Microsoft's Silverlight makes major league debut

Microsoft's Silverlight makes its major league debut on MLB.com.

The first major deployment of Microsoft's Silverlight technology went live Tuesday, with the Web site for Major League Baseball using version 1.0 of the browser for interactive video content.

MLB.com currently is using the technology to show video highlights of baseball games, integrating the Silverlight player with news stories and other content on the site. For example, a news story about New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez hitting his 500th home-run includes a mini-Silverlight player users can click on to view a replay. Users also can e-mail the video clips directly to friends from within the Silverlight player.

MLB.com is in the early stages of its use of Silverlight to enhance the site with multimedia content, said Matthew Gould, a spokesman for the site. Eventually, MLB.com plans to relaunch its MLB.TV live game media player, which streams baseball games on the Internet, with the technology. A beta of the revamped player is expected to be live in about a month, he said.

Microsoft unveiled Silverlight in April. The technology -- a competitor to Adobe Systems's Flash technology -- is a browser plug-in that allows Web content providers to offer rich video and interactive media directly within Web sites.

As with Flash, users must download the Silverlight player before they can view video content. The current version of Silverlight that is being used on the site, 1.0, is a 1.4M-byte file that takes about a minute and a half to download and install.

Prior to using Silverlight, MLB.com used the Windows Media Player and Flash to deliver its video content, Gould said.

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Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service

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