Microsoft Announces Silverlight Streaming and More at MIX07
Demos: Silverlight in Action
While Guthrie went deep into all the ways that Silverlight makes development simpler and more cost-efficient (such as the fact that Silverlight apps can be created in several different programming languages including Python and Ruby), the customer demos were the real highlight of the keynote, however. Netflix CEO Neil Hunt demonstrated the service’s "instant view" feature, which now uses Silverlight to deliver on-demand movies online using the VC-1 format, integrating Netflix’s movie information features (movie descriptions, actor bios, and the like) as well as social media functions such as comments and ratings. Most notable, though, was the "shared viewing" function, which allows users to instant message other users and invite them to watch the movie at the same time, with an IM window overlay allowing for chat. "Silverlight allows us to create things on the fly that we dream up any time of the day," said Darin Brown, EVP of strategy for Razorfish, which developed the instant view feature for Netflix.
Jonathan Leess, president and GM of CBS Television Stations, unveiled the new "CBS-Your Take" feature that the websites from all 36 of its stations will be unveiling soon. Much in the way that Flash Video has allowed YouTube and other user-generated content sites to allow for easy uploading and transcoding, so does Silverlight allow users to share their video with their local stations, with the possibility that the video might be broadcast on-air at some point. While their video is uploading and transcoding, visitors to the site can continue to browse existing user-generated clips in a gallery that they can modify to display in a grid view, a list view, a filmstrip view, or a "cloud view," which layers clips in a cluster in different sizes depending on the popularity of the video. The videos include semi-transparent advertising overlays that scale when users change the video size.
MLB.com vice president and chief architect Justin Shaffer demonstrated new updates to Major League Baseball’s streaming video offerings, including chat and picture-in-picture, as well as semi-transparent widgets that let viewers track specific players or get a graphical representation of who’s on base. Shaffer also previewed MLB.com’s mobile application for next-generation phones, which offers many of the same features scaled for the mobile screen.
But perhaps the most unique demo came from Beau Ambur, CEO of Metaliq, who demonstrated a browser-based video light table application that he and his team built using C#, Visual Studio, and Expression Studio. The application allows a user to view up to nine video clips at once in order to get a feel for whether or not there’s anything usable in them, and then to trim them and drag-and-drop one on top of another to combine them into the same playback. The managed application, which he called "Top Banana" and which Microsoft will release as a sample on the new Silverlight community site (http://silverlight.net), also allows a user to get a "filmstrip" view of an individual clip, with a dozen individual still frames displayed above the clip itself in order to give an idea of what images are available throughout the video.