Today we need to make a tough decision, which is to remove support for Firefox. This is not a decision we have taken lightly, in fact we have tried hard to avoid this.

 

We believe in users being able to watch films on the browsers and devices they choose and today’s announcement is a disappointment for us. We are continuing to deliver on our goal of broad device coverage by recently adding Opera support and Edge support will be arriving over the coming weeks.

 

Firefox is currently the 4th most popular browser at 11% and declining in use since 2010.

 

The DRM industry has been going through a transition over recent years moving away from Flash implementations to HTML5 video. This process has involved a new browser technology called Encrypted Media Extensions (EME). This new approach has benefits for the industry and users alike. No more plugins to install and things should just work. The challenge with this industry transition is providing support across all browsers, the analogy of changing the tires on a car while it is moving is not too far from the truth.

 

Firefox committed to deprecating the particular technology that we currently use, namely NPAPI and have committed to removing it by the end of 2016. It is now February 2016 and over successive recent weeks Firefox have removed the ability to install the Widevine plugin that we rely on. We think this is an aggressive release plan given their end of 2016 commitment.

 

Recently Firefox announced that they have partnered with Adobe to deliver Primetime DRM to Firefox users using the same tech namely EME.

 

We have been in discussions with Adobe over licensing the replacement DRM technology. To complicate this discussion Adobe have also recently internally reorganised how they sell this technology. Previously Adobe had a number of resellers, but this has recently changed removing one of our transition pathways, instead we are working with Adobe directly.

 

To date the negotiations have not reached an agreement that is financially viable for us and our clients to justify maintaining Firefox support. By way of comparison: to support Firefox will conservatively cost 10 times the amount we pay for all other browsers combined.

 

In the meantime we are continuing our discussions with Adobe and hope to come to an agreeable resolution.

 

We are also following up at the possibility that we can use the Widevine DRM on Firefox, the technical hurdles are few but the political hurdles are many. But I believe this is a good result for users in the long run.

 

For now however we will advise Firefox users to select an alternative browser for playback. An update will be released shortly that will inform Firefox users that their browser is not supported with information on which browsers are supported. We suggest updating your help page.

 

Browser

Share

DRM Technology

Chrome

47.3%

HTML5 EME

Edge

12.3%

HTML5 EME (releasing this month)

IE 11

Widevine Classic (Flash + Widevine Optimiser)

Safari

20.7%

Widevine Classic (Flash + Widevine Optimiser)

HTML5 EME in development

Opera

3.2%

HTML5 EME

Firefox

11.4%

Unsupported

(source: https://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php)

 

Is Silverlight an option on Firefox? For the time being, but this technology is due to be deprecated by 2016.

 

Netflix can do it why can’t you? Technically we can deliver the same solution as Netflix, unfortunately Adobe will not sell us access to their Primetime DRM. We will continue to request access to the EME DRM but for the moment Adobe have taken a position that we will not have access to the technology that Netflix has access to.

 

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

 

Regards

Mark Sargent