Netflix welcomes Mac users to 'Watch Instantly'

Through Microsoft's Silverlight technology, video rental site enables its movie-streaming player to work for subscribers who use Intel-based Apple computers.

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Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
2 min read

Netflix has expanded its "Watch Instantly" movie-streaming player to include Macintosh-owning subscribers.

The company announced on its blog Friday that it is past its first phase of beta testing and invited subscribers who wanted to opt in to do so. But the company had a few warnings for prospective users:

• There may be bugs. We are logging all errors, but if you run into problems, you can help out by posting details here in the blog comments.

• Not all movies are available to watch with Silverlight. You may notice errors or lower than normal quality when watching certain titles.

• Our new player works on PCs and Intel-based Macs.

• Windows users should be aware that if you opt in, you will need to use Silverlight on all the machines you use to watch instantly.

The company announced on Monday that it would be using Microsoft's Silverlight software to deliver streaming movies not only to PCs, but also to Intel-based Macs. The new Netflix player takes advantage of Play Ready DRM, which is built into Silverlight, for the playback of protected content on both Windows-based PCs and Macs. According to Netflix, this had not been possible with previous technologies.

Netflix members should expect a "faster, easier connection, and a more robust viewing experience with Silverlight," the company said. One of the enhancements is in timeline navigation, which will purportedly improve the use of fast-forwarding and rewinding.

The company also said in the blog post that it has expanded the number of movies and television programs available through the "Watch Instantly" service, but the company still has a long way to go before the service can compete with its DVD selection.