Lovefilm drops Flash, kills Linux support

The UK online film provider Lovefilm is dropping Adobe's Flash as its delivery technology in favour of Microsoft's Silverlight.The move will mean no more Lovefilm access for those running Linux/Unix systems or older Macs that use PowerPC chips rather than Intel.

The UK online film provider Lovefilm is dropping Adobe's Flash as its delivery technology in favour of Microsoft's Silverlight.

The move will mean no more Lovefilm access for those running Linux/Unix systems or older Macs that use PowerPC chips rather than Intel. In a blog post on Wednesday, Lovefilm said the studios had demanded the change.

"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," streaming project manager Paul Thompson wrote.

"Simply put: without meeting their requirements, we'd suddenly have next-to-no films to stream online," Thompson added.

The decision to drop Flash only affects PCs and Macs, not streaming to devices such as the PS3 or internet TVs.

Interestingly, Lovefilm said it had discounted the nascent HTML5 as it is open source and does not provide the digital rights management capabilities the studios want.

"HTML5 was considered, but video streaming via HTML5 is an open-sourced solution that is still maturing, and there are simply no security protections available within HTML5 that would allow us to stream content securely," Thompson said.

Lovefilm will stream in Silverlight and Flash concurrently until the first week of the new year, when users will be prompted to "make the switch".

Microsoft is poised to release Silverlight 5 at some point soon — it missed its own November deadline. However, the company is also pushing HTML5 as a preferred way of developing Windows 8 apps, and has repeatedly refused to comment on its plans for Silverlight after version 5. This has led some to speculate that this next major release may be the last.

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