in Technology

Why NBC dumped Silverlight for Flash?

The Olympics online were a joint production between NBC and Microsoft, and an opportunity for Microsoft to build a user base for Sillverlight, its new media player. But Flash has a much larger installed base — it’s installed on 98% of Internet-connected desktops, and is pretty much the standard for all mainstream Web video. During the Olympics, 40 million US to visitors NBCOlympics.com didn’t yet have Silverlight installed.

However, NBC dumped Silverlight in favor of Flash for live streaming of Sunday Night Football this fall. (Via: Valleywag)

  1. You should be aware of the fact that Silverlight supports DRM in video and Flash does not. Also, Silverlight supports true streaming video, while Flash video in fact is progressive downloading.

    The contract between the Olympics and the broadcasters did not permit the broadcaster to use progressive downloading for the Olympics. That made Flash a no-go. :)

    Perhaps there aren't such rules for Sunday Night Football.

  2. You should be aware of the fact that Silverlight supports DRM in video and Flash does not. Also, Silverlight supports true streaming video, while Flash video in fact is progressive downloading.

    The contract between the Olympics and the broadcasters did not permit the broadcaster to use progressive downloading for the Olympics. That made Flash a no-go. :)

    Perhaps there aren't such rules for Sunday Night Football.

  3. @Rachid:

    Couple of factual errors in your comment:

    - Flash video does support DRM (now), but only for downloaded content played via Adobe Media Player.
    - Flash supports both progressive and streaming video, just depends on the servers used.

    Microsoft paid NBC a lot of money to use Silverlight instead of Flash. It's not like they did a fair evaluation of the two technologies side-by-side.

    To assume silverlight is better just because it was used for this one particular project is a bit ignorant.

  4. @Rachid:

    Couple of factual errors in your comment:

    - Flash video does support DRM (now), but only for downloaded content played via Adobe Media Player.
    - Flash supports both progressive and streaming video, just depends on the servers used.

    Microsoft paid NBC a lot of money to use Silverlight instead of Flash. It's not like they did a fair evaluation of the two technologies side-by-side.

    To assume silverlight is better just because it was used for this one particular project is a bit ignorant.

  5. Nice job of clearing the air, Rossman. With the Olys, NBC was calling the shots, and Microsoft bought their way in. The NFL has all their stuff in Flash, and they own the contract, so NBC had no say. Even though some people had studdering video in this broadcast, the fault was with bandwidth, not Flash as a technology.

    Given equal streams and bandwidth, it is not a question of Flash vs. Silverlight, it's h.264 HD (MPEG-LA) vs. VC-1 HD (MIcrosoft's WMV). The winner? Well, that was already decided in the Blu-Ray HD-DVD war. Hollywood won and Toshiba/Microsoft and lost. Toshiba would have quit earlier if Microsoft wasn't paying them to keep on. Payola was why NBC used Silverlight. Rumor is that Microsoft is asking the NFL how big a check they need to use Silverlight.....

  6. Nice job of clearing the air, Rossman. With the Olys, NBC was calling the shots, and Microsoft bought their way in. The NFL has all their stuff in Flash, and they own the contract, so NBC had no say. Even though some people had studdering video in this broadcast, the fault was with bandwidth, not Flash as a technology.

    Given equal streams and bandwidth, it is not a question of Flash vs. Silverlight, it's h.264 HD (MPEG-LA) vs. VC-1 HD (MIcrosoft's WMV). The winner? Well, that was already decided in the Blu-Ray HD-DVD war. Hollywood won and Toshiba/Microsoft and lost. Toshiba would have quit earlier if Microsoft wasn't paying them to keep on. Payola was why NBC used Silverlight. Rumor is that Microsoft is asking the NFL how big a check they need to use Silverlight.....

  7. Actually Blu ray also support the VC-1 codec. VC-1 is actually a lot lighter so more usable for lighter hardware (like netbooks) that do not have hardware accellerated decoding of h.264 which his a very heavy codec but not significantly beter than VC-1

  8. Actually Blu ray also support the VC-1 codec. VC-1 is actually a lot lighter so more usable for lighter hardware (like netbooks) that do not have hardware accellerated decoding of h.264 which his a very heavy codec but not significantly beter than VC-1

  9. NBC streamed all its NBCOlympics.com videos using Microsoft's Silverlight backend tech, but the network dumped Microsoft before last night's NFL kickoff — streamed live over NBCSports.com and NFL.com — opting to use Adobe Flash instead.

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