Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) saw Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) ending support for the Silverlight plugin, which sits at the heart of Netflix video streams. So the digital video veteran started pushing for changes to the still-developing HTML5 standard for modern Web browsers, in order to support encrypted and tightly controlled media streams.

The suggested changes weren't popular in some circles, but Netflix surged ahead and found an early partner for its new technology. It's not Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Chrome -- that browser still requires a special plugin to make use of the new video streams. And it's not open-source champion Mozilla Firefox, where developers hate the very idea of building copy-protection functions into the browser.

Nope, Netflix went full circle and built HTML5-ready encryption and copy protection tools right into Microsoft's latest browser, the Internet Explorer 11 version that ships in the preview edition of Windows 8.1. Redmond's much-maligned, market-leading browser is now leading the way into a brave new world.

In the following video, Fool contributor Anders Bylund explains what's going on, and whether he thinks this is a good move for Netflix and Microsoft. Don't worry -- he's wearing a flameproof body suit.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares of Netflix, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out Anders' bio and holdings or follow him on Twitter and Google+.

The Motley Fool recommends Google and Netflix and owns shares of Google, Microsoft, and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.