subscriber."

        At one time they used Flash, and for all of the swiss cheese flaws in its implementation, it actually achieved the goal of having something that ran on all major OS (Windows, MacOS, Linux, maybe even Solaris once?) and could do enough DRM-ish stuff that companies were happy with it as a solution to getting people to use a paying service instead of torrenting it.

        But then they decided to use Silverlight as apparently Flash was not secure enough (in DRM terms, they care not one hoot about your security) to keep Hollywood happy. Or maybe MS paid someone to try and embrace their new and long-lasting technology, who knows... Add to that Apple's decision to kill flash on mobile, and Adobe's utter inability to fix it for any sane length of time, and we see Flash is dying as well with only an old version support on Linux (unless you let Google slurp your privates with Chrome).

        So we are back to the situation of not having support on many platform (older Android, Linux, Windows XP, etc) and it is easier to torrent. Any how many tears do I see being cried over this?

        1. Greg J Preece

          So we are back to the situation of not having support on many platform (older Android, Linux, Windows XP, etc) and it is easier to torrent. Any how many tears do I see being cried over this?

          This simply isn't true. The method they're using now is a standards-based method of delivering DRM extensions to your browser. It can work on any platform that supports the extensions (and does). Why are people saying that this means you can't watch Netflix on Linux, for example? I said in my first comment I've been doing that for ages. This methodology keeps everyone happy - the media wonks keep their DRM comfort blanket, and people running on minority systems keep their support, and this time on an indefinite basis.

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            @Greg J Preece

            It seems I stand corrected on this one:

            http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/watch-netflix-natively-linux-easy-way/

            I have not tried it, and would be interested to know if it plays nicely with the (usually off) AppArmour profile, etc, but it is a step in the right direction.

          2. Chewi

            What about ARM?

            Why are people saying that this means you can't watch Netflix on Linux, for example?

            If you're on ARM Linux, which is otherwise an ideal platform for this stuff, then you're still screwed at the moment as these solutions rely on x86 binary blobs.

        2. Mage Silver badge
          Facepalm

          not having support on many platforms ...

          Smart TVs are a bad idea, likely provider X uses codec Z, management Q and DRM R next week/year/month and the TV "maker" (or real OEM) never releases new firmware, or if they do it's only OTA on one platform in another country, or impossible for joe soap to install.

          At least a laptop as a final resort can be dual booted into unwanted OS U to get X, Z, Q and R.

          1. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re: not having support on many platforms ...

            Just run it in a VM and capture the video and you can watch it anywere DRM free.

          2. TeeCee Gold badge
            Coat

            Re: not having support on many platforms ...

            can be dual booted into unwanted OS

            I took MacOS off completely when I installed Windows and I'm loath to give up the disk space to put it back.

      3. Mage Silver badge
        Coat

        Netflix is that it is so cheap and convenient

        Not cheap. It's a huge amount a year. Also pointless unless you are top end speed DSL with no cap, Cable or Fibre.

        It's a service for the affluent and privileged.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Netflix is that it is so cheap and convenient

          About £70 a year in the UK.

          Quid and a bit a week.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: Netflix is that it is so cheap and convenient

            "About £70 a year in the UK.

            Quid and a bit a week."

            And the low, low price reflects the small small catalogue.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Netflix is that it is so cheap and convenient

              No comments from either of the downvoters?

              Just to elaborate, my free 6 month gift subscription effectively ran out after about 3 months since I'd seen everything worth watching by then. There was precious little new content arriving so I had no qualms about not renewing and simply let it lapse.

              From what I've seen in these comment columns in the past, only the US Netflix has a decent catalogue. Pretty much every "foreign" market Netflix operates in has a poor subset of the US catalogue.

              I don't really care whether it's the fault of Netflix or the IP owners, but it's a much poorer experience unless you are in the US

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Netflix is that it is so cheap and convenient

                > No comments from either of the downvoters?

                Not a downvoter (I don't downvote people as a general rule) but I agree that the catalogue could be better.

                Not sure why it is so poor in Canada unless the cable companies here pretty much have the content sewn up to exclude Netflix and their ilk.

                When I visited my folks in the UK, the catalogue there wasn't great but was quite a lot different so there was quite a bit of stuff that I was interested that I could watch there. Watched through some "Continuum" which was a bit of fun which we have had on the TV here but not on Netflix thus far AFAICS.

                Interesting how Netflix are funding quite a bit of watchable stuff, like Sense8 and Jessica Jones which were both a good watch.

                There will be a lot more of this kind of thing in the future. I'm not a big fan of most of the blockbusters which I variously find quite boring and I'm not the kind of person that has to see stuff as soon as it comes out. However, I do have plans one evening to watch "Avengers, Age of Ultron" which I didn't catch at the cinema.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Netflix is that it is so cheap and convenient

                US Netflix doesn't have a huge selection either. If I want to watch something in particular, 9 times out of 10 they don't have it. Their metadata is crap, their recommendation engine is crap, their users' ratings are hit or miss. But I've been pleasantly surprised by some of the random stuff on there.

                If you want access to everything, however, you're looking at 4-5 streaming subscriptions, with various technical quirks, at a price of $50/mo on top of high-speed internet... or Torrents.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Netflix is that it is so cheap and convenient

                  And speaking of Torrents: for the price of Comcast service, it really ought to include some sort of safe harbour immunity. No six strikes, no legal risk, just a bandwidth cap.

              3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: Netflix is that it is so cheap and convenient

                Just to elaborate, my free 6 month gift subscription effectively ran out after about 3 months since I'd seen everything worth watching by then.

                Is it possible that other people might reasonably have different definitions of "everything worth watching"? Or that they might watch at a slower pace? Or enjoy watching some content more than once?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Netflix is that it is so cheap and convenient

                  > Or enjoy watching some content more than once?

                  Indeed, my kids watch Start Trek TNG all the time. They've seen all the seasons many times over.

                  Once upon a time I would have gone out and got the DVDs for something that is watched so much (and I might yet) but having instant access to all the episodes at the touch of a button is pretty handy.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Netflix is that it is so cheap and convenient

          > Not cheap. It's a huge amount a year.

          Depends where you are. Here in Canada it's $8/month for up to 4 people watching different stuff independently. No ads. Watch whatever you want whenever on pretty much any platform.

          That's about 4 quid a month in imperial money which I think is pretty cheap.

          Despite my DRM objections above, it's crazy cheap and convenient. I can't see how it could be any cheaper for the service.

          1. Christian Berger Silver badge

            Could be cheaper

            "Despite my DRM objections above, it's crazy cheap and convenient. I can't see how it could be any cheaper for the service."

            Well DRM systems are rather expensive. So ditching it could easily lower the costs. Also it would make the market explode and lower costs because the one off costs are more easily recovered.

            A good example for this is broadcast television. It manages to produce a variety of different contents for a comparatively small fee. And obviously it's DRM free.

        3. Greg J Preece

          Re: Netflix is that it is so cheap and convenient

          Not cheap. It's a huge amount a year.

          What?

          My Netflix subscription is $8 a month. 4GBP. How much is a basic Sky package?

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        "The Hollywood wonks care more about control than they care about offering a service that people can use more easily than Bittorrent clients."

        Well done for encapsulating the entire problem into a single sentence. Up-voted.

      5. DrXym Silver badge

        "The reality of services like Netflix is that it is so cheap and convenient, why would anybody go to the trouble of copying their stuff? The only actual effect of DRM is that it makes it so I cannot use my Linux box to watch Netflix and I'm a paying subscriber."

        But people go to the effort. Visit a pirate site you'd see all of the Netflix shows up there.

        Which may beg the question why they bother to encrypt. The answer to that is they HAVE to contractually. Even for their own stuff it still has benefits since the pirated copies are re-encodes rather than the pristine originals and may contain watermarks. It's also more hassle to pirates since they have to capture the movie in realtime and re-encode it. At the very least it stops casual piracy - people saving content straight to disk and cancelling their subs.

      6. MacroRodent Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Why one would like a personal copy of Netflix material

        The reality of services like Netflix is that it is so cheap and convenient, why would anybody go to the trouble of copying their stuff?

        For later viewing, if I see something I really like. I have found the hard way that Netflix keeps many films for only a limited period, probably they have licensed them from the movie companies that way. So if you want to see something a year later, it is not necessarily there any more.

        Of course I can go buy a DVD or a Blu-Ray, but sometimes these are not available where I live.

    3. TeeCee Gold badge

      That thar fight you mention.....

      As even the spanking new Snapdragon 820 ships with HW support for H.264 / H.265 only, according to the specs on the Qualcomm website, I think that one's pretty much over.

      Anyone who wants to support mobile has a choice of 264/265, decoding in software, with the attendant overhead and really crappy battery life, or holding everything in all resolutions in both formats(!)

      VP9 ain't going anywhere until the mainstream SoCs have been offering HW decode for it for at least a couple of years.

  2. Spender

    ...of the dumbest ideas from dumbville

    If experience has taught us anything, it's that there's no way that embedding a closed-source Adobe plugin at the heart of a browser isn't a good idea.

    ...because their previous form is impeccable.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: ...of the dumbest ideas from dumbville

      Yes, Adobe DRM added to ePub open standard: Books that tell someone what page you are on, and in the clear too!

      Adobe DRM on PDFs, often scans of Public domain documents.

      Purchased downloads and media should NEVER have DRM. It's immoral.

      DRM on Streaming? Well, a decent HD camera and 42" HD monitor defeats it.

      DRM is pointless and immoral. It only makes life more awkward for ordinary users, never stops commercial pirates and only for a short while stops casual home "pirates". Yet removes consumer rights, adds restrictions not in Berne Convention on copyright, allows corporations to "landgrab" public domain works and retain restrictions when copyright should have expired.

      Some contracts and so called licences on Digital Downloads (not streaming) may not even be enforceable.

      Did I mention DRM is pointless and immoral?

      Well. I boycott pay TV and Subscription Streaming.

      1. graeme leggett

        Re: ...of the dumbest ideas from dumbville

        DRM Pointless? - possibly

        DRM Immoral? - having a hard time seeing that as an absolute intrinsic property of DRM. I can see it being applied immorally but in and of itself - no.

      2. DF118

        Re: ...of the dumbest ideas from dumbville

        DRM on Streaming? Well, a decent HD camera and 42" HD monitor defeats it.

        And what you get is a crap copy with saturated colours, bloom and excessive motion blur, assuming you don't get crazy flicker. Far better (not to mention cheaper and less hassle) capturing video directly from a VM.

    2. Greg J Preece

      Re: ...of the dumbest ideas from dumbville

      Except that in this case it can be easily switched out by the provider on a provider-by-provider basis, and in a way that is seamless to the end user. It's therefore far less of an issue than Flash.

  3. Will 28

    Silverlight end of life in 2021?

    If you believe MS I assume that is? It's end of life right now for everyone else. Chrome won't run it any more, Firefox will ditch it very soon, even the new Windows browser "Edge" won't run it.

    People are rushing to ditch SilverLight right now, I very much doubt it will be around beyond next year. In 2021 when it officially ticks over, nobody will notice.

    It's shame in some ways. Hate MS all you like, detest plug-ins as much as you want, but I doubt that many people would say they wouldn't like a cross browser supported XAML driven web site with a strongly typed language backing it. It speeds up dev time enormously. My hope is that someone brings in some kind of XAML to HTML framework (it gets suggested by various people, but I don't ever see anyone really committing to it).

    1. Gerhard Mack

      Re: Silverlight end of life in 2021?

      The problem is that it's cross browser but not cross platform. You have

      A: Windows (X86)

      B: Mac (X86)

      C: Windows phone

      Windows on ARM? not there.

      Linux? Android? iPhone? no supported

      And even between Mac and Windows things like networking work differently so that's not cross platform either.

      .

  4. ILikeDrinkingBeer

    Have an upvote for an incredibly reasonable comment.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Delicate balance

    Including DRM in Firefox was unavoidable if Mozilla wanted their browser to remain relevant. For people to use it, it has to be at least as useful as its proprietary competitors. Turning it off is always an option, just as it was with Flash. There's a delicate balance between honoring open source principles and staying in business. But as someone who has gone several extra miles to use and support open source, it's disappointing to have to switch over to a proprietary product like Chrome on my Linux-only workstations and HTPCs. I don't really blame Mozilla for that, they decided to favor Windows over free operating systems in adding DRM, in no small part because they really didn't want to deal with the outrage from the purists in the community. About the only thing I can fault them with is in underestimating the influence of those who use Linux and other free operating systems as their daily driver -- something they're not alone in, especially if you account for the psychological impact of seeing that sea of Apple logos in the audience at conferences.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Delicate balance

      I agree, Mozilla has to include it in Firefox. They have to include it on all platforms of Firefox too, somehow. Better than messing up the GUI again...

      1. davidp231

        Re: Delicate balance

        Sssshhhhhhhh! They'll hear you!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Game of Thrones

    On Netflix? I get the inference, I just question the accuracy of the headline subtext.

  7. IcyBee

    Game of Thrones is on Netflix? I thought it was a Sky exclusive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think you'll find it was HBO. Sky then get it off them.

  8. x 7 Silver badge

    whats Netflix? Does it have as good a choice of films as The Pirate Bay?

  9. phil dude
    Linux

    like all technology....

    a) DRM can be used to make sure executable content is unadulterated.

    b) DRM can be used to force rent-seeking compliance.

    I suspect the eagerness for b) will come at the cost of a).

    P.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: like all technology....

      "a) DRM can be used to make sure executable content is unadulterated."

      Urm, no, that would be digital signing. DRM is absolutely unnecessary for that purpose.

  10. Tomato42 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Sad, really...

    All this effort just so that videos would show up with 24h delay instead of an 2h delay on Pirate Bay.

    Just to make few suits in Hollywood think they have "achieved" something.

  11. 0laf Silver badge

    Amazon

    Wonder if Amazon will follow suite and start using HTML5?

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Amazon

      That's "follow suit", as in a card game.

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