Not to attack you personally (you seem like a wonderful person), but your argument is so full of uninformed misinformation and supposition-based assertions, that I think it would be instructive (in more general terms than just this debate) to break it down:
- I used to work for a Netflix competitor and helped sell it to a (then) major competitor of Netflix. (Both startup and suitor shall remain nameless - otherwise you could discover my true identity [and then physical address etc.] with just a few clicks...this way it would take more determination.) I then followed and still do follow Netflix pretty closely, and have been a member for close to a decade. I've used their streaming service since it arrived four years ago. Although I don't have insider information on Netflix, we don't need any. The relevant information to debunk this is public. So, you don't have to take my industry-informed word for it...
- You can read Netlfix' quarterly earnings reports, including future strategic plans for streaming, going back ten years since their IPO.
- Netflix publishes several blogs - most interestingly, a general blog and a technical blog. Both include really great insights. In both blogs (not just the technical one), they regularly discuss technical innovations that almost always debut in the Silverlight client first. Perusing this blog should settle this non-debate in your own heart and mind, without taking my word for it.
- One reason (of several) that the browser version is the main development focus and testbed, is because: A) It is much easier to code for, and B) It is much much easier to deliver updates for. There is no "update" mechanism required, as there is no installed client application (cached yes installed no). With the browser version, you automatically get whatever version is the latest (or at least whatever flight-testing group you arbitrarily [or not] fall into). The PS3 version, for example, includes a complete (ported and modified) Webkit application (just for Netflix). It must be manually updated. (Or quasi-manual depending on how you look at it.)
- And here is the clincher: More people use the browser version for streaming, than almost all other couple-dozen versions combined. Kind of makes sense to make that your focus. Any more questions?
It might be worthwhile to re-read points 4 and especially 5.
This isn't much of a debatable point though, at least semantically. There are a couple dozen devices Netflix runs on. (Even Google Chrome OS.) This assertion boils down to self-evidence: For each platform/device Netflix runs on, of course: "it was designed for" it.
The point remains however, that Mac/PC browser+Silverlight version is the first and primary development target, and is the most common target for new features first.
Assuming Netflix is around for the long-haul, that fact may cease to be true eventually. (I'm sure they foresee the inevitable irrelevancy of the mainstream desktop OS just as well as anyone.) But it doesn't help us to debate "might bes" in this context, in a void of objective fact.
But sure, we can project arbitrarily into the future. In the future, I'm sure Netflix would love to be part of your neural computing implant, streaming any show or movie on-demand, direct to your optic nerve or visual processing center (or maybe more conveniently - just drop it instantly into your short-term memory). Or closer to present-day, I'm sure they'd love to come standard on the firmware of all new TVs.
In either case, that doesn't mean that was what it was "designed for" (to use your terminology) at first, or now, or next week, or next year.
But, game consoles were not the first targets. While this statement isn't a falsifiable assertion, what it *seems* to suggest is at worst false, or at best not necessarily true. (That consoles were first - and/or, are somehow easier ["quickly"].)
- "Embedded stuff", by number of devices, handily outnumber gaming console clients (which might be kind of obvious with a couple dozen clients as there are only so many game consoles).
- Linux-like OSes are the most common underlying platform for non-game console devices. One (like me) could argue that Linux-ish devices are easier to develop for than the three highly specific and unique gaming consoles, as there would be a some chunk of code in common among the various Linux devices.
Had you been more specific in what you meant by "embedded stuff" (e.g. ruling out entertainment devices built on small-form general-purpose computing hardware and running tweaked Linux kernels), I might be inclined to agree with this assertion in principle. However, the state of the actual world (e.g. point #1) would still challenge that notion.