What Is the Microsoft Silverlight Plug-In?


Quick Answer

The Microsoft Silverlight plug-in is deprecated software that provides additional functionality to all Web browsers. The plug-in gives users the ability to display rich internet applications and media content on sites that support such displays.

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Full Answer

Microsoft Silverlight is software developers use to create high-definition video content and other Web applications. Every time a Web browser needs to access a website that delivers Silverlight-generated content, it uses the Silverlight plug-in to display the content correctly.

As of 2015, the Microsoft Silverlight plug-in works on most popular browsers, including Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple's Safari, but not on Google Chrome. However, Microsoft announced the end of the Silverlight project in 2013. It is continuing to repair bugs and supply patches temporarily, but all support for Silverlight is due to end in October 2021.

Microsoft's Silverlight technology was launched at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in 2007. Although it is the main competitor of Adobe's Flash, only 2 percent of websites use it. Microsoft Silverlight once powered the instant-streaming video service Netflix exclusively. However, Netflix began transitioning to the Web programming language known as HTML5 in 2013. It switched to HTML5 on Internet Explorer in 2013 and on both Google Chrome and Apple's Safari in 2014.

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