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Netflix Rolls Out Media Player For Macs

The online movie house is using Microsoft's Silverlight technology to extend its reach.

Netflix has taken its first step in rolling out Microsoft Silverlight, which allows subscribers to watch movies and television shows on Intel-based Macs.

The company began deployment with some new Netflix subscribers Monday. The platform will be available to all subscribers by the end of the year. The Silverlight media player provides users with improved fast-forwarding and rewinding capabilities, as well as PlayReady DRM, which allows playback on Windows-based PCs and Macs.

"Silverlight with PlayReady offers a powerful and secure toolkit for delivery of dynamic streaming, which offers faster startup, and higher quality video, adapted in real time to users' connection speeds," Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt said in a statement. "Members who enjoy watching movies and TV episodes from the growing library of choices that can be instantly streamed at Netflix will be thrilled with this next-generation improvement of access and quality, on a broader range of platforms, including Intel Macs and Firefox."

Netflix said Silverlight proved successful over the summer when streamed thousands of hours of live and on-demand online video from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Netflix said the platform works with Intel-powered Macs, which about 75% of its Mac subscribers use.

Netflix instant catalog includes more than 12,000 movies and episodes. Subscribers can access the video through computers, television sets with Netflix-ready devices, and disk players. Soon, they will also be able to watch via the Xbox 360.

Netflix offers instant streaming and rentals. It counts more than 8 million subscribers and 55 distribution centers in the United States.

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