Does IE9 RC Break Netflix in Media Center?

Looks like it might. Hard on the heals of my excellent first impressions of IE9 RC I had a little bit of a jarring return to earth in the matter of installing Beta/RC versions of products. I started Windows Media Center and activated Netflix so I could watch another espisode of my current obsession, “Rescue Me” with Denis Leary, and this is what happened after I clicked “Play” and the familiar red screen appeared:

If I had to guess I would say that IE9 RC updated the javascript engine or otherwise changed the way javascript is handled in a page. I’ll try to find a workaround and post it here.

[Update] No work-around, but some additional information. I spoke to Netflix customer support, and they hadn’t heard anything about this issue. The woman on the other end of the call stressed that they are not compatible with IE9 yet, and I guess this proves the point. I uninstalled the IE9 RC Windows Update and after a restart Netflix streaming functionality was restored. So this is a heads-up for people who use Netflix in  Media Center, and would like to try IE9 RC.

[Update] The problem was confirmed by poster “Dark Shroud” on the Anandtech forums. The same poster did note that he was able to get Netflix working in the browser, so that will have to be the fallback option for WMC users who want to run the latest Microsoft browser, at least until Netflix releases an update to their player script for Media Center.

[Update 2-24] Poster Marc W. sent a link to a Microsoft KB that supposedly fixed the issue, but didn’t due to a typo. Marc commented again today that it has been updated with the correct registry value, and that it now works. I haven’t had time to test this myself, but give it a go if you’re yearning to use IE9RC and watch Netflix in Media Center:

IE9 RC: Internet Explorer Returns

Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9 RC (Release Candidate) today, and after finishing up some work hacking up a Windows installer script, I downloaded and installed the new version to take it for a spin. IE hasn’t been my default browser for awhile now, and I wondered whether MS could regain that coveted slot in the system registry. I switched to Google Chrome over a year ago simply because it was faster to start up, and faster to render sites than IE8. I think most people who have used both would agree with those impressions, although Microsoft always contended that their own tests showed IE8 had a small performance edge. Whatever side of that argument you support, my experience today navigating a number of complex sites with both IE9 and Chrome lead me to conclude that Microsoft has leapfrogged the competition.

My purely subjective results are that IE9 now starts and renders faster than Chrome. In addition it scrolls complex sites more smoothly, a benefit of the new hardware-accelerated rendering engine. The interface hasn’t changed dramatically, but it is a little more streamlined. I’m sure there are many more changes to explore under the hood, and I will be interested to run some of my Silverlight and javascript code to see how it behaves and performs, but at the very least this version of Internet Explorer is a definite Chrome competitor. That is a meaningful achievement, and confirms once again that anyone who writes Microsoft off in a market they want to be in, does so at the peril of their business.