Silverlight is a cross platform, cross browser plug-in that enables designers and developers to build rich media experiences and .NET based RIAs for the web. I first blogged about Silverlight back in May after we announced it at our MIX conference in Las Vegas.
Silverlight 1.0 and Expression Encoder 1.0 Released
Today we shipped the Silverlight 1.0 release for Mac and Windows. Silverlight 1.0 is focused on enabling rich media scenarios in a browser. Some of its features include:
- Built-in codec support for playing VC-1 and WMV video, and MP3 and WMA audio within a browser. The VC-1 codec is a big step forward for incorporating media within a web experience - since it supports very efficiently playing high-quality, high definition video in the browser. It is a standards-based media format that is implemented in all HD-DVD and Blueray DVD players, and is supported by hundreds of millions of mobile devices, XBOX 360s, PlayStation 3s, and Windows Media Centers (enabling you to encode content once and run it on all of these devices + Silverlight unmodified). It enables you to use a huge library of existing video content and provides access to the broad ecosystem of existing Windows Media tools, components, vendors and hardware.
- Silverlight supports the ability to progressively download and play media content from any web-server. You can point Silverlight at any URL containing video/audio media content, and it will download it and enable you to play it within the browser. No special server software is required, and Silverlight can work with any web-server (including Apache on Linux). We'll also be releasing an IIS 7.0 media pack that enables rich bandwidth throttling features that you can enable on your web-server for free.
Silverlight also optionally supports built-in media streaming. This enables you to use a streaming server like Windows Media Server on the backend to efficiently stream video/audio (note: Windows Media Server is a free product that runs on Windows Server). Streaming brings some significant benefits in that: 1) it can improve the end-user's experience when they seek around in a large video stream, and 2) it can dramatically lower your bandwidth costs.
Silverlight makes it easy to build rich video player interactive experiences. You can blend together its media capabilities with the vector graphic support to create any type of media playing experience you want. Silverlight includes the ability to "go full screen" to create a completely immersive experience, as well as to overlay menus/content/controls/text directly on top of running video content (allowing you to enable DVD like experiences). Silverlight also provides the ability to resize running video on the fly without requiring the video stream to be stopped or restarted.
Today we also shipped the Expression Encoder 1.0 release on the web. Expression Encoder is part of the Microsoft Expression suite of products, and enables designers and content professionals to enhance, encode and publish media content for Silverlight. You can use it to import media files from a variety of formats (QuickTime, WMV, AVI and more), add leaders and trailers to videos for advertising or roll credits, easily watermark video with corporate logos or brands, and then tune the encoding settings to create optimal web-friendly Silverlight experiences.
Deployed Silverlight 1.0 Customers
This week we'll have a wide range of customers already deployed live on the Silverlight 1.0 release. A few of them include: MLB.com (Major League Baseball), Home Shopping Network, World Wrestling Entertainment, and the "Entertainment Tonight" show.
Silverlight is also now deployed on several Microsoft sites, including the Halo 3 preview site (click here for the awesome HD version), Tafiti.com, MSN Extra, and MSN Podium '08. You'll also see Silverlight used prominently in several upcoming MSN and Microsoft.com sites.
Silverlight for Linux Support
Over the last few months we've been working to enable Silverlight support on Linux, and today we are announcing a formal partnership with Novell to provide a great Silverlight implementation for Linux. Microsoft will be delivering Silverlight Media Codecs for Linux, and Novell will be building a 100% compatible Silverlight runtime implementation called "Moonlight".
Keep an eye on Miguel de Icaza's blog - I know he'll be blogging a lot more about our partnership on this shortly.
Silverlight 1.1 Update
Now that Silverlight 1.0 is out the door, my team is cranking hard on our Silverlight 1.1 release.
Silverlight 1.1 will include a cross-platform version of the .NET Framework, and will enable a rich .NET development experience in the browser. It will support a WPF programming model for UI - including support for an extensible control model, layout management, data-binding, control skinning, and a rich set of built-in controls. It will also include a subset of the full .NET Framework base class library you use today, including support for collections, generics, IO, threading, globalization, networking (including sockets, web-services and REST support), HTML DOM, XML, local storage, and LINQ.
How to Learn More about Silverlight
Visit the www.silverlight.net community site to learn more about Silverlight and how to get started with it (and visit the Silverlight video page for free short videos on how to develop with it). You might also want to watch this new Channel9 video from today with me talking about Silverlight:
Hope this helps,