Microsoft is set to announce a lineup of products and initiatives that make it easier for content owners and broadcasters to reach consumers across multiple screens with Silverlight, using a single runtime platform, server infrastructure and free programming frameworks. The company announced it is working with system-on-chip (SOC) partners Intel and Broadcom to deliver support for reference designs that will provide the complete Silverlight platform to set-top boxes, connected TVs, Blu-ray Disc players and other consumer devices. Microsoft also unveiled details about Internet Information Services (IIS) Media Services 4 and announced the upcoming release of Silverlight Media Framework 2.0.
As part of the announcement, Microsoft will demonstrate how Silverlight for SOCs will enable consumer electronics manufacturers to deliver native Silverlight support in future products. This means that content owners can deliver high-definition programming to the living room with all the benefits of Silverlight and IIS Smooth Streaming, such as adaptive bitrate streaming over standard Internet connections, DVR-like capabilities, and support for Microsoft PlayReady digital rights management, on Broadcom BCM7420- and Intel CE4100-based devices for the connected home. A single Silverlight platform means that developers and content owners can develop one experience that can be consumed across a multitude of devices.
"Our vision is to bring Silverlight to every screen, and as we continue to expand the capabilities and resources for Silverlight and IIS Media Services, it's exciting to see the amazing ways our customers use these technologies to deliver outstanding media experiences for their end users," said Microsoft's Scott Guthrie. "We've brought together great tools and a great platform to provide content owners and broadcasters a great business opportunity."
Microsoft also unveiled plans for the next version of IIS Media Services, an integrated HTTP-based media delivery platform built on Windows Server that enables customers to cost-effectively deliver, monitor and monetize live and on-demand media content across enterprise, consumer and broadcast scenarios. New features in IIS Media Services 4 include:
- Multiplatform delivery with content protection offers content providers and broadcasters the ability to encode once and deliver protected live and on-demand encoded content across multiple screens, to Silverlight- as well as non-Silverlight-capable devices.
- Smooth multicast support allows enterprises, telcos and cable companies to efficiently deliver adaptive media streams to multiple recipients over their internal networks with the benefits of IIS Smooth Streaming.
- Integrated encoding support enables third-party encoding products and Microsoft Expression Encoder 4 to be integrated into IIS Media Services 4, which allows customers to benefit from an integrated encoding and delivery platform.
In addition, Microsoft will deliver the IIS Smooth Streaming Client 1.0, which provides advanced playback functionality; and the IIS Smooth Streaming Format Software Development Kit 1.0 and IIS Smooth Streaming Porting Kit 1.0, which enable third parties to add Smooth Streaming support to their products.
Silverlight for SOCs beta is planned to be available for hardware and device manufacturers to evaluate by the end of 2010. More information about Silverlight 4 can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight. More information on IIS Media Services and related IIS Smooth Streaming technologies can be found at http://iis.net/media. These will be available as a beta by the second quarter of 2010. More information on Expression Encoder 4 can be found at http://expression.microsoft.com and will be available in the middle of 2010. More information about the Silverlight Media Framework 2.0 can be found at http://smf.codeplex.com; it will be available by the end of the second quarter of 2010.