02 December 2011

Why LoveFilm Changed From Flash To Silverlight?

lovefilm.com logo

As of November 30 of 2011, Lovefilm announced that they would be changing from Flash based Video Player to a Silverlight based one.

Why we’re switching from Flash to Silverlight… – LOVEFiLM

Because as surprising it may be to some that really don't know much about Silverlight.

Silverlight is actually still quite superior by default compared to Flash when it comes to Video Streaming. 

Some of the reasons are as they follow:

Smooth Streaming - Adapts to speeds and serves the optimal stream quality based for it on the fly. This in turn helps the performance of the video stream and results in economic advantages for those who adopt Silverlight.

Smart Bandwidth Saver - Apart from counting with Smooth Streaming, Silverlight cuts immediately the loading of a video from the server if the user closes the tab the video player was. Even if the tab was in the background. It also determines a buffer save parameter. Meaning that it will not continue buffering if you leave the video player in a background tab in your browser for more than a certain amount of seconds. These measures saves lots of money in bandwidth.

Better Analytics - Silverlight has always been searchable and indexable. This allows for a better grip when it comes to tracking what is going on with a video stream running in a player.

Better performance - Silverlight has been GPU accelerated since SL3.

Better DRM - If you want and need to lock a video stream. You can fiercely do so. I remember that from a study made last year. It was determined that Silverlight was the most secured way to serve video up to now. 

All this in turn is helped if you also use IIS7 to serve the video. As it also can serve and target closed platforms or devices using Web Stack based Video Players. This is how Microsoft Customers of IIS7 have been able to target iOS and Android.

The most famous company using Silverlight in the Video Streaming space is without a doubt Netflix. Many thought that it was because Reed Hastings was a member of the Microsoft Board, that he choose Silverlight. And while that certainly had something to do with it. It was also the Content Owners  the ones demanding it.

It is not only used for Video as a matter of fact.  It can also secure music streaming and lots of other things. Microsoft used it for Zune.Net browser based music streaming and another European music site used Silverlight Players for the very same reason. Silverlight is actually quite well used around the world. Specially when it comes to E&B LOB RIA’s.


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Anonymous said...

as one user since the switch to silverlight the experience is much worse - it stutters much more and the fails to work at all more.

Avatar X said...


Some initial growing pains are to be expected. But just so you always have the best experience. Make sure you are already running SL5 and that you use the lovefilm site in IE9 if you are in Windows or latest Safari if you are in the mac side.


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