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Netflix HTML5 streaming now available in Safari on OS X Yosemite

Following its public unveiling at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, Netflix on Tuesday officially invited beta users of OS X Yosemite to try out the streaming service's new plugin-free option for watching television shows and movies in Safari.

Registered Mac developers and those with early access to Yosemite via Apple's new public beta program can try out the HTML5-based feature simply by logging in to their Netflix account. Viewers were previously required to use plugins like Microsoft's Silverlight for a number of reasons, including digital rights management and adaptive streaming.

"Congratulations to the Apple team for advancing premium video on the web with Yosemite! We're looking forward to the Yosemite launch this Fall," Netflix engineering executives Anthony Park and Mark Watson wrote in a blog post announcing the move.

The new streaming options are made possible thanks to the adoption of a number of new web standards in the upcoming Safari release.

Media Source Extensions allow web developers to create playback streams in the browser using JavaScript, which enables the addition of features like adaptive streaming — adjusting the delivery of a video stream based on the way the recipient's network is functioning — in the browser without plugins. According to Apple, moving this functionality from a plugin to the operating system could allow a MacBook Air to get an additional two hours of battery life when watching streaming video.

Encrypted Media Extensions and WebCrypto, meanwhile, address concerns about digital rights management. They allow end-to-end encryption of the media stream between the browser and Netflix's servers to prevent users from simply capturing video as it comes in.