NOW TV subscribers who use Chrome will be in for a sad discovery this week: NOW TV is no longer compatible with Google’s browser.
Sky’s VOD service has been displaying warning messages to its members for a while now, recommending that they use Safari or Firefox instead. But as of this week, Chrome is officially no longer supported. Why? Because of that dreaded word all streamers will have encountered at some point in their viewing lives: Silverlight.
Microsoft’s plug-in has largely replaced Adobe Flash when it comes to online video, offering a more stable and arguably better quality experience. But Microsoft announced a while back that it would eventually discontinue Silverlight in 2021, which has prompted Google to axe its own support for the plug-in. That may not have much impact upon general Internet users, but for VOD watchers who like to view things on their PC or Mac, it can be a niggling issue.
Amazon Prime users get a warning too now that Chrome is no longer supporting Silverlight – Google’s browser defaults to a Flash version of the Amazon video player instead, which (if you are using a Mac) can often lead to browser crashes.
“You can switch to Firefox or Safari for a better video experience using the Microsoft Silverlight Player,” suggests Amazon.
Netflix, however has gone one step further by ditching both Silverlight and Flash in favour of plain HTML5. (You can read a more in-depth blog by their tech team about the switchover here.)
blinkbox has followed suit and done the same thing, using HTML5 for its Chrome playback – although it warns that some users may still encounter some teething problems. (Film4oD, on the other hand, uses Silverlight.)
“Our HTML5 player uses the latest technology to allow us to stream movies and TV shows to the latest versions of Google Chrome for Windows PC and Mac computers quickly and securely in up to HD without installing any extra plugins,” says blinkbox.
“However, because our HTML5 player is newer than the Silverlight player we use in other browsers like Internet Explorer and Firefox on PCs and Safari on Mac, you might need a faster broadband connection than usual to have the same experience that you’re used to, whilst we work to further optimise streaming using HTML5.”
“Because of this, for the best experience,” blinkbox concludes, “we recommend that you use a different browser right now, particularly if your internet speed is close to our recommended minimum speed or you’ve got an older computer.”
Both blinkbox and NOW TV have also added another option for PC users that, with the increasingly close relationship between computer and mobile operating systems, may eventually become the simplest future option: both have their own Windows 8.1 apps. You can download NOW TV’s Windows app here – and blinkbox’s app here.