Lovefilm ditches Flash: Another nail in the coffin

With Netflix's imminent UK arrival casting a threatening shadow over Lovefilm, the last thing that the Amazon owned video rental service would have wanted was to have to reshuffle its PC streaming setup.

But that's exactly what has happened after the company was told by the Hollywood bigwigs that Adobe's Flash platform wasn't secure enough.

"We’ve been asked to make this change by the studios who provide us with the films in the first place, because they’re insisting – understandably – that we use robust security to protect their films from piracy, and they see the Silverlight software as more secure than Flash," said Lovefilm's video on demand project manager Paul Thompson. "Simply put: without meeting their requirements, we’d suddenly have next-to-no films to stream online."

The studios snub is just another kick in the teeth for Adobe's ailing platform. It recently admitted that the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs was right in predicting that Flash was no good for mobile devices and the format is coming under increased pressure online from new standards such as HTML5.

However, Lovefilm won't be treading the HTML5 path - yet. It is, instead transferring its PC based streaming to Microsoft's Silverlight platform.

Thompson explained: "HTML 5 was considered, but video streaming via HTML 5 is an open-sourced solution that is still maturing, and there are simply no security protections available within HTML 5 that would allow us to stream content securely.

"Silverlight offers the best combination of security, quality and customer experience from a small number of available solutions, and the majority of our customers already have Silverlight installed."

Silverlight does mean though that there's now no support for non-Intel Macs, Macs on OS X 10.5 or lower, or Linux machines. Also, we wouldn't be surprised to see Lovefilm having to switch again in the near future - there are more than a few murmurs that Microsoft hasn't got long terms plans for Silverlight.

It seems at this point though, anything is better than Flash.



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