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Now TV, BT Sport, Blinkbox tell viewers to ditch Chrome

Barry Collins
20 Apr 2015
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Update to Google Chrome browser hits many leading streaming video services

Viewers of video-on-demand services such as Now TV, BT Sport and Blinkbox are being told to find alternative web browsers, after the latest release of Google Chrome blacked out their services. Version 42 of the Chrome browser, which was released last week, removed support for NPAPI plugins, including Microsoft's Silverlight, which is used to power many video-on-demand services.

Google warned over a year ago that it would be making the switch, but many video services have failed to migrate to alternatives such as HTML5 video, which would continue working with Chrome. Now household names are telling customers they must switch web browser to continue watching streams on their PCs. 

"Google Chrome version 42 has now been released, and Chrome no longer supports Microsoft Silverlight," reads a post on Now TV's support forum. "From this point, you'll need to use Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox to watch Now TV on your PC."

The @BTCare Twitter account, meanwhile, is telling customers: "If you use Chrome to watch BT Sport you may get a Silverlight error. Silverlight is no longer supported in Chrome, pls use another browser."

Blinkbox, which was recently sold by Tesco to TalkTalk, has introduced an HTML5 player, but warns its customers that they may be better off switching. "Because our HTML5 player is newer than the Silverlight player we use in other browsers like Internet Explorer and Firefox on PCs and Safari on Mac, you might need a faster broadband connection than usual to have the same experience that you're used to, whilst we work to further optimise streaming using HTML5," the company warns on its support pages. "Because of this, for the best experience, we recommend that you use a different browser right now, particularly if your internet speed is close to our recommended minimum speed or you've got an older computer."

Other popular video-on-demand services heeded Google's warning and ensured their services would remain available through what is commonly regarded as the world's most used web browser. Netflix migrated its PC service from Silverlight to HTML5 last year, for example, in anticipation of Google's switch-off. 

All the video-on-demand services will eventually have to migrate from Silverlight, which is being discontinued by Microsoft. Many have stuck with Microsoft's player because of its copy-protection facilities, but leading providers have worked together to build digital rights management extensions for HTML5 video, which is fast becoming the industry standard. 

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