Silverlight 3 is a major update and delivers a ton of new
features and capabilities. Some of the new Silverlight 3 runtime
Silverlight 3 now supports hardware graphics acceleration –
enabling both video and graphics compositing to be offloaded onto a GPU.
This can dramatically lower CPU usage on a computer, and enables HD video to be
played on older low end machines. You can now deliver and play 1080p HD
video experiences over the web.
Silverlight 3 includes new media codec support for H.264
video, AAC audio and MPEG-4 content. This enables you to easily play and
stream media encoded using these standards. Silverlight 3 also includes
raw bitstream audio/video APIs that enable you to create additional codecs (in
any .NET language) that support playing any other media format.
Silverlight 3 also adds a variety of additional media features that enable
better logging (for media analytics and ad monetization scenarios), provide the
ability to disable screen-savers when playing long-form video content, and
enable content protection.
Services is a free server product that complements Silverlight and provides
the ability to efficiently stream media over HTTP. It enables both
on-demand and live HD video to be delivered using “smooth streaming” - which is
an adaptive streaming algorithm that can deliver video at bitrates optimized
for a client’s network conditions and CPU capabilities. Check out this
demo to see a good example of smooth streaming in action with Silverlight.
The HD support within Silverlight, combined with the Smooth
Streaming support of IIS Media Services, enables a dramatically better video
experiences on the web. This past week alone, we’ve had multiple
customers broadcast live HD events using Silverlight and smooth streaming (up
to 3MBits) including: Wimbledon, the Tour de France, AVP Volleyball, and the Michael
Jackson Memorial Service.
The new GPU acceleration capabilities of Silverlight 3
enable even richer and more immersive graphic experiences.
Silverlight 3 also adds new perspective 3D support that can
be used with graphic elements, videos and controls. Silverlight 3 also
includes new bitmap and pixel APIs, as well as the ability to create and apply
custom pixel shader effects (e.g. blur, dropshadow, swirl, etc) to any image,
video element, or control. Easing support can also now be used to enable
more textured motion within animations.
Out of Browser Support
Silverlight 3 enables applications to run outside the
browser and taken offline. Users can safely install web applications on
their computers, and create persistent shortcuts to them on the desktop, start
menu and taskbar (this is supported on both Windows and the Mac).
New network detection support within Silverlight enables
developers to monitor the network status of a machine and switch between
offline and online modes within their applications. Silverlight 3 also
includes an automatic update mechanism for applications – so that clients who
have installed applications are automatically updated when new application
versions are deployed on the originating webserver.