Netflix brings HTML 5 streaming to IE 11 within Windows 8.1, ditching clunky Silverlight

Netflix announced on Wednesday that there was no need to install Microsoft's Silverlight plug-in when going to stream a Netflix movie or television show within the Windows 8.1 Preview, which includes Internet Explorer 11. Instead, Netflix says the latest browser out of Redmond will stream content using HTML 5, rather than Silverlight technology.

Yes, you read that right. We now have a world where you can fire up Netflix and watch a clip without installing a single plug-in, just like YouTube.

Internet Explorer 11 is following Samsung's ARM-based Chromebook, which first offered HTML 5 streaming of Netflix. In April, Netflix wrote on its blog that it envisioned an HTML 5 future. It is working on getting HTML 5 streaming for the content network working within Chrome, which will bring it to Mac users and more Windows users.

The default Netflix streaming via Silverlight has been a frustration among Netflix users for quite sometime, as Microsoft's Silverlight is often clunky when streaming video. Doing away with browser plug-ins not only minimises security vulnerabilities, but improves overall stability and performance given the wide range of devices and browsers that are used by Netflix customers.

The adventurous souls who download the Windows 8.1 Preview will be able to give HTML 5 streaming within Netflix a try. In the meantime, the rest of us will look-on with envy as other browsers play catch-up.