Microsoft promises Web-based 1080p with 'Smooth Streaming'

Today, Microsoft announced updates to its "Smooth Streaming," which is a set of technologies for IIS and Silverlight designed to allow consistent full-screen high definition streaming.

Among Web servers, Microsoft's IIS enjoys about 33% market share (and slipping slightly) against market leader Apache, according to Netcraft analysis. Smooth Streaming leverages IIS Media Services (formerly known as IIS Media Pack) and Silverlight 3 to provide on-demand high-def media (720p to 1080p), or live adaptive streaming. The technology was first used with the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

The technology will be put to use once again for the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics on NBCOlympics.com. Utilizing Silverlight 3, streams will be offered both live and on-demand in 720p resolution. Other groups such as HSN, RAI, TV 2, and CTV have announced support for the platform.

The king of streaming Web video, however, continues to be Adobe Flash. In mid-March, CBS Interactive's TV.com beta tested 1080p streams based upon Adobe Flash Media Server 3.5, and YouTube rolled out 720p streams last December.

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