Rich Media Platform Comparison

I found a nice table which will show a comparison between Microsoft products and Flash/Flex:

  

Features/Benefits Silverlight .NET Flash/Flex
Rich 2D animation/graphics with audio and video yes yes yes
Industry standard video codec yes yes no 
Scalable video format from HD to mobile yes yes no 
Hardware-assisted editing and encoding solutions yes yes no 
XML (XAML)-based presentation layer for SEO yes no  no 
Choice of standards-based and high-performance languages yes yes no 
End-to-end server and application platform yes yes no 
Media server licensing (unlimited bandwidth) $999 $999 $4500
Content access protection (DRM) yes yes no 
Client side playlists for ad-insertion yes yes yes
Robust video publishing tools and third-party ecosystem yes yes no 
High-performance, multi-core enabled client yes yes no 
Scalable full screen video up to HD (720p) yes yes no 
Native support for device-based video yes yes no
Offline, document support no  yes no
Data Exchange with Web Server (Ajax, Web Service) yes yes yes
Encrypted Content no yes no 
Binary or Text Format text 1 binary binary
Easy Installation Support for Platform Requirements yes  no yes 
Tools yes (Beta/CTP)  yes yes 
3D Support no yes no
3rd Party Controls yes 2 yes yes
Client size ~2MB ~50MB ~2MB
Supported operating systems Windows/Mac
3
Windows
4
Windows/Mac
Linux
Mobile (light)

5

1 maybe will be changed later; currently you could GZIP the content to reduce size of XAML code
2 using wpfeControl.createFromXaml(xamlstring); 
3 Windows Vista and Windows XP Service Pack 2, Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, Windows Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 1.5.0.8 and 2.0.x; Apple Mac OS X, Firefox 1.5.0.8 and 2.0.x, Apple Safari 2.0.4
4 .NET 2.0: Windows 2000 Service Pack 3, Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Vista; .NET 3.0: Windows Vista and Windows XP Service Pack 2; Internet Explorer 6, Windows Internet Explorer 7. 
5 Flash Player 8: Windows Vista and Windows XP; Internet Explorer 6 and Windows Internet Explorer 7; Windows 2000 with Internet Explorer 5.x; Firefox 1.x, Mozilla 1.x, Netscape 7.x or later, AOL 9, Opera 7.11 or later; Mac OS X, Internet Explorer 5.2, Mozilla 1.x, Firefox 1.x, Safari 1.x or later.

 

Will Ballard is writing in a comment about client performance. Well, this is very hard to compare because it will vary on some points. If you have a look at .NET (Click-Once or XAML Browser Application) you will have the same hardware support as installing the software directly on the client: 2D/3D graphics card, hard disk to store data and documents (compared with Cookies or Ajax server-side store),...

The performance of Silverlight and Flash will be nearly the same, I cannot see any difference. While Silverlight is using XAML as description language in a non-compressed format Flash will be faster for initial start. For Silverlight you could compress the XAML files with IIS compression enabled. There is a great Web site which simulates a Windows Vista: http://www.windowsvista.si/main.htm. I think there you can get a feeling how the performance could be. 

 

If something is wrong or missing on this table, please leave a message and I will add it. Maybe there are other platforms missing, please give me a short hint...

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