First look at DRM for Silverlight

It had to happen sometime: Microsoft announced today DRM is making its way onto the Silverlight platform, powered by none other than the company's elusive PlayReady content access technology.

Silverlight, Microsoft's cross-platform answer to Adobe's Flash, was unveiled last year just two months after their PlayReady "cross platform" DRM was announced.

Silverlight DRM is, naturallly enough, a cross-platform version of the PlayReady client used only by the Silverlight browser plugin. It is compatible with Windows Media DRM 10 content, and will support live and on-demand streaming as well as progressive downloads.

PlayReady's drawn-out launch included
very few major developments over the course of 2007, but its integration into DRM in Silverlight 1.1 was long expected.

This announcement no doubt plays into NBC's broadcasting of the 2008 Summer Olympics on its Web site through Microsoft's Silverlight technology. For the 17-day event, the official site will broadcast an estimated 2,200 hours of programming with features such as event scheduling with pop-up reminders and picture-in-picture viewing.

When Silverlight's main competitor Adobe Flash added DRM to its Flash Player 9 and Flash Media Server 3 recently, it drew criticism from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Silverlight thus far, however, has drawn more skepticism about its potential inclusion in Windows 7 than its built-in DRM.

Silverlight's PlayReady DRM will be previewed at the NAB show in Las Vegas all this week.

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