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Silverlight to bring Windows Media support back to Mac

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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

20 Responses to “Silverlight to bring Windows Media support back to Mac”

  1. I don’t understand how users who would gladly choke on the fat **** called FairPlay incorporated into itunes wouldn’t also be alright with this browser plug-in (note:only loaded when content is requested to be translated BY YOU).

    Apple stuffs DRM down your throat with every product they make now. Even their new laptops have HDCP–a hardwired DRM. Silverlight doesn’t delete anything from your hard drive without say-so, keep you from viewing any content you’ve purchased under previously established conditions, or hide DRM restrictions until after you’ve bought. In those ways it’s better than the stuff Apple does.

    Silverlight is protection of streamed content. As far as DRM goes, this is pretty damn tame, especially for Apple fans.

  2. Bergstrom

    As for the background graphic: Between this and the “Become a Microsoft Office Genius” marketing, it seems Microsoft have added some new subtlety to their FUD arsenal.

    Steve must really feel confident about Leopard and The iPhone to be so civil towards Bill Gates at the D Conference the other day.

  3. Carlos

    Microsoft modus operandi:

    Step 1: use desktop os monolopy to make their technology the prevalent “standard”
    Step 2: support alternate platforms in order to achieve step 1.
    Step 3: once step one has been achieved, discontinue step 2.

    Whatever Mac support there is will be dropped at some point in the future.

  4. I’ll stay away from it…
    Forced to use Office already and that’s enough. By the way, I think this will be another lost cause for Microsoft anyway. In the 90’s it took them 2 years to discover what the internet was. Now they’re loosing market-share to alternative browsers… They know next to nothing about media (that works, anyway), Silverlight is just another effort to try and control what is happening on the internet. Boycot this thing, in the interest of your own wallet…

  5. Joe S.

    I for one hope this thing is DOA. If it ever catches on they will immediately drop Mac support.
    No Thanks…MS past track record on crossplatform support sucks. We already have plenty of REAL crossplatform solutions for media on the web. Here’s a couple Quicktime & Flash.

  6. Terrin

    Adobe and Google are making Microsoft nervous, so this is its way of trying to stamp out Adobe’s Flash. Since, Adobe and Google are generally good Mac citizens, I will not support Silverlight on principle. Moreover, it brings nothing different to the table then Adobe Flash does. Finally, who is too say that if Microsoft succeeds in displacing Flash, it then doesn’t kill Mac support?

  7. tom B

    I wouldn’t touch this puppy with a 10 foot pole. If the development tools aren’t on Mac, I expect no credible web designer will either, just those 13 year old jokers still using Front Page.

  8. Scott

    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.

  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. 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.

  11. Scott

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. Das Rymer

    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.

  14. MySchizoBuddy

    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?