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Silverlight may possibly work okay on Firefox for Mac, but it absolutely does NOT work properly in Safari for the Mac... the entire video & audio track freezes once every 6 seconds, and then when it resumes playing, it has skipped forward over some stuff that you missed. It is absolutely HORRIBLE. It is UNWATCHABLE. It is the absolute WORST video watching experience on the entire web. And if you dare call Netflix for customer service, the pompous Netflix operators will tell you to CALL MICROSOFT. These Netflix people are crooks... we consumers don't have a business relationship with Microsoft -- you do, Netflix! Netflix, you should be the one who calls Microsoft and gets them to fix it!


On both Windows and Mac OS X, the Silverlight streams exhibit tearing that is distracting enough to render many films unwatchable.


The old Netflix player worked great at 1920x1200 on my computer. If I try Silverlight at that resolution I get the stuttering and tearing that people have been talking about.

Turning down my resolution a couple notches makes Silverlight run just as well as the old player and with, as far as I can tell, the same quality.

There are no other online video player that have any problems at 1920x1200. (YouTube, Hulu, ABC, South Park, etc...)

My computer is 3.0GHz Core2 Duo, GeForce 9800 GTX, 4GB Ram, Vista SP1. I have a BluRay drive installed and I can play play BluRay movies at my desktop resolution without a hitch. Whether it's Netflix's problem or Microsoft's problem, I don't care -- I shouldn't be having any issues.

I realize that playing movies at 1920x1200 doesn't improve video quality over their native resolutions, but it's a pain to switch from my desktop format and back.

(Actually, I've found a nice little program that will automatically change my resolution when I run a program and back when I close it, but it requires a bit of technical know-how. http://www.12noon.com/displaychanger.htm)

I do, however, love Netflix streaming on my XBox. :-)


I've never actually had any problems with the silverlight player....


Jerky video. Video freezes at times while audio continues. Never had a problem with the old player, but I was FORCED to update to silverlight. I exceed all requirements listed by netflix. They need to fix it, allow us to revert to the old player, or adjust their minimum system requirements accordingly. Watch Instantly is now unwatchable for me. Just gonna return dvds quicker now and become a low to no profit customer for netflix. Thanks guys, kudos.


I don't have problems with video quality, provided my ISP plays nice (when I get less than steller speeds, quality does suffer.) It's worth pointing out that without the feature that's present on other Netflix devices that show you current video quality (in bars or dots) even a side by side comparison could be skewed.
The real irony is that I've filed several bugs with MS because the Netflix Silverlight Player crashes IE8 (badly). I have no problems with FF or IE7.
Personally I like Xbox streaming enough that I'd rather have that than WMP streaming.


This is bunk. I keep seeing all these people screaming about Silverlight, but it doesn't ring true. It seems like it's more of a protest against Silverlight itself, and less of an actual critique of its capabilities.

Streaming works fine right now on my MacBook, my Xbox 360, and my Roku player. No skips, no problems, no issues of any sort (except on the 360, when it has rebuffered once in a while, but I blame that on the 360's poor memory management for streaming).

When using the MacBook, I play my movies on an external screen at full HD resolution with no problems. The Roku is connected to a 36" HDTV, and it looks great.

I see no significant differences between the old streaming and new new Silverlight streaming, except that I can watch on a MacBook without having to boot to Windows.

If you ask me, a lot of this complaining comes from Mac-haters who simply don't want to share this Netflix feature with OS X users. Some of it comes from people who have a fundamental problem with Silverlight's DRM or lack of Closed Captions. Many are people with cruddy components in their computers or a Cable ISP that bottlenecks their bandwidth from Netflix's servers. A great many of these Silverlight haters are just Flash loyalists who hate to see a competing product get widespread use.

For me, Silverlight has been great. It works on everything without a hitch.

Now, I wouldn't mind if they kept the old format as an option for those who want it... but that won't happen because the studios aren't fond of it. If we go back to the Windows Media player, we'll see the quantity of films available for Netflix Watch Instantly drop, and then all the Silverlight complainers will be complaining about the lack of any good movies.

I think this Silverlight backlash is much ado about nothing. The majority of us have seen no problems, and have actually GAINED functionality thanks to Silverlight.

This is little more than tech xenophobia, if you ask me.


Well let's not it's slashdot as well. The MS-haters over there will rail against anything. If Bill gates cures cancer, they won't take it.

(Oh the slashdotters are going to hate me.)


I'm glad I'm doing all my streaming over the xbox now

Jeff from Knowzy

Speaking of Slashdot, their piece claims that the maximum bitrate under Silverlight is half that of the Flash player:

The marked decrease in video quality seen by those who have switched is perhaps not surprising, since the old player could utilize bit streams up to twice as fast as the new one, but this information is nowhere given out by NF.

Has anyone verified this claim?

Moreover, is the video codec the same under both players?

Even if it is an improved codec, chopping the bitrate in half will almost certainly lead to lower picture quality.


Thanks for that information about the lower bit rate, Jeff. That certainly would explain the poor image quality. I suspected something like that because streams loaded almost instantly, which would seem like a good thing, but I would rather wait a few more seconds and get the superior image quality of the old player. (My connection is around 6800 kbps, BTW, and I can assure the doubters that there are no technical glitches at my end or on the part of my isp.)

And ZeroCorpse, you're silly.


It's not awful quality, although on older PCs it will suffer more because it's processor-intensive. Mine is a 2003-era model and sometimes there are pauses, tearing and blockiness during dark scenes. But seriously, since I'm still watching the majority of my movies on DVD, I look at it as just a nice bonus.

I CERTAINLY am glad Netflix switched to Silverlight because it's cross platform and doesn't require the perverse hoops to jump through that the old player did - before SL I never even used Netflix streaming on my PC - and I could have.


I was using the old player on a PC. I signed on with a Mac, looked at a title, and accidentally hit the "play now" button. It prompted me to install Silverlight, but I just hit the Back button and got out of the screen.

BUT... That was enough for Netflix to "flag" my account for Silverlight, and my PC would no longer stream movies until I installed Silverlight on it!

I had been avoiding Silverlight just because a PC is a delicate thing. Everything was working perfectly and I didn't want to muck it up.

But having been cornered into it, I then did install Silverlight, on both machines. On one hand, it's a plus, because now I can use the Mac. But I think I did get better results on the PC with the previous system. Now I just don't use the PC as much. I would rather have left the PC the way it was, and I think it's weird that they set it up so that if you install SIlverlight on your Mac, you're forced to change your PC too.


I'm not a flash fan, I hate Adobe bloatware and use FoxIT for PDFs.
I'm not a MS hater, most of my machines run Windows.
The codec used by most streaming sites is x264, though most have only recently switched from FV1.
The codec used by NetFlix is VC1 which just doesn't cut it at low bandwidth streams.
It's not all the players fault, flash or silverlight based, thats causing problems. Silverlight supports x264.
Please NetFlix, use open standards.


Silverlight is the best thing that happened to Netflix Instant Watching for me. I have a very old pc in the basement that was simply incapable of handling WMP requirements. It was constantly stuttering and looked horrible. Now I can use it fine and am able to do my workouts to 80s TV shows thanks to Silverlight, Firefox, and Windows XP.


Silverblight is horrible low quality Microsoft crap.

"Media Reality Check: Microsoft Silverlight a Big Programming Scam"

“Silverlight is cancer on the Web.” It is intended to restrict or altogether block access to information, discriminate to promote Microsoft’s business agenda, force developers and users to purchase software from a monopolist, harm digital durability and curation (DRM, specifications), and stifle search engines too"


James B

I have noticed that the quality looks worse with the silverlight player.


Wow, there are some misconceptions going on here.

There is no going back because the Windows Media Player version is no longer supported, i.e. it will not work. Plus Netflix fired most of its original tech support, so no one is there to troubleshoot WMP problems anyway. Yes, you were forced to upgrade to Silverlight, but that's like saying you were forced to jump from a sinking ship.

The old player was WMP, not a flash player. Netflix has never used flash because they are required by the studios to use DRM.

Safari and IE8 are not officially supported browsers, so of course you're going to have problems. Use Firefox.

Silverlight has far fewer problems than the WMP version did. Remember all the whiny Mac fanboys complaining about not being able to use IW? Where are they now? Netflix gets far fewer complaints about Silverlight than it ever did with the WMP version. Yes, some people have problems, but far fewer than before.

Personally, I've never had any issues with Silverlight. It works faster and has better quality than the old player.

John Campbell

Personally, I don't care about the image quality. I'm annoyed that the movie doesn't get cached on my computer.

My roommate and I don't have the fastest internet. It's broadband, but not fast enough to stream netflix movies. To compensate, we've been starting a movie playing in the morning before work, then rewinding it and watching it with no interruptions later.

The new silverlight player doesn't even buffer more than a few minutes, leaving us to watch our movies in fifteen minute chunks.

Suffice to say, we're no longer able to stream netflix movies.

It's certainly not netflix's fault that our internet isn't fast enough, but at least the old player worked with all speeds.

Christopher Girard

I have been experiencing nothing but problems with the new player... And I want the old one back... Continual errors, freezes and crashes... Old player worked fine.

If this keeps up I may have to cancel my subscription.


Very frustrating, it takes 4-5 minutes to initially download as opposed to 1-2 minutes on the older system, it freezes more frequently and today I reached the last straw.I was watching something, missed a joke, put my cursor back to the point that I missed and the dreaded "Buffering" came up.After a 5 minute wait in which buffering was at a whopping 6%, I started over and after a few minutes of buffering a 'This is not available for instant viewing at this time" message with a tech support number listed came up.If Netflix's goal is to have FEWER people streaming, they're doing a bang up job.


I sent it in earlier (and Mike posted it), and I'll write it up again as it applies to this post -

"Because the [Silverlight] buffer is 1mb, that means it's downloading 1mb worth of content, dumping it as it's watched, and perpetually downloading the next segment. So when I back it up to change scenes, I have to wait for it to download all over again. With the previous player, as I was watching the first few minutes, it would download the next few minutes and continue downloading until the entire show was cached. If I bounced around, it would pick it right up."

A lot of people's issues are with the Silverlight buffer, I can almost guarantee it. I use a 10mb down/5mb up Comcast connection (which consistently gets at least 6mbit/sec, with bursts to 10). With the previous player, everything ran quite well with a high buffer. With the new player, I'm experiencing frequent buffer issues, **because it's only downloading a minute or two at a time**.

It's a very silly bug that could be fixed incredibly quickly.

I will say, however, that I have the Silverlight player installed on a home theatre PC (running XP Pro w/ DVI out) and 9 times out of 10 I get great picture/sound quality. Every once in a while the bitrate drops, and every so often the audio sounds like it's in 16kbit. But the majority of views are positive, save for the buffer issue which I experience quite frequently.

I do think the one-way-opt-in was a bad move on NetFlix's part, especially with the response on that blog. This is obviously the direction that media is moving, and I for one think it's a great transition. NetFlix is in the position to be one of the major leaders in this field - they could take Amazon, Blockbuster, and the others in their wake. If they get this right (between Mac/PC users alike), they could see fantastic response.

I will say, however, I'm upgrading to WiFi N to try and fix this, and I'm debating getting a Roku so I don't have to fuss with it any further.

Cheers -

Edward R Murrow

It doesn't really matter if Netflix fixes their Silverlight issues.

Crap content is still crap content no matter how fast or slow it streams.


Almost all issues with picture/audio quality and operability are related to the computer or connection. For all the whiners with slow connections and old processors, there's a lot more than Silverlight that won't be completely compatible with your connection or machine in the very near future, if not already. Time to upgrade, or yes you will continue to miss out. This stuff is getting more and more sophisticated all the time.

Robert S.

This is not a Microsoft hater issue, but a real technical problem with many computers using silverlight. I have no philosophical problem with Microsoft, and am a happy Vista user on my machines. I fell for the SL opt-in because I use firefox, and didn't want to keep switching to IE for my Netflix fix. I figured there may be some issues, but with time any new Netflix player would have to be BETTER.

Boy was I wrong. I have 2 PC's, and while SL is watchable on both, the quality is greatly reduced over the WMP player. I understand one of my problems is a very old Pentium 4 running 1920 x 1080 resolution to my TV. Amazingly, the old Netflix player worked fine... not so much with the SL, with significant pan jerkiness... but, even my brand new quad-core Vista system running at 1280 x 1024 suffers much worse screen tearing and pan issues.

I am disappointed that I cannot opt-out, and I would feel much better if Netflix was at least admitting a problem and a hope for the near future, but I'm not giving up yet. I am encouraged to hear that there will be a major SilverLight upgrade announcement this month (silverlight 3.0) that will offload video rendering duties to the video card instead of the CPU. Hopefully, Netflix is working with them to enable hardware decoding in the near future. That should fix some of the high CPU problems, and enable better video for most PCs. I fully expect the screen saver problem to be addressed as well.

As far as what any official Netflix response will be, I'm giving them a few months to get this right before I look elsewhere. One article that did give me some hope was an official Netflix reason for the codec choices they have made and the potential future upside to the recent changes they made.



i wonder if the positive responses about
silverlight's quality are somehow affiliated
with PR.

i've used it now for a day, and have nothing
but horrible quality. rendering sucks,
there's artifacts, incomplete frams.

what i want to know is why hulu displays
images in better quality ... and at the
same time, don't charge anything.


This is really old news and I find it hilarious how many deniers there are on here.

There's 3 things going on:

First of all, some of the titles from Starz have bad film cadence and interlacing issues. This is posted by the engineer in the Netflix blog. You can see this on Starz On Demand cable as well. This is the form in which he was given the movies so he claims it's not NF fault - which is bogus because I'm sure they're just too cheap or too lazy to ask the studio to get them a digibeta dub of the master rather than use Starz's lousy digital masters. Anyway, it seems the Windows Media Netflix player (and the Xbox and Roku) can decimate this footage into 30p as clean as possible, making them watchable sort of. But the Silverlight player can't handle this footage properly at all, so you get really bad flickering making the movie pretty much unwatchable. This might not be a problem on all computers, but is on mine and many other people's. I noticed this the day I switched to SL and watched "Ghost Rider."

The second thing going on is a v-sync issue. V-sync, which exists with Windows Media Player, syncs the frame rate with the refresh rate of your monitor and thus eliminates the possibility for tearing. Even if the video can't keep up, it will slow down rather than cause tearing. Silverlight does not support v-sync. So if it can't keep up then you're screwed.

The third thing is that the Silverlight player is not mature like WMP. There are compatibility issues with various graphics cards and their respective drivers. Hardware acceleration on your graphics card doesn't always work. That's why you can watch the old Netflix player at 1920x1080 with smooth playback, but not with the new SL one. Flash players like Hulu and YouTube also has problems with some graphics cards. But the Flash Player at least has v-sync so you get slowdown instead of tearing - which is by far the lesser of two evils.

Silverlight is great that Mac users can now use it and the FFW and REW are nice. But overall it's a giant step backward unfortunately. It's meant for viewing content on websites in a small window. It is not yet optimized for full-screen video. Obviously Flash is more common and would have made more sense, but MS and Netflix have a relationship.



Are you saying Flash can play videos without the tearing/v-sync issue? All Flash videos I've seen have that problem.


I was just forced to install Silverlight on Netflix and I have Windows XP SP3. IT DOES NOT WORK!!! Every single time I try to play a movie I get the same ERROR CODE 8202. I have uninstalled and reinstalled and restarted comp every single time. Nothing works. Called tech support and even though he was very nice and helpful, all he could tell me to do was reinstall it, which I already had and didn't work! I will definitely be ending my subscription if this doesn't get fixed. I love Netflix, but watch more online than get in mail. AND NOW I CAN'T do that!!! Someone, please, if you have a fix......Please post it.


For those of you still having issues with Silverlight causing no playback, my fiance suggested turning off Zone Alarm completely and try it and what do you know it worked! So, even though I had netflix.com wide open in my security area for ZoneAlarm it still wouldn't allow it to play. I know I can go into the program list at zonealarm and try to figure out which program it isn't allowing and allow it, and will when I have more patience. For now, shutting down ZA when watching Netflix is what I will do.

On the very positive side, WOW! I am really very impressed at the crystal clear viewing! No more slightly blurry images in full screen mode, very clear and no problems dragging. However, I only played 10 minutes to see. Anyway, if you have ZoneAlarm or another firewall try turning it off temporarily and seeing if it makes any difference in allowing you to view. My error code was 8202. Hope this helps!

Mark Davis

Count me as one of the people that is outraged at the change. Before the player would keep my CPU usage at 100% while data was still being streamed to my PC, then it would drop to about 40% once it had gotten the entire movie/show. But even while it was maxed out the quality was quite good, and it dropped only a few frames, even in full screen mode.

Now, with Silverlight, it has my CPU maxed out the entire time (even AFTER it has downloaded the entire show), the quality is lousy compared to what it was, and it drops frames constantly, even without changing to full screen mode.

This is a trend with the video players from both Microsoft and Apple that has infuriated me for over a decade. Each time their NEW, IMPROVED player comes out, the same videos that played fine on a given PC before the UPGRADE would be nearly unwatchable afterwords. The worst was an Apple Quicktime upgrade about the time the newer StarWars movies came out. One day I downloaded the (then) high-res version of a trailer and I could play it in full screen mode at 30 frames per seconds. 10 minutes later, after "upgrading" the player, it would do about 3 or 4 frames a second, and the sound occasionally skipped. The VERY same file, on my hard drive. Nothing changed expect an "upgrade" to the latest player.

I have had similar problems with Microsofts media player for years. It is so consistent a trend that I hate having to upgrade to their "new, improved" version just to watch something because I KNOW it is going to make things much worse.

Silverlight seems to be no exception to this rule, and I am immensely irritated at Netflix for having gone this route. Either they didn't do sufficient testing to see what the impact would be, or they felt that forcing people to use Silverlight was worth the cross-platform capability, regardless of how much it pissed their customers off.

Why is this a manadatory change? How long before they realize that it hurts their business far more than it helps it?

Before this I would have recommended Netflix to friends, but now I will be warning them away from it and begin looking for alternatives myself.


Silverlight does not provide watchable video on my "TV PC". I have an older PC which is used to stream video on my TV. I can stream ABC, Hulu, etc. just fine but Netflix is choppy and unwatchable.

Sure, it runs ok on my main PC, but I don't use my main PC for streaming to my TV.

The problem may be that the Silverlight player is selecting a bitrate based on my Internet connection alone and streaming higher quality video than I need. The CPU can't keep up maybe? It's not buffering enough ahead either?

I have tested playback when limiting the connection (taking the connection down to around 700Kb/s) and it plays a bit better, but I don't want to use software to "limit" my PC only when streaming netflix. I shouldn't have to!!!

Let us choose the bitrate or fix buffering so I can watch streaming movies!

Hulu and ABC work just fine.......yet a PAID SERVICE DOESN'T!!!

I'm sure they are stuck with it now because of whatever deal they have with Microsoft, but it's sad they can't just allow members to choose the old player which obviously worked better for some members.


I took Silverlight off the computer a while ago. Then for Netflix I had to put it back on. It still has the same buggy behavior it had before. The quality of Netflix instant has become the worst of all. I'm spending a lot more time on Hulu and other sites because I can view it much better without silverlight. It simply runs better.

The bright side? This is Silverlight, I am going to download Moonlight and see if it runs on FF in Linux. If that works.. Goodbye Windows forever.


"Are you saying Flash can play videos without the tearing/v-sync issue? All Flash videos I've seen have that problem"


Most people don't have that problem. Make sure hardware acceleration is enabled in your Flash settings. Also make sure you have latest Nvidia or ATI drivers.

I've had technical problems with Hulu, but I have never once had tearing.


Just got pushed over to the Silverlight player. My machine has a 2.3Ghz processor and 2GB of RAM running XP. Prior to the silverlight player everything was great, post Silverlight player I get stuttering, grainy video, it's basically unwatchable!
I tried it on my laptop which has 3GB of RAM and a Centrino Duo processor, less stuttering but he picture quality is much grainier and not really watchable. Netflix seems to be really "screwing the pooch" with there arrogance in failing to address the issues with this player.


I'm only posting a note here because of my concern of the use of Silverlight for "HD" delivery of March Madness On Demand (MMOD.ncaa.com presented by CBS Sports) for the upcoming Dance.
I'm a hoop-head (taking vacation days from work to watch Round 1) and have used MMOD in the past years to watch a secondary game that my local CBS Affiliate chose not to show me.
This year, there's no VIP early sign up and it will require Silverlight downloaded. I'm very paranoid about the reliability of the web feed now after reading everyone's comments about Silverlight.


Was forced into the Silverlight in January. Horrible quality, jerky/choppy video. I gave them two months just to see if they would even acknowledge the problem, let alone fix it. I just canceled my NF account. How liberating!!! NF won't do a thing about it until enough people cancel. Remember the whole profiles controversy. It's a shame they forced this "upgrade" on to those of us that had zero problems with the old player. It was a nice run Netflix, but now that profits trump customer satisfaction, see ya. Hope it was worth it selling your soul to Microsoft.


My only gripe with the new Silverlight player is the lack of a high quality stream.

Of the three levels that the Silverlight player allows (500, 1000, & 1500) I consistently get the 1500 stream, but the video quality just isn't good enough. Give us a higher quality stream through the Silverlight player and I for one will be happy. (3000 stream hint hint - some of us have bandwidth to handle it, and would love it, and for the rest the new player will automatically throttle down).


Dunno if this has been mentioned, but found the shortcut to choose streams in silverlight: Ctrl-Alt-Shift S. Set to manual and voila. Just wait about 20 seconds and you will see the quality improve.


[Ctrl-Alt-Shift M] to see the Diagnostics Menu in Silverlight.

I am able to choose a manual setting, but the "apply" button is grayed-out and the stream remains automatic. In any case, automatic keeps me at 1500, which is also the maximum stream quality for manual.

Problem is, manual and automatic both cap at a modest 1500.

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