From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Sunday, February 27, 2011

So long, Netflix!

Dear Netflix,

Frankly, I am tired of being treated as a second class citizen with respect to your watch-instantly technology.

Your inability to deliver a streaming client that is compatible with Ubuntu and Linux web browsers (such as Firefox or Chromium) is costing you this long-time customer.

Your choice of Microsoft Silverlight as the delivery platform for video streaming was ill-advised and very unfortunate.  In today's world of HTML5 and Flash, it's just downright sad to use such an incompatible, exclusionary format (hint: the root of the problem is in Microsoft's Playready DRM which is explicitly not Linux-compatible).  I have patiently waited and hoped and communicated such frustrations in comments on your blog.

I was relieved earlier this week to see that the Amazon Prime video streaming service supports Ubuntu's web browsers quite well, in fact!  I am inconsolably frustrated that you have been unable to do the same over the last 3 years, and I'm afraid that you've just been lapped by the competition.


So as of today, my household is no longer an active Netflix account.  I suggest that you make an effort to be a little less discriminatory against your customers' choices of operating systems and web browsers in the future.

So long,
Dustin Kirkland

18 comments:

  1. If Silverlight was the delivery platform then Moonlight should have worked fine for it, should it not?

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  2. hyperair,

    If it were that easy to work around, I would have gladly given in and used Moonlight. Sadly, it doesn't seem to be compatible with Moonlight.

    Dustin

    ReplyDelete
  3. I really don't understand why lot of sites use silverlight.
    For instance, RAI, the Italian National (and PUBLIC) TV channels are using silverlight as well :(

    ReplyDelete
  4. hyperair,

    The following post explains why Netflix doesn't work on Moonlight :
    http://jacksonh.tumblr.com/post/965806498/how-to-watch-netflix-streaming-movies-on-linux-with

    tl;dr : it's the DRM

    ReplyDelete
  5. Bertrand,

    Thanks for the pointer. That was a very informative read. I have linked to it directly in my post.

    Cheers,
    Dustin

    ReplyDelete
  6. Amazon Link doesn't work... 404... I was hoping you had a page that specifically said Linux was supported :).

    ReplyDelete
  7. Isnt the Roku Netflix Player appliance box linux based?

    http://www.hackingnetflix.com/2008/06/rokus-netflix-2.html

    Seems like its completely within Netflix's demostrated ability to field(or allow) a linux streaming client. They _have_ done it as an embedded solution.

    Why that embedded solution hasn't also been made available as a for-pay installable client solution for linux desktops is a mystery to me.

    -jef

    ReplyDelete
  8. Jef, I certainly have to think it would be well within their ability to create such a client.

    My suspicion is that Netflix is on a trajectory to be acquired by Microsoft, such that Microsoft has something to couple exclusively with xBox, and compete with Youtube (and others). Purely suspicion...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Link updated. I don't see anything that specifically states Linux support, but I will paste a screenshot...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Dustin,

    Doubtful.. Netflix is sitting on a mountain of IPO cash still. Not a Google sized mountain, but its still enough that its more likely Netflix will buy other startups to expand their service offerings. It would be really really expensive for anyone to buy them out. I just don't see it happening.

    -jef

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  11. They probably have no problems licensing it to embedded devices because OSS has enough market share out there that they have to support it. (My TV came with a copy of the GPL, people love cheap roku's, tivos, etc.) They probably don't feel there's a market for normal desktops and it's not worth the bother to them.

    I cancelled Netflix about 6 months ago because I got sick of waiting (and frankly the selection wasn't as improving as fast as I hoped). I was a loyal customer for 3 years and dutifully filled out my customer support mails they sent asking for linux support. Oh well.

    I already have Amazon Prime so this is just a bonus for me, and with Flash 10.2 not sucking nearly as much as it did before (but still not ideal).

    That said, the selection with both services is pretty abysmal.

    ReplyDelete
  12. They probably have no problems licensing it to embedded devices because OSS has enough market share out there that they have to support it. (My TV came with a copy of the GPL, people love cheap roku's, tivos, etc.) They probably don't feel there's a market for normal desktops and it's not worth the bother to them.

    I cancelled Netflix about 6 months ago because I got sick of waiting (and frankly the selection wasn't as improving as fast as I hoped). I was a loyal customer for 3 years and dutifully filled out my customer support mails they sent asking for linux support. Oh well.

    I already have Amazon Prime so this is just a bonus for me, and with Flash 10.2 not sucking nearly as much as it did before (but still not ideal).

    That said, the selection with both services is pretty abysmal.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Amazon Prime looks nice. Too bad it's only for US residents, as most of these services...

    ReplyDelete
  14. Raphaƫl,

    Yes, that's unfortunately very true, and yet another way that both of these services discriminate against users.

    I was traveling in London yesterday, and used a t1.micro Amazon EC2 in the US East availability zone, installed squid on it, set up an ssh port forward of 3128:localhost:3128, configured FoxyProxy, and then I was streaming from Amazon Prime to London. Hacky, but functional...

    Dustin

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  15. Even MS isn't keen on Silverlight anymore. ;-)

    http://mashable.com/2010/10/29/microsoft-silverlgiht-html/

    ReplyDelete
  16. I look at your screenshot of the browser, and think to myself "Holy Snot, that's a lot of wasted real estate!". Check it out:

    * GNOME panel
    * Firefox title bar
    * Menu bar
    * Tab bar
    * Web page
    * Firefox status bar
    * Another GNOME panel

    Maybe it's just me, but doesn't your web experience feel cramped vertically?

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  17. It is not true that they don't support Linux, in fact I use a Roku box to view netflix and apparently Roku uses Linux (on MIPS). I have been following this for quiet sometime now and as we all know the issue is DRM. I saw a demo of andriod phone (on youtube) that could play netflix, thanks to Qualcomm. http://youtu.be/8H5lgU7JP-A

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  18. Manjo,

    DRM, Silverlight, or whatnot...they don't support Ubuntu...

    Dustin

    ReplyDelete

Please do not use blog comments for support requests! Blog comments do not scale well to this effect.

Instead, please use Launchpad for Bugs and StackExchange for Questions.
* bugs.launchpad.net
* stackexchange.com

Thanks,
:-Dustin

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