robinadr

Tagged HTML5

One of the OS X Yosemite features I had been looking forward to brings Netflix HTML5 streams to Safari. It’s supposed to drastically increase battery life and also takes away the last reason to have Silverlight installed.

But I uninstalled Silverlight and Netflix wouldn’t stop telling me I need to install Silverlight to watch anything. I found these requirements listed on the support site:

  • Early 2011 model or newer Mac
  • OS X 10.11 [sic] Yosemite or newer OS
  • Certain late Intel Sandy Bridge or any Intel Ivy Bridge/Haswell processor

As someone with a mid-2010 MacBook Pro that has a Core 2 Duo, this was really disappointing to discover. But it turns out Chrome has included the DRM components necessary for a while. Watching Netflix with HTML5 is as simple as installing Chrome.

If it doesn’t work right away, try going to chrome://components and seeing if the WidevineCdm component is installed. If it isn’t, click Check for update and it should install it. Once I installed this, Netflix started to stream perfectly without a trace of Silverlight in my system.

From the Netflix blog today:

If you’re in Apple’s Mac Developer Program, or soon the OS X Beta Program, you can install the beta version of OS X Yosemite. With the OS X Yosemite Beta on a modern Mac, you can visit Netflix.com today in Safari and watch your favorite movies and TV shows using HTML5 video without the need to install any plugins.

This might be one of my favorite details coming out of Yosemite so far. I’ve been waiting for the day I can uninstall Silverlight for good. Netflix is claiming another 2 hours of battery while streaming in 1080p on a MacBook Air, which is pretty impressive.

It turns out Netflix already uses HTML5 for Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 8.1, so that has gone from being useless to being my Netflix app.

Update: I’ve made a bookmarklet to create a popup window of the HLS stream if you’re using Safari on Mac OS X.

One of the last things I still use Flash for is watching streams on Twitch. I don’t really mind it on my desktop, but it drains battery like crazy on my MacBook Pro. My battery lasts for about 1.5 hours while watching streams, compared to around 4 hours for normal use (browsing the web, etc.).

It turns out Twitch did some work on streaming with HLS, but there doesn’t seem to have been much progress and the ETAs given in that thread by Twitch staff have long passed. HLS is Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming protocol, which is supported by Safari on Mac OS X and iOS, as well as various other clients.

The trick to watch a stream through HLS is just adding /hls to the URL, for example:

http://www.twitch.tv/riotgames/hls

The above URL looks like this in Safari (but will work in any HLS player):

Twitch using HLS

A great part of this is that only one ad seems to run — right when you open the stream. After that, it’s ad-free for as long as I’ve been using it. I had to disable Adblock for the stream to load, using the filter rule below. It seems if you block the ad video, the stream won’t load at all.

@@|http://www.twitch.tv/*/hls|$document

Disadvantages

  • Quality is automatically determined, and there’s no manual setting
  • You have to play the ad at the beginning for it to work, but that’s the only one
  • No access to chat, but this could be considered a feature…

Power Savings

Example of Flash being power hungry

As you can see in this screenshot of Activity Monitor’s Energy tab, the Flash player was using more than 5 times the energy that the native HLS player is using.