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Come one, come all: Netflix for everyone!

Like to watch movies with “Watch Instantly” on Netflix? Wish you could watch them on a Mac, or with Linux? You’re in for a treat: Netflix has you covered, compliments of Microsoft Silverlight.

Silverlight – Microsoft’s answer to Adobe Flash – supports the publisher-mandated DRM that was previously only the domain of Windows Media Player, meaning that Watch Instantly users had to run Windows in order to watch content. Silverlight’s DRM support, dubbed PlayReady, is planned or already working for all the platforms Silverlight supports.

The decision to switch from Windows Media brings Watch Instantly to a wide variety of platforms, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and – in plans a bit further off – Konqueror and Opera.

Netflix previously said that it wanted to bring further support “as soon as a studio-approved DRM [solution] … is available to us,” noting that the company is “required” to use some form of DRM at the movie industry’s request.

It’s unfortunate that the main sticking point was DRM, but given today’s skyrocketing movie production budgets? Them’s the breaks, as they say. Unlike their music industry counterparts, movie studios have yet to venture far from their cozy little DRM island, sustained in part from a far more receptive stable of hardware manufacturers.

Officially, the word is that Watch Instantly will only add support for Intel-based Macs, but most of the blogosphere speculates it will be available on Linux as soon as PlayReady is working in Silverlight’s Linux counterpart, called Moonlight.

The “second-gen,” Silverlight-powered Netflix player is currently only available to a “small segment of new subscribers,” according to BetaNews, but should hit general availability sometime before the end of 2008. Xbox 360 users will also see Watch Instantly support later this month when Microsoft delivers its “New Xbox Experience” dashboard upgrade, complete with Netflix “Instant Queue” support.





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