Microsoft Partnering with Intel and Broadcom to Bring Silverlight to Connected TV's, Set-Top Boxes

--Unveils IIS Media Services 4 and Silverlight Media Framework 2.0
--Ooyala and Kaltura to Incorporate Silverlight and IIS Media Services into their Platforms

Microsoft announced last week that it is working with system-on-a-chip (SoC) partners, Intel and Broadcom, to deliver support for reference designs that it says will provide the complete Silverlight platform to set-top boxes, connected TV's, Blu-ray Disc players and other connected consumer electronics devices (note: rival Adobe announced a similar initiative to bring its Flash platform to CE devices at last year's NAB show--see the article published on, April 21st, 2009). The company also 1) provided some information about the latest version of IIS Media Services, an integrated HTTP-based media platform, built on Microsoft Windows Server and designed to enable customers to deliver, monitor and monetize live and on-demand media content across enterprise, consumer and broadcast environments; and 2) announced the upcoming release of Silverlight Media Framework 2.0. The announcements are part of an NAB 2010 marketing push (in Booth SL220) that Microsoft says will see it "showcas[ing] new products and initiatives that make it easier for content owners and broadcasters to reach consumers across multiple screens with the highest quality Microsoft Silverlight media experiences, using a single runtime platform, server infrastructure and free programming frameworks."

According to Microsoft, it will use the NAB show to demo how Silverlight for SoC's will enable CE manufacturers to deliver native Silverlight support in future products. This native support, the company says, will allow content providers to deliver HD programming to the living room--complete with such Silverlight and IIS Smooth Streaming benefits as adaptive bitrate streaming over standard Internet connections, DVR-like capabilities, and support for Microsoft PlayReady DRM--on Broadcom BCM7420- and Intel CE4100-based devices for the connected home. A single Silverlight platform, Microsoft promises, means that developers and content owners can develop one experience that can be consumed across a multitude of devices. "Our vision is to bring Silverlight to every screen, and as we continue to expand the capabilities and resources for Silverlight and IIS Media Services, it's exciting to see the amazing ways our customers use these technologies to deliver outstanding media experiences for their end-users," Scott Guthrie, corporate VP of the .NET Developer Platform at Microsoft, said in a prepared statement. "We've brought together great tools and a great platform to provide content owners and broadcasters a great business opportunity."

Meanwhile, Microsoft says that IIS Media Services 4, as the new version is designated, will incorporate such new features as:

  • Multiplatform delivery with content protection, which, according to the company, provides content providers and broadcasters with the ability to encode once and deliver protected live and on-demand encoded content across multiple screens, both to Silverlight- and non-Silverlight-capable devices.
  • Smooth multicast support, allowing enterprises, telcos and cable operators to efficiently deliver adaptive media streams to multiple recipients over their internal networks with the benefits of IIS Smooth Streaming. The company says that the use of multicast technology dramatically reduces the demands on private networks for delivering such content.
  • Integrated encoding support, enabling third-party encoding products and Microsoft Expression Encoder 4 to be integrated into IIS Media Services 4, thus allowing customers to benefit from an integrated encoding and delivery platform.

In addition, Microsoft says, it will deliver the IIS Smooth Streaming Client 1.0, providing advanced playback functionality; and the IIS Smooth Streaming Format SDK 1.0 and IIS Smooth Streaming Porting Kit 1.0, which are designed to enable third parties to add Smooth Streaming support to their products. In its booth at the NAB show, the company plans to partner with Inlet Technologies, Level 3 Communications, THX and TVN on a demo of live, HD content in 3D, using IIS Smooth Streaming and Silverlight.

According to Microsoft, its NAB demo of Silverlight Media Framework 2.0 will show how the technology can simplify and accelerate the creation of rich media experiences based on Silverlight. The technology, which is based on the Silverlight player used for the 2010 Winter Olympics by, Canada's CTV and Norway's NRK, will, Microsoft promises, allow content providers to rapidly create compelling media experiences with almost no coding. The company is releasing the technology under a Microsoft open source license, allowing it to be used and extended by third-party developers without royalties or fees.

Microsoft has also announced partner support for its Silverlight Analytics Framework, which it describes as a framework for integrating business intelligence analytics into Silverlight applications: companies supporting the Framework include AT Internet, comScore, Conviva, Eqatec Analytics, GlanceGuide, Google Analytics, Location3 Media, Nedstat, The Nielsen Company, Omniture, PreEmptive Solutions, Quantcast, Telerik, Unica, and Webtrends. In addition, broadband video platform providers, Ooyala and Kaltura have announced plans to use the Silverlight Media Framework to incorporate full Silverlight and IIS Media Services support into their platforms.

Microsoft claims that Silverlight has now been installed in close to 60% of all Internet devices worldwide, and that media companies that used Silverlight and IIS Media Services to deliver online broadcasts of the 2010 Winter Olympics include CTV, Czech Television, Eurosport, France Televisions, NBC, NOS, NRK, RAI, SBS and TVP. Other customers, according to the company, include Portugal Telecom, Swisscom, Red Bull,, HSN and Major League Soccer (note: the latter three are using Silverlight to deliver content on mobile devices).

According to Microsoft, Silverlight for SoC's is scheduled to be available as a beta for hardware and device manufacturers to evaluate by the end of the year; Silverlight 4 and the Silverlight Analytics Framework will be available later this month; IIS Media Services and related IIS Smooth Streaming technologies will be available as a beta by the second quarter; Expression Encoder will be available by mid-year; and Silverlight Media Framework 2.0 will be available by the end of the second quarter.

North America