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Microsoft Announces Silverlight 5

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Today at Silverlight Firestarter, an all-day developer's event at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Washington, Scott Guthrie, corporate vice President in Microsoft's Developer Division, gave attendees and a Web-viewing audience a first look at Silverlight 5. It will be available in beta in the first half of 2011, with the final release coming later that year.

Silverlight 5 adds more than 40 features to the platform, with additions for both premium content viewers and developers.

For media experiences, Silverlight 5 will add GPU-accelerated video decoding to reduce the load on the CPU when streaming HD video. This will allow even netbooks to stream 1080p HD video.

Silverlight will also gain "trickplay," which allows material to be played back at various speeds, but with the speakers' voices corrected with pitch control so they don't sound odd. Guthrie suggests that this would be a good way to speed up slow-paced training videos.

Viewers won't be bothered by screen savers that activate during a video, thanks to improved power awareness. Finally, viewers will be able to use remote control devices, thanks to built-in remote control support.

For developers, Silverlight 5 will bring significant data-binding improvements for enhanced developer productivity, WS-Trust support, cleaner text rendering, a Postscript Vector Printing API, and accelerated 3D graphics support thanks to GPU usage. Developers will also gain greater out-of-browser capabilities, such as the ability for out-of-browser applications to create and manage child windows, automated user interface testing support with Visual Studio 2010, and 64-bit browser support.

"We are really excited about the great new capabilities that Silverlight 5 will deliver, and look forward to getting your feedback," Guthrie wrote.

For more details, read Guthrie's blog post or view the keynote.

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