A couple new blog posts that I thought might be of interest here.
First, the Expression Encoder 2 SDK was just launched, which makes it possible to automate the product. Combined with the "adaptive preprocessing" features that automatically adapt the output to the source frame rate, aspect ratio, and interlaced/progressive mode, this could enable some pretty interesting stuff:
Second, I did a test to see how much better Windows Media 9 Series encodes have gotten since the launch of the platform back in 2003 and with today's current implementation. This demo compared live quality at 600 Kbps then and now.