Silverlight More than a Flash

Microsoft has given a go-to-market name for its cross-platform, cross-browser plug-in for delivering the next generation of user experiences and rich Internet applications for the Web. The technology formerly known as WPF/E is now known as Silverlight.
Microsoft announced Silverlight at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas on April 16. The NAB announcement highlights Silverlight uses for media users. The software company will announce further details about the technology at its own Mix07 conference, which starts at the end of April and runs through May 2 in Las Vegas.
Forest Key, a director of product management in the Microsoft Server and Tools Division, said Silverlight integrates with existing Web technologies and assets to provide higher quality experiences with lower costs for media delivery. In a briefing with eWEEK, Key demonstrated how Silverlight offers consistent experiences to both Mac and Windows users on a variety of browsers, including Internet Explorer, FireFox and Safari.
As for which platform Silverlight will support next, Key said, „Linux is an open question. We’re looking at the desktops and browsers by volume. We want to put muscle behind supporting the bulk of the market.“ And Linux support is still under discussion, he said.
Silverlight uses WMV (Windows Media Video), Microsoft’s implementation of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers VC-1 video standard, ensuring compatibility with the millions of hours of content already available on the Web. 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—which is probably Silverlight’s primary competition—has limited support for video.
„We have a unified codec that is open to the community,“ Key said. The VC-1 support means that content that is accessible via Silverlight on the PC is also accessible on the Xbox 360, on the Microsoft Zune, on HD systems, and on other devices or „surfaces“ that support the codec, Key said.
Silverlight is based on the .Net Framework and enables developers and designers to use their existing skills to deliver media experiences and RIAs—which Microsoft refers to as „rich interactive applications“ as opposed to „rich Internet applications“—for the Web with role-specific tools: Expression Studio for designers and Visual Studio for developers. 
View: Microsoft Silverlight Product Page

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