Microsoft releases Silverlight 5

Microsoft has now finally released Silverlight 5, the latest major version of its web browser plug-in designed for video and other multimedia programs. The 7 MB file can be downloaded at Microsoft's web site. The new version supports both Windows and Mac operating systems along with the four major web browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari.

Microsoft talks about some of the new features in Silverlight 5 on its blog site:

New features in Silverlight 5 include Hardware Decode of H.264 media, which provides a significant performance improvement with decoding of unprotected content using the GPU; Postscript Vector Printing to improve output quality and file size; and an improved graphics stack with 3D support that uses the XNA API on the Windows platform to gain low-level access to the GPU for drawing vertex shaders and low-level 3D primitives.

In addition, Microsoft says that it will support Silverlight 5 all the way up to November 12, 2021 for the browsers it supports.

There's still no word yet on the future of Silverlight development. There are rumors that Microsoft has no plan to release a Silverlight 6. The company has already stated that Internet Explorer 10, which will be released around the time of Windows 8, will do away with plug-in support in favor of HTML5 programs.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

4.3" Android is first step in Panasonic global domination plan

Next Story

FreedomPop revealed; claims to offer free net access

27 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

They could kill it today, for all I care.

Haven't ever installed it on my computers, but have on some others. See no use for it personally!

Such a rich web development runtime and wrongly getting killed for Windows 8. I bet Silverlight developers who feel betrayed won't come to WinRT. Good to see them at least supporting SL well.

xpclient said,
Such a rich web development runtime and wrongly getting killed for Windows 8. I bet Silverlight developers who feel betrayed won't come to WinRT. Good to see them at least supporting SL well.

Um Windows 8 ultimately still uses XAML, and can use Silverlight in addtion to HTML5.

Silverlight is not what people think it is, and still will be alive, even if the name changes and it is rolled back into the .NET/WPF from which it was designed from as a lightweight portable version.

TsMkLg068426 said,
I am wondering how this will affect Netflix since they use Silverlight as a plugin to watch there movies/TV series online.

Apparently only "unprotected" content according to the blog quote.

TsMkLg068426 said,
I am wondering how this will affect Netflix since they use Silverlight as a plugin to watch there movies/TV series online.

The started using the Silverlight client as it was the only way (outside of using WMP itself) to access smooth streaming VC1 content that was protected. Silverlight is the vehicle for the technology, not completely necessary today.

Netflix can develop a native or .NET Apps that does what their silverlight client does, as they have on the XBox for years, or even use the HTML5 video specification that Microsoft has been working on a standards based recreation of what the Silverlight video control provided in HTML5. It is about using the right codec, some javascript and handling the server communication for smooth streaming, so you don't see the horrible 'buffering...' that other technologies provide.

Silverlight video technologies are not 'silverlight' but use Silverlight at the 'client' computer to implement them.

The video technologies Netflix uses is based off the PlaysForSure V2 which is also known as Zune Video (most people don't realize this), and it is based on VC1 codecs that are basically WMV.

The server side technologies are what handle the client requests for content, the bit rate and the smooth streaming, fast start, etc...

The company has already stated that Internet Explorer 10, which will be released around the time of Windows 8, will do away with plug-in support in favor of HTML5 programs.

False. Microsoft has already stated that Internet Explorer 10 for the Metro UI... will do away with plug-in support. IE10 desktop edition WILL support plug ins.

greenwizard88 said,

False. Microsoft has already stated that Internet Explorer 10 for the Metro UI... will do away with plug-in support. IE10 desktop edition WILL support plug ins.

That's what I thought as well.

Many Silverlight apps are easily portable to HTML5/Metro like apps using Microsoft's tools without a whole lot of additional effort.

pupdawg21 said,
Many Silverlight apps are easily portable to HTML5/Metro like apps using Microsoft's tools without a whole lot of additional effort.

yes, WinRT (used to build metro apps) and silverlight are very close!
this means the transition to windows 8 will be made easier by the promise of MS to support silverlight until 2021, two years after the end of support of windows 7, the last windows OS not supporting WinRT.

developpers can build rich silverlight out of browser applications now, no need to wait for windows 8!

In addition, Microsoft says that it will support Silverlight 5 all the way up to November 12, 2021 for the browsers it supports.

Someone clarify this for me. Are they saying in here that MS will support Silverlight developments on all the Current browsers: IE8+, Opera 11.52, Firefox ?.x, Chrome ?.x, for the remaining 10 years? Or are they going to keep pushing updates to their silverlight platforms up to 10 years from now?

sanke1 said,
Wasn't there a rumor few days back that Microsoft intends to kill off Silverlight after version 5?

There hasn't been any official statement about what will come after SL5 at this point. It could just be that they're planning to shift everything over to WinRT for stuff out-of-browser and go with HTML5 etc for anything in-browser.

GP007 said,
There hasn't been any official statement about what will come after SL5 at this point. It could just be that they're planning to shift everything over to WinRT for stuff out-of-browser and go with HTML5 etc for anything in-browser.

IIRC Microsoft announced a while ago that they were no longer setting up Silverlight as an alternative to Flash but rather it would be competing with Adobe AIR and what used to be done via Silverlight/Flash will be done using HTML5. There is still lots of stuff that HTML5 can't (and venture to say never) will address such as the ability to control hardware such as communicating with USB devices, recording, compressing then uploading audio/video etc.

10 years support for a free plugin. that's way longer than any of their commercial windows oses. are some microsofties having way too much time on their hand ? or looking for excuses NOT to get fired in this economy ?

Albert said,
10 years support for a free plugin. that's way longer than any of their commercial windows oses. are some microsofties having way too much time on their hand ? or looking for excuses NOT to get fired in this economy ?

Nice post! You managed to turn an unusually nice support period into something bad, and suspicious. Must take some effort, or at least a special and rather unique mindset. Silverlight 5 will likely be their last Silverlight release with Windows 8 on the horizon, and if MS realizes that their customer realizes this, you should have your answer.

Albert said,
10 years support for a free plugin. that's way longer than any of their commercial windows oses.

each windows version is supported 10 years (with the exception of xp being supported.... 13 years!)

so, basically, SL5 is supported as long as windows.

It's a really great thing, because silverlight 5 and WinRT are pretty close, this means apps developpers can create WinRT apps for windows 8, and backport them to windows XP/Vista/7 very easily as silverlight "out of browser applications", and even support OSX... until 2021!

silverlight 5 will make the transition to windows 8 easier for developers, because they will be able to port their metro apps very easily to previous version of windows, until windows 7 support ends in 2019.
After that, we will no longer need silverlight.

HTML5 will be enough for basic web tasks by 2021, and WinRT apps will be used for multimedia (hulu, netflix, ...) and line of business applications (and any type of apps that html5 won't be able to handle properly).

Albert said,
10 years support for a free plugin. that's way longer than any of their commercial windows oses. are some microsofties having way too much time on their hand ? or looking for excuses NOT to get fired in this economy ?

That's the usual Microsoft support timespan for products as important as Silverlight...you know, some enterprise apps are made using Silverlight...