Microsoft to Show Off Silverlight 4

Microsoft plans to give broadcasters a peek at the next version of its Silverlight streaming media technology this week as company executives show their wares at a major global media show.

Silverlight 4 will add native multicast support as well as offline digital rights management (DRM), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) said in a statement Tuesday. The glimpse of Silverlight 4 will come at the International Broadcasting Conference (IBC), which starts Friday in Amsterdam. The DRM support will come via Microsoft’s PlayReady technology.

Also on the list of show and tell technologies at the conference will be Internet Information Services (IIS) Media Services 3.0, which is due to ship within 30 days, the statement said. Media Services 3.0 will provide interactive HD-quality Live Smooth Streaming video (up to 1080p) to Silverlight-based media players.

Microsoft launched Silverlight 3, the company’s response to Adobe’s Flash and AIR technologies as well as JavaFX from Sun Microsystems, in mid-July at a gala, invitation-only bash in San Francisco.

Silverlight 3 adds media enhancements such as H.264 video support as well as 3D support and GPU hardware acceleration. It will also run applications outside a browser, including on mobile devices.

Additionally, Microsoft said it will put its IIS Smooth Streaming Transport Protocol and Protected Interoperable File Format (PIFF) specifications under the Microsoft Community Promise, the company’s guarantee that it will not sue developers that use technologies under that aegis.

“With technologies such as Live Smooth Streaming, we are furthering our commitment to provide cost-effective, scalable solutions to deliver the latest in high-quality, true HD and enhance the way audiences experience online video via Silverlight-based media players,” Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Platform, said in a statement.

According to the statements, Microsoft also plans to ship a beta of the Smooth Streaming player development kit with Media Services 3.0.

Microsoft did not reveal any timeframe for Silverlight 4.

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