Microsoft is about to release a batch of technology in a bid to make its proprietary Silverlight video codec more palatable to content creators and users.
The company today announced plans to release Internet Information Services (IIS) Media Services 3.0, which enables the delivery of interactive, high-definition-quality Live Smooth Streaming, and new tools to simplify the process of putting Silverlight encoded videos online.
Microsoft will show off developments in Silverlight 4 at the International Broadcasting Conference in Amsterdam, including native multicast support and support for offline digital rights management (DRM).
The firm will also release its IIS Smooth Streaming Transport Protocol and Protected Interoperable File Format specification, which is being done under its faux open-source-style agreement called Microsoft Community Promise.
Microsoft has had some success in gaining customers for Silverlight, including broadcasters Canal+, France 24, NBC Sports, Sat. 1, ProSieben and TV 2.
Frederic Vincent, business development manager at Canal+, which already uses Windows Media Player, said that Silverlight "provides more accessibility and simplicity to our users".
"It uses Silverlight and PlayReady, we can run our web TV services such as Foot+ on most internet browsers while maintaining a high level of content security," he said.
Silverlight works on PCs and Apple Macs.
In an early preview of Silverlight 4's media-specific features, Microsoft showed off what its next generation of movie experiences could do even when saddled with its offline PlayReady DRM.
The firm has done this in the hope of getting movie studios and retailers behind the idea, and to provide the same "rich interactive experiences" via digital copy and internet distribution as consumers get with DVD or Blu-ray.
A Microsoft spokesperson said that Silverlight 4 will enable movie studios to offer network-delivered updates, special offers and live events, and flog more than just one or two movies to punters.
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