Silverlight Partner Initiative
"> Microsoft on Sept. 5 also is unveiling new Silverlight customer experiences on the Entertainment Tonight television news magazine, the Home Shopping Network and World Wrestling Entertainment, and also launched the Silverlight Partner Initiative, a program designed to foster collaboration among solution providers, content delivery networks, tools vendors and design agencies. "Our expectations for compelling, immersive experiences on the Web are increasing daily," Ray Ozzie, Microsofts chief software architect, said in a statement. "With todays release of Silverlight 1.0, were making it possible for developers and designers to deliver to individuals the kind of high-def experiences they crave by integrating data and services in rich and unique ways." Tom Spengler, CEO of Granicus, a San Francisco firm that specializes in providing streaming media solutions for governments with a strong emphasis on broadcasting public meetings live and on-demand, said he welcomes Silverlight 1.0.Granicus will be making Silverlight available to prospective clients and its entire client base of more than 300 governments, spanning 30 states, to expand their rich media communication capacity. "If a Linux-based Silverlight browser plug-in would enable our clients to reach their citizens more efficiently and cost-effectively, we support it," Spengler said. Javier Muniz, chief technology officer for Granicus, said Silverlight allows the company to transition from Windows Media Player without transcoding content. "Adding interactive functionality to the video player and support for cross-platform development with the .Net framework will also be major innovation drivers among our client base," Muniz said. "We are always looking for ways to increase our potential audience by targeting additional platforms, so a Linux version of Silverlight would be very positive for us." Advanced Publishing, in Saint John, New Brunswick, is "definitely using Silverlight for our new digital edition solution," said Trish Connolly, the organizations president and CEO. "We are planning to launch our new product based on this format this week. We spent a number of months reviewing different technologies before selecting Silverlight as our chosen viewer format. We wanted to ensure that we would be able to provide the best viewing experience possible with strong security and data capabilities that would appeal to our publishing customers." Silverlight has significant benefits over other cross-browser formatsnamely Flash and JPEG/HTML solutionsincluding data-driven capabilities, which enable better reader interaction with live data "to customize the reader experience and provide user-generated content features," Connolly said. In addition, she said, sharing features "allow for real-time sharing of content, both text and video." There also are improvements in online video over Flash in scaling from HD to mobile, XML-based presentation for better search engine optimization for video and text content, and the ability to deliver content and allow access across multiple devices, she said. "Having Silverlight available on Linux would certainly be a positive for us as we want to have our publications viewable by the largest population possible," Connolly said. "We do understand that Moonlight is in development and looks promising already." Is Silverlight a threat to Flash? Read more here. Major League Baseball Advanced Media, a subsidiary of MLB, in New York, has been using Silverlight on its portal for about a month for highlights and other video programming, said Matthew Gould, vice president of corporate communications. "In addition, weve also begun to integrate it into our news content. We are currently working to make Silverlight available for live baseball games on MLB.TV," Gould said. "We believe all of these efforts, along with the Silverlight application, will bring our fans a more interactive and enticing media experience on MLB.com." John McDevitt, vice president of advanced services at the Home Shopping Network, told eWEEK that his network chose Silverlight because "Silverlight enables us to deliver a rich, engaging customer experience around video regardless of platform. It allows us to immerse the customer in our great brands and allows them to explore our products in a really fun and innovative way." HSN launched a "very preliminary beta version Silverlight player [on www.hsn.tv.]," McDevitt said. "While the page itself has not yet been fleshed out, the player is up and running, and looks great. We will continue to add features to the page and the player over time." Meanwhile, to foster greater involvement and collaboration within the interactive media industry, Microsoft is rolling out the Silverlight Partner Initiative. More than 35 companies have signed up to take advantage of a broad range of marketing and technical benefits being offered. In addition to the release of Silverlight 1.0, Microsoft released Expression Encoder 1.0 (formerly Expression Media Encoder), a tool that simplifies the coding, enhancement and publishing of rich media content to Silverlight. Expression Encoder also eases production of live events using features such as multisource switching and publishing of content to services, including Silverlight Streaming by Windows Live, Microsoft officials said. 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"With Silverlight, Granicus is taking down the barriers in technology between Macs and PCs enabling our customers to more efficiently and effectively reach their constituents 24/7," Spengler said.