Microsoft Silverlight Streams Into 3D Realm

Microsoft Silverlight has officially joined the 3D party, displaying live HD 3D streaming video at its NAB booth this week using a Silverlight-equipped set-top box.  German production company TVN is producing the video, which features a live feed from a radio station in Hanover, Germany.

“There’s a lot of broadcasters, especially in Europe, who are already doing 3D broadcasts,” says Steve Sklepowich, director of Silverlight marketing. “They can now look at the 600 million-700 million [Internet users] who can consume these streams in Silverlight as another possible option for what is next. It could be a way to further monetize [3D content].”

Inlet Technologies’ Spinnaker encoders have encoded the HD-SDI 3D output into Internet Information Services (IIS) Smooth Streaming, and the video is being delivered in 720p at 3 Mbps over the Level 3 content-delivery network (CDN). In addition, THX Media Director automatically configures the 3D settings for all the home-theater components.
The Microsoft booth features two displays of the live 3D feed. The first is displayed on a PC using anaglyphic glasses and the traditional Silverlight player, while the second is delivered via HDMI to a Panasonic 3D television (active glasses) using a Silverlight-enabled set-top box equipped with an Intel 4100 media processor.

“Essentially, what you have is full Silverlight on a set-top box,” says Sklepowich. “This Smooth Streaming is used for Xbox Live for 1080p delivery, but it uses the native Xbox player, not the Silverlight player. But here, it’s a Silverlight player. Everything — adaptive streaming, the rights-management technology, any of the stuff you saw for [Silverlight’s streaming of] Sunday Night Football or the Vancouver Olympics — can all be done on the set-top box.”

Microsoft plans to make these set-top boxes available to manufacturers in the fall, and Sklepowich expects them to hit the consumer market a few months after that.

Also on Silverlight’s horizon is live 3D streaming of a sporting event. Although Sklepowich would not offer specific details on the event, he says to expect streaming sports on Silverlight in the very near future.  “We’re going to be deploying live sports broadcasts using this technology very shortly — more as proof of concept than anything else.”