Windows Media Video/VC-1

Content in this category discusses how to produce Windows Media (VC-1) Video.

Smooth Streaming - Silverlight's Trojan Horse

Silverlight presents Microsoft with the classic chicken and egg problem – web sites won’t use Silverlight until the installed base passes some unknown tipping point, but the installed base won’t grow until web sites start using Silverlight. With recent high profile design wins, Silverlight's Smooth Streaming technology may break the logjam.

Silverlight Counterpoint

Earlier this week, I posted a column relating to Silverlight observations made while teaching a seminar at Stanford. My colleague, Stefan Richter, posted a snippet of the column on his site,, a premiere learning site for Flash developers. One of his readers pointed to another web site that presented a detailed technology comparison. The author, Alex Vandenberg, concluded that:

Ultimately for me the choice comes down to what you’re trying to achieve. At this stage if looks are your only concern, then Flex probably has an edge. However if you’re looking to build complex business functionality and are concerned with value for money then I think Silverlight offers a better value proposition. This is primarily due to the resultant code base that you would have with a Silverlight project; simpler, higher level, more maintainable and robust code. As complexity increases, so does the importance of having a well structured codebase. Without this the number of bugs and regressions can grow exponentially, in turn driving up development cost.

I’m biased, I’ve developed with C# for years and I’ve enjoyed doing so. Coming over to Flex I’ve felt like I’ve been working with an arm tied behind my back. It’s frustrating to be in an environment delivering a small fraction of what you know you could be achieving. Having said that, this particular Flex application is the best looking application I’ve ever seen!

I thought this presented a nice counterpoint to my column, and wanted to make it available to my readers. You can read the complete post here. Note that there was a fairly lively discussion about the points Alex made in the comments beneath the article.

Nothing Alex says convinces me that Silverlight makes sense for most external website today, but it does outline the value that Silverlight can deliver for internal web sites, and perhaps external sites once player penetration exceeds 80 - 90%.

Reflections on H.264 and Silverlight from a week at Stanford

All’s been quiet on the Streaming Learning Center front as I spent the last week teaching several courses on streaming media production and encoding at the lovely Stanford Campus at Palo Alto. Other than a quick sneak peak at the new Final Cut Studio, which you can read about here, it was pretty much full immersion into the streaming world from a user’s perspective. This led to several conclusions about the future of streaming video and Microsoft Silverlight that I thought I would share.

Which codec is hardest to play back; VC-1, H.264 or VP6?

One of the lingering rumors about H.264 is that you need a beast of a computer to play it back. Is this a reality or part of an insidious Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt campaign inspired by H.264 detractors and competitors. Well, read the article and find out!

Codec Comparison: VP6, H.264, and Windows Media - StreamingMediaEast - 2008

See the video of the presentation given at StreamingMediaEast 2008 in New York City. The session compared the video quality of the big three codecs: VP6, H.264, and Windows Media, and included a comparison of the primary H.264 codecs including Apple, Sorenson, Main Concept, and Dicas.

Comparing and Using Online Video Codecs - StreamingMediaEast 2008

This workshop focuses on comparing the quality, playback environment, and feature sets of the big three codecs (VP6, H.264, and Windows Media), including a comparison of the primary H.264 codecs including Apple, Main Concept, Telestream, and others. Attendees will also get an introduction to universal encoding parameters, like variable and constant bitrate encoding and I, B, and P frames, and then learn the technical requirements for producing files with each codec. During the final hour, the workshop will analyze which sub-$1,000 encoding tools do the best (and worst) jobs with each format.

Microsoft Expression Encoder

A review of Microsoft's Expression Encoder