Microsoft's Silverlight: Yes, we can

The browser plug-in has been tapped to enable live and on-demand video streaming of Tuesday's inauguration events on the Presidential Inaugural Committee Web site.

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
Leslie Katz led a team that explored the intersection of tech and culture, plus all manner of awe-inspiring science, from space to AI and archaeology. When she's not smithing words, she's probably playing online word games, tending to her garden or referring to herself in the third person.
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Leslie Katz

Just as President-elect Barack Obama has been busy assembling his Cabinet, the Presidential Inaugural Committee has been busy selecting providers of tech services for this week's inaugural festivities.

The PIC has already made arrangements with YouTube, Twitter, and Flickr. The latest appointee? Microsoft's Silverlight Media Player, which has been tapped to enable live and on-demand video streaming of Tuesday's ceremony on the PIC Web site.

The PIC will also stream video of a Baltimore event on the Whistle Stop Tour that will take the President-elect and Vice President-elect Joe Biden to Washington, D.C., from Philadelphia.

This is not Silverlight's first major foray into politics. In August of last year, the Democratic National Convention Committee used Silverlight to stream convention proceedings, including President-elect Obama's acceptance speech.

Silverlight's participation in the inauguration could help Microsoft boost the momentum it gained from its work with NBC streaming live coverage for last summer's Olympics in Beijing. Over a 17-day period, Microsoft said NBCOlympics.com had more than 50 million unique visitors, resulting in 1.3 billion page views, 70 million video streams, and 600 million minutes of video watched.

After initial sluggish demand for the browser plug-in, the software maker said the Olympics helped boost Silverlight's U.S. penetration by 30 percent.

Silverlight, a competitor to Flash, debuted in 2007, and the final version of the Silverlight 2 media player came out in October. Among the new features are support for digital rights management technology, improved cross-platform support and deep zoom technology.