Live From the Silverlight 3 Launch

We’re here at the Microsoft Silverlight launch in San Francisco. Silverlight 3 was supposed to go out today, but it was released last night — “a small mistake that somebody made and we decided to let it go,” says S. “Soma” Somasegar, VP in the Microsoft Developer Division.

Now Scott Guthrie, also VP in the Microsoft Developer Division, is laying out what’s new in Silverlight 3 (nothing you haven’t heard before, if you’ve been paying close attention):

  • Live and on-demand 1080p smooth streaming over standard HTTP
  • Adding PVR support with live video
  • Instant seek behavior

Guthrie lays out some lessons from recent/ongoing implementations: The Michael Jackson funeral saw 4-5x time spent, almost an hour spent, with smooth streaming. Tour de France now with interactive experience. 3Mb HD smooth streaming for Wimbledon with interactive experience. When we’re streaming live we can take advantage of edge-caching around the world. Dramatically lower TCO and far fewer servers. Wimbledon was done with only two web servers total.

Eric Black NBCSports.com: NBC Sports is committed to Silverlight for all of our events. Diving into Wimbledon: 35 hours of simulcast HD coverage, also ancillary content online. Looking forward to Vancouver Olympics: DVR, slow-motion replay. It’s stuff that we can’t show on-air that we have bandwidth to show online. We have used a lot of different products, we have developed on a lot of different products. We look for best-in-class solutions, and Silverlight has proven to be a best-in-class solution.

Back to Guthrie: We want you to build even more immersive experiences, so we’re enabling these new features in Silverlight 3:

  • Hardware acceleration
  • 3D
  • Pixel shaders
  • Deep zoom
  • Photosynth

Another testimonial: Thomas Hughes, the VP worldwide digital media at MGM. Introducing a new show: StarGate Universe — iteration of long-running StarGate franchise. Shot pictures of set of new ship for the show explicitly for building a massive Photosynth in Silverlight — users can see tremendous detail, looks almost like artists’ renderings. “We can go in and see excruciating detail.” 5-second ad for MGM products when switching between things. Launched two days ago and within 24 hours fans had already translated random art department scribblings only visible with a serious amount of zoom.

Guthrie again on the out-of-browser experience. Silverlight 3 enables use whether offline or connected.

Another customer on stage: Sonjoy Ganguly, VP product management at Accenture. Built Business TV app on Silverlight. They’ve time-coded videos, enabled deep zoom. Using exact same codebase, we can provide the experience as an app outside of the browser with rich interactive experience and analytics reported back to publisher. Only difference is no deep zoom offline.

Guthrie: Business applications — Silverlight supports .NET, rich networking, data binding, systems integration, rapid development.

Another customer demo: Aaron Hynes from Continental. We have a long focus on customer relations. User experience for call center reservations rebuilt in Silverlight. Can handle low-bandwidth situations, and is deployed out-of-browser as well.

Intro to new Expression 3 features. Not live-blogging this part.

Somasegar again: 400,000 Silverlight developers today, growing rapidly, 300 partners. Claims it is the fastest-growing plug-in “in the history of mankind.” His pitch: This is “the complete platform.”

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