Streaming video and DVD rental site Netflix has launched a new support site for its service, providing an official place for users to find information about technical problems. Funny enough, the official blog post uses glitches with Microsoft’s Silverlight app framework as a poster child for issues that its users might be looking for answers to.
Silverlight has been referred to as Microsoft’s answer to the Adobe Flash framework and Netflix began using it back in 2008 to allow the viewing of its streaming service on, of all things, the Mac. Since then, it has been a constant thorn in the side of Mac users and other Netflix customers alike as its various errors have become common search terms on Google.
Netflix appears to know this, as it uses Silverlight as a poster child for users of the site:
For example, let’s say you are having Silverlight problems, but aren’t exactly sure what to ask. You can simply type in ‘silverlight‘ and be presented with a result set that can then be narrowed down.
True enough, when a search for Silverlight is performed on the new site, it yields dozens of different errors and, theoretically, solutions. Using Silverlight as an example makes sense, because it is a very common source of technical issues encountered when viewing streaming content from the site. Netflix says that this knowledge base will also be indexed by Google, so a regular search through that engine should turn these results up as well.
Netflix has long needed its own official tech support database that provides official answers to the questions many users have had to Google until now, so this is a nice addition. The fact that there are so many results for Silverlight errors does beg the question of why Netflix continues to support the clunky and troublesome framework. A move to HTML5 video containers would be incredibly welcome, if unlikely due to the DRM requirements of content providers. Still, Microsoft, Google and Netflix have submitted a proposal to W3C for a DRM system that is compatible with HTML.
Sadly, a search for ‘html5 support’ reveals no results on the new Support site.