Although Microsoft has continued to support the development of Office on the Mac platform, many of its other Mac offerings have been left for dead, including Internet Explorer, Virtual PC and Windows Media Player. But according to a blog post by a member of the company’s […]

SilverlightAlthough Microsoft has continued to support the development of Office on the Mac platform, many of its other Mac offerings have been left for dead, including Internet Explorer, Virtual PC and Windows Media Player. But according to a blog post by a member of the company’s Macintosh Business Unit, Microsoft’s newly-announced rich internet application platform Silverlight will change that somewhat.

Blair Neumann is excited about Silverlight because it’s been developed with support for both Windows and Macintosh systems. What exactly does that mean for Mac users?

How about streaming Windows Media audio and video, supported by Microsoft, including HD video up to 720p? Check out these Mix 07 demos (I’m personally a major fan of Top Banana) and you’ll start to get a sense of the kinds of exciting rich internet experiences that Silverlight helps to enable.

The last version of Windows Media Player that Microsoft developed for Macs was version 9 (nearly three years ago) while the most recent for Windows is version 11. The company now provides a download of Telestream’s Flip4Mac program available to Macintosh users, which provides Windows Media video and audio playback in the QuickTime Player but does not support content that is protected with Windows Media digital rights management.

Although Silverlight will not provide a way to play downloaded files in a standalone player like QuickTime Player or Windows Media Player, it looks to bring new support for streaming media to Mac browsers. This will be useful if more sites begin using Windows Media 11 files to stream audio and video.

Did I mention that Silverlight is supported in both Safari and Firefox browsers on the Mac? Okay, I admit, I’m feeling just a little bit of Silverlight excitement.

It’s great that they’re supporting the Mac, but couldn’t they have come up with an original background graphic on their site? It looks suspiciously like the default Aqua Blue desktop images that have been included with each major version of OS X.

Aqua Blue smallSilverlight page

Silverlight Excitement

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By Eddie Hargreaves

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  1. MySchizoBuddy Thursday, May 24, 2007

    How come no one mentions that you cannot create silverlight apps and videos on a mac. you can only view them.
    Why should macs users bother with silverlight?

  2. Eduardo Marques » Seus (meus) problemas acabaram? Thursday, May 24, 2007

    [...] acordo com o site The Apple Blog, parece que com o lançamento do Silverlight a Microsoft voltará a oferecer suporte a streaming de [...]

  3. Silverlight brings Windows Media Streaming from MS Friday, May 25, 2007

    [...] Firefox. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this (as Eddie Hargreaves over at the Apple Blog points out) is that Silverlight will return official Microsoft support for Windows Media streaming to the Mac, [...]

  4. I’m glad to see this product. I live in the UK and I think that the BBC’s upcoming TV on-demand service need M$ technology to work… Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  5. Yasser Dahab Friday, May 25, 2007

    Not to jump on the Microsoft-bashing bandwagon, but I won’t hold my breath in waiting for a company that can’t get a browser right to revolutionize the Internet.

  6. No thanks. If files are loaded up with MS DRM I don’t want anything to do with them anyways. I’ll stick with Flip4Mac for the rare occasion I’m forced to watch a Windows Media format video file.

  7. I seem to recall when the silverlight beta was first released that only WMV v9 was supported on the Mac, and that WMV v10 and later would NOT be supported on non-Windows platforms (and that the full set of .Net “stuff” on other platforms would probably not happen ether). Unfortunately, the only reference I can find now is it’s feature matrix that implies that WM DRMed files are NOT supported on the Mac (aka Media – Content Protection, no bullet).

    I also found this in one of their technical articles:

    The Silverlight Web client is a separate component and works independent of any media player. This Silverlight component addresses the need for cross-platform, browser-based, rich media scenarios that contain integrated audio and video and is highly optimized and takes advantage of multi-core. The CTP release supports Windows Media Audio and Video 9, and some common profiles of the SMPTE-standard VC-1 codec. Support for MP3 audio and additional formats might be available for the final release, based on customer feedback.

    Notice the lack of a number higher than 9. From my experience with M$, Support for additional formats … based on customer feedback, translates to NEVER GONNA HAPPEN.

    Personally, I’m not going to install this plug-in. All it’s going to do is further M$’s goal of making all non-Windows machines second class citizens on the Web. No thanks.

  8. After looking into Silverlight a lot at our studio, we’re not going to support it. Nothing for it goes beyond what was possible on earlier versions of flash bar the HD video. Flash already does fullscreen video in player 9 and speed+convenience beats quality on the internet.

  9. So, if it doesn’t play Windows DRM stuff, what makes it different from Flip4Mac? Thanks, but no thanks. Not interested. If I MUST live with DRM, I will only access DRM that is cross platform.

  10. I finally found it:

    What audio or video formats are supported in Silverlight?

    Silverlight supports Windows Media Audio and Video (WMA, WMV7–9) and VC-1, as well as MP3 audio. Additional formats may be available by the final release based on customer feedback.

    Will Silverlight support all the codecs Windows Media Player supports?

    Since Silverlight is a lightweight cross-platform technology, it only carries the most common codecs that are needed for Web playback. However, we are gathering information from customers about the needed codecs and can update Silverlight when necessary.

    Will Silverlight support the full range of APIs offered by the Windows Media Player ActiveX control today?

    We are actively speaking to customers and partners about their needs.

    Will Silverlight support digital rights management?

    For content providers, Silverlight will support digital rights management (DRM) built on the recently announced Microsoft PlayReady content access technology on Windows-based computers and Macintosh computers

    What features are missing from Silverlight presentation markup that will be supported in WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation)?

    Some high-end Windows specific features of WPF, such as real 3D, hardware-based video acceleration, and full document support, will not be supported in Silverlight. This is by design in order to serve Silverlight’s cross-browser, cross-platform reach scenario that demands a light weight plug-in. That being said, Silverlight will offer a uniform runtime that can render identical experiences across browsers on both Mac OS and Windows.

    In short, you don’t get anything you don’t already get with Flip4Mac, aka NO WM v10 or 11.

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