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Silverlight to support H.264?

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Ed Dooley
Silverlight to support H.264?
on Sep 19, 2008 at 9:56:35 pm

Ben, are you out there? What will it mean? I read Silverlight 3 will be the 1st version with H.264 support (is SL@ even out yet?). Does this mean I'll be able to compress one version (subject to my usual cross-platform gamma angst) and have it play in Silverlight, QuickTime, and Flash?
Ed


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Daniel Low
Re: Silverlight to support H.264?
on Sep 19, 2008 at 11:09:25 pm

Sorry I just had to step in here Ed ;-)

Actually it'll be supported in Silverlight 2

Here's the Microsoft press release from IBC:
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2008/sep08/09-09silverlight.msp...

Ben's blog:
http://on10.net/blogs/benwagg/H264-and-AAC-support-coming-in-Silverlight/

My take:
VC-1 & Silverlight have failed to set the world on fire in the way Microsoft hoped they would. HD-DVD died and although VC-1 is used to encode a certain percentage of Blu-ray titles in the States, it's just not the same case in Europe and the ROTW.
VC-1 lags behind .264 quality and despite easier decode requirements it's just not making the inroads hoped.

Despite everything blogged about Silverlight NOT being a competitor to Flash, why else would it be around, apart from being easier to code and deploy?
Microsoft feel they are hurting badly from the mass penetration of Flash and as such FLV and .264, despite them being harder to code, messier to work with and harder (and more expensive) to deploy.

So IMO, in order to try to get more share of the market, Microsoft have swallowed their pride a little in making .264 a part of SIlverlight 2+.
As Ben says in his blog "We have customers with libraries of H.264 content they wanted to publish to Silverlight, but didn't want to reencode to VC-1'.
Funny that they didn't choose VC-1 in the first place, also funny that they'd go with Silverlight over Flash considering that all their clients would have to install yet another player..What is it that Flash won't do that they'd need Silverlight for?

Yea, it doesn't add up, does it.

Obviously, I totally acknowledge that Microsoft played a big part in the development of H.264 which makes it even more strange to me that they would then go to all the effort of producing a competitive format, that doesn't have the performance, or potential of .264, and is, as we are now seeing, doing everything it can just to keep it's head above water. Microsoft are throwing very large amounts of marketing cash at it just to do this..

Same old story, "we know we're not as good as you, but if we throw enough cash around we'll probably win.

It's just Microsoft over again, they just can't stand anybody doing anything without them trying to compete then dominate and hopefully finally crush (or buy and swallow up):

E.G.

Quicktime - MS video/Windows Media
MPEG-4 - MS MPEG-4 V1/2/3
Netscape - Internet Explorer
OpenGL - DirectX
OSX - Vista
Blu-ray - HD-DVD
iPod - Zune
'touch' - big ass table
Flash - Silverlight
H.264 - VC-1
I'm a Mac ad - I'm a PC ad
Google - Whatever.

Of course competition is healthy but...

They should go back to the drawing board and back to their roots, buy a decent OS, skin it and get it out of the door, then work on copying the other stuff, better. (Tongue only slightly in cheek)

Lastly, what are the chances of being able to author once and deliver to the three platforms? Quicktime and Flash maybe, but Silverlight as well, I might have to find a hat to eat....!!!



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Ed Dooley
Re: Silverlight to support H.264?
on Sep 20, 2008 at 5:33:28 am

Thanks Daniel,
Happy to have you jump in. I referenced Ben because, well.. he's the Silverlight guy.
Both the links you showed actually show H.264 coming in Siverlight 3 though, as I said. :-)
Read 'em carefully.
Ed



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Daniel Low
Re: Silverlight to support H.264?
on Sep 20, 2008 at 11:35:49 am

"The big news is that, yes, we're going to add support for MPEG-4 to Silverlight, in the version coming after the fast-approaching fall release of Silverlight 2. Specifically, this will be H.264 for video and AAC for audio."

I guess it's how you read it.

As there's specifically no mention of version 3, I assume that it'll in version 2.x, as I said. ;-)

Otherwise they would have said 'H.264 will be available with the release of Silverlight 3'.


Anyhow, are you getting asked to produce for it?

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Ed Dooley
Re: Silverlight to support H.264?
on Sep 20, 2008 at 1:03:50 pm

I guess it is a bit vague, they don't say 2 in the release, but they don't say 3. Here's what Brian Goldfarb of Microsoft says though (from Sitepoint):
>>>In advance of the IBC Conference starting later this week in Amsterdam, Microsoft today announced support for H.264 and AAC in its Silverlight API. Microsoft will be demonstrating a working tech demo of Silverlight with H.264 and AAC support, though I was told by Brian Goldfarb, Director of Developer Platform and Tools at Microsoft, that it won’t be available to the public until Silverlight 3. Silverlight 2 is expected to ship later this fall.<<<

I haven't been asked for H.264 content playable in Silverlight. My question to Ben was "does this mean I can encode one file (H.264) that will now play in QT, Flash, and Silverlight?" That would be nice, if possible.
Ed



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Daniel Low
Re: Silverlight to support H.264?
on Sep 20, 2008 at 2:05:51 pm

Well spotted, my mistake.

After some digging it would appear that they plan to ship V.3 early next year - that's a rather rapid product cycle!

My question to you was rather, are you being asked to produce content for Silverlight, (not H.264 obviously)?

This is quite interesting:

http://www.brooksandrus.com/blog/2008/09/10/convergence-silverlight-3-to-su...

And this
"Silverlight 3 won't be able to play .flv or .swf content, said Sklepowich. But it will be able to play H.264-based .f4v content."

from here:
http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/index.php/id;1843917013;fp;32768;fpid;4875587




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Ed Dooley
Re: Silverlight to support H.264?
on Sep 20, 2008 at 2:54:24 pm

I haven't been asked to produce any Silverlight content. My corporate and institutional clients are pretty much in the dark ages technologically. It's almost always either a dual format delivery of WM9 and H.264 QT, or an ON2VP6 Flash file (ocassionally all 3).
Silverlight just got me pissed off recently. I travel in Europe a lot, and usually have 3 or 4 destinations per trip, so I try to fly intra-Europe on RyanAir or EasyJet to save $. RyanAir's website now requires Silverlight for their Destinations interactive map. My home Mac still has 10.3.9, which precludes me seeing the map at all (it requires 10.4.8). Arggghh (leftover from yesterday being International Pirate Day)!!!!!
Ed



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Daniel Low
Re: Silverlight to support H.264?
on Sep 20, 2008 at 7:08:52 pm

LMAO - Ryanair's website is lesson in extremely bad website design, it's awful. Ryanair the airline is a lesson in extremely bad customer service, I've had nothing but a horrible experience flying with them. It's always worth paying the extra, even if it's for Easyjet!






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Ed Dooley
OT: was Silverlight to support H.264? Now Ryanair
on Sep 20, 2008 at 8:39:42 pm

I learned the hard way (meaning paying hundreds of dollars extra for baggage) how to fly on RyanAir,
buy an extra seat. I fly from Ireland most often (Irish citizen), and mostly in the late fall and early spring (when the weather's still good, but the tourists and the higher prices they bring are absent).
Their carry-on and checked baggage restrictions are stiff because they're designed to be a weekend getaway or quick business trip airline. When you buy an extra seat you can pack a production bag with 100 pounds of stuff and strap it into a seat. I've paid as little as $5 USD (total) for a flight from Spain to London, so that extra seat is a bargain. Can't always do it, but when it works it's very good.
Ed



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