Transitioning away from proprietary video delivery systems, Microsoft announced that the upcoming Edge browser, available in Windows 10, will not support Silverlight for video playback. Originally developed by Microsoft as an alternative to Adobe Flash, development around Silverlight was focused on streaming media, but became obsolete over time as support for a more universal standard in HTML5 was being developed. Microsoft actively stopped developing Silverlight in 2013 and competing browsers, like Google Chrome, are ending support for Silverlight.
Detailed in a post on the Microsoft Edge development blog, the development team writes “Support for ActiveX has been discontinued in Microsoft Edge, and that includes removing support for Silverlight. The reasons for this have been discussed in previous blogs and include the emergence of viable and secure media solutions based on HTML5 extensions. Microsoft continues to support Silverlight, and Silverlight out-of-browser apps can continue to use it.”
The team continues “Silverlight will also continue to be supported in Internet Explorer 11, so sites continue to have Silverlight options in Windows 10. At the same time, we encourage companies that are using Silverlight for media to begin the transition to DASH/MSE/CENC/EME based designs and to follow a single, DRM-interoperable encoding work flow enabled by CENC. This represents the most broadly interoperable solution across browsers, platforms, content and devices going forward.”
Interestingly, streaming giant Netflix previously used Silverlight to deliver video to customers that were streaming content on desktop and laptop computers. After Microsoft announced an end to Silverlight development, Netflix quickly shifted to utilizing HTML5 to deliver video to subscribers.
The Microsoft Edge browser will be available to Windows 10 users at the end of the month. Microsoft plans to gradually roll out Windows 10 upgrades to consumers starting on July 29, but participants in the Windows Insider program will be the first to gain access to the new operating system.