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Re: Encrypted Media proposal (was RE: ISSUE-179: av_param - Chairs Solicit Alternate Proposals or Counter-Proposals)

From: Mark Watson <watsonm@netflix.com>
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 22:35:28 +0000
To: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>
CC: "<public-html@w3.org>" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <B2651A92-9691-4DAB-93D8-437453878F56@netflix.com>

On Feb 27, 2012, at 2:09 PM, Boris Zbarsky wrote:

> On 2/27/12 4:55 PM, Mark Watson wrote:
>> Someone launching a new browser today would need to ensure that plugins like Flash and Silverlight were supported in order to support many existing commercial video services, including Netflix. That decision is not even in their hands, since Adobe and Microsoft respectively would need to take a decision to support the new browser.
> I can't speak to Silverlight, but a browser that correctly implements NPAPI (which is openly documented and has no legal barriers to implementing it, last I checked) should automatically end up with Flash support last I checked, on platforms where the NPAPI version of Flash is available.

Maybe technically, in principle, yes. But the Adobe web site lists specific versions of desktop browsers for specific platforms that are "supported" and specific devices that are "certified". And it isn't supported unless it's tested. Even if the full Flash test suite was available from Adobe then a new browser maker would still need to work with Adobe to fix any bugs and get onto their "supported" or "certified" list.

My (albeit limited) experience with NPAPI suggests that just implementing from the specification probably isn't enough to have something as complex as Flash "just work".

>> With our proposal, the new browser would need instead to support one or more Content Decryption Modules.
> Right; the question is what that would actually entail.
>> This is a much simpler task over which the new browser developer has greater control and more options.
> That's not obvious a priori.  I'd love to understand why this is the case.

It's simpler because the functionality in a CDM is a very small subset of the functionality in a plugin like Flash or Silverlight. The engineering costs to create and maintain a CDM is much less than the engineering effort to create and maintain a full-featured plugin like Flash or Silverlight. The licensing issues are no worse, since the functionality is a subset. Companies interested in commercial video services might be motivated to create and distribute CDMs when they would not be interested in creating and distributing full-fledged plugins.

These are obviously fairly general statements - the proposal doesn't prescribe a model for where CDMs will come from and we appreciate opinions and ideas on that topic.


> -Boris
Received on Monday, 27 February 2012 22:35:57 UTC

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