Blog Post

Silverlight Takes First Step Into the Living Room

Microsoft (s MSFT) this week announced Silverlight would be integrated with the Xbox “within the next year,” marking the rich Internet application platform’s first move into the living room. The company hardly trumpeted the news. For now the integration is only to display IAB ads in Xbox Live, and the announcement was made all the way over at the ad festival going on this week in Cannes during a presentation about “Harry Potter.” News trickled back via Twitter and blog post.

You might assume Silverlight would already be used across all of Microsoft’s products and platforms, but that’s not the case. Internal adoption is a serious effort of its own, said Brad Becker, director of rich client platforms, in a visit to NewTeeVee this week. Remember, Silverlight and Windows are not bundled together, an area where Microsoft has gotten into legal trouble in the past.

Microsoft is playing catchup in the living room, which seems odd given it’s clearly the next big platform for web video. Silverlight’s main competition, Adobe (s ADBE) Flash, made a splash at NAB this year with the demo of an upcoming version of Flash that’s optimized for televisions, set-top boxes and Blu-ray players. But there’s still time to catch up, given nothing is out yet. The new Flash runtime is expected to be included in some televisions before the end of this year, according to Adobe.

Clearly, Silverlight-powered ads on Xbox are just a start. Soon enough content creators will be able to encode once, and go to the Xbox, phone and PC, said Becker. We sought to clarify further plans with a follow-up email after the meeting. “There’s nothing specific to announce on future integration at this time,” was the response.

Xbox, meanwhile, has been active on the video front, and recently announced 1080p instant-playing videos along with social features and better Netflix integration at E3.

Image courtesy of The Silverlight Blog.

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