Thanks to Digix for his news submission to our front page.
Microsoft has christened its cross-platform, cross-browser plug-in for delivering the next generation of Internet user experiences and rich Internet applications; formerly known as WPF/E, Silverlight is what Microsoft is hoping will be the Adobe/Macromedia Flash killer. Forest Key, a director of product management in the Microsoft Server and Tools Division, said Silverlight offers consistent experiences to both Mac and Windows users on a variety of browsers, including Internet Explorer, FireFox and Safari. Key also noted that Linux support is under discussion: "We're looking at the desktops and browsers by volume. We want to put muscle behind supporting the bulk of the market."
Silverlight uses Windows Media Video, Microsoft's implementation of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers VC-1 video standard – a standard also used for HD DVD, Blu-ray Disc, Xbox 360 and Windows Vista. It also supports interactive video experiences from full-screen high-definition graphics to mobile scenarios. Support for the VC-1 codec "means quite a number of surfaces support Silverlight, more than Flash," Key said, noting that Adobe's Flash has limited support for video. At the discretion of content providers, Silverlight will also deliver digital rights management support built on the Microsoft PlayReady content access technology.
Silverlight is based on the .Net Framework and enables developers and designers to use their existing skills to deliver media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web with role-specific tools: Expression Studio for designers and Visual Studio for developers. Several media companies and solution providers have announced support for Silverlight, along with the promise to deploy Silverlight-based experiences for their viewers and customers. These include Akamai, Brightcove, Eyeblaster, Limelight, Major League Baseball, Netflix, Skinkers, Sonic Solutions, SyncCast, Tarari and Telestream.