Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE TV implementation powered by Silverlight

By Tom Warren, on 7th Oct 11 2:21 pm with 23 Comments

Silverlight for Xbox

Microsoft’s recently announced Xbox LIVE TV service is powered by the company’s Silverlight technology.

The software giant announced its Xbox LIVE TV offerings earlier this week but remained quiet on the technology powering the implementations. WinRumors understands the service is powered by Silverlight. Microsoft has forked off the Windows Phone 7 stack and enhanced it for Xbox, Kinect voice and gesture support. The name of the project is “Lakeview”. Gigaom has some details on the project, indicating that Microsoft’s partners are not using the Smooth Streaming feature of Silverlight for video delivery, but have opted to use H.264-encoded video with Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) service.

According to sources familiar with project Lakeview, content partners had around 20 developer partners to choose from who write the apps in a custom version of Silverlight. Some of the Xbox LIVE TV applications are running on the “Lakeview” platform whilst others are using Silverlight 3. Gigaom reports that Microsoft is making additions and changes to Lakeview’s capabilities on a regular basis, causing content providers to update and re-test their applications. Microsoft is believed to be working on enhancing Lakeview to allow third-party developers to build their own apps for Xbox 360.

Microsoft has been preparing Silverlight on the Xbox for at least a year. The company was expected to announce the support at the MIX11 developers conference earlier this year. It’s not clear when Microsoft will officially unveil Silverlight in the Xbox, but the firm may wait until the platform is stable and complete. Extending Silverlight into the Xbox market will allow Microsoft to create unique opportunities for application developers. One source, who wishes to remain anonymous, hinted previously to WinRumors that the company may be planning to create its own application Marketplace that would see developers scale their Windows Phone applications over to the big screen Xbox experience. Microsoft’s Xbox dashboard unveiling at E3 earlier this year seems to back that up.

  • phil jay

    Now anyone say again silverlight is dead ~~

    • Guest

      Indeed, although positioning Silverlight as the cross-browser Rich Internet Application platform now looks to be rapidly replaced by HTML5/JS.  I still think Silverlight has lots to offer Line of Business applications running on intranets but for public internet sites Silverlight now seems more focussed on media playback.

      After all, to learn Silverlight you need to learn XAML & C#/VB so as long as those skills are transferrable (which they are) to Windows 8 Metro apps, Windows desktop apps (WPF), Windows Phone (Silverlight for Windows Phone) and hopefully Silverlight/XAML for Xbox then all is good in my view.

    • phil jay

      It doesn’t actually really matter that much if it’s SL, WPF, or Windows.UI, it’s all XAML. The only problem are all those small implementation differences accross the platforms. But generally, XAML will remain on the web, on the phone, on the xbox, on the pc, on the tablet… Even when all plugins disappear, there will still be XAML on the web I am very sure of!

  • SDreamer

    I think this is something that would have been pretty nice on Windows Media Center, but again, we have typical Microsoft segregation among their technologies.

    • Anonymous

      If its powered by silverlight, there is really no reason the experience couldn’t be deployed on media center..  with that being said though, silverlight 4 or lower is pretty slow.  They need to get SL5 out the door with GPU acceleration naooowww :)

  • http://twitter.com/gibbyhome Mark Gibbs

    God I hope the Beta comes SOOOOON !!!!!! I can’t wait …

  • matt cauthon

    They really need to drop the media center extender as a separate app at this point and put the media center extender capabilities straight into the right areas of the new tv stuff on the xbox.

    • Guest

      I think that is very much the direction Microsoft are taking.  For example, the new Xbox remote control does not include a “green” media center button to launch the extender. 

    • http://twitter.com/arnehelseth Arne Helseth

      Isn’t that because Media Center is dead rather than because they are taking a different approach? Yeah, I know, Sinofsky said MCE will be included in Win8 but I’m fairly sure that was never the original intent as the MCE team “silently” was disbanded years ago.

  • Guest

    “Microsoft’s partners are not using the Smooth Streaming feature of Silverlight for video delivery, but have opted to use H.264-encoded video with Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) service”

    Wtf? Any more background on why? MS has been working in this area for almost two decades and their partners chose Apple’s streaming technology?

    • Avatar Roku

      Yeah the Apple HLS stuff concerns me too, the video streaming I’ve seen on Silverlight like Netflix and the above mentioned Olympics was always very good.

      I wonder if the choice is because these are all mostly iPhone/iPad apps first and these apps are being deployed across so many platforms (iOS, Android, Roku, PS3, TV sets, etc.) in addition to Xbox?

    • matt cauthon

      Actually you can do smooth streaming using Apple’s HLS. There aren’t enough details to convince me for sure that smooth streaming is not being used. Microsoft’s IIS Media Services 4 supports smooth streaming Apple HLS live and on demand.

      My bet is that the reporter heard Apple HLS and thought that meant smooth streaming was not supported.

    • Guest

      Ok, thanks for that.

  • Anonymous

    HTML5 and ECMA/JavaScript have a really long way to go if they’re supposed to be the future. Silverlight and WPF are much more powerful. Just the fact that you have actual type checking and true polymorphism in C#/Silverlight makes it much better to develop with.

    Plus they’ve added C++ support for XAML in Windows 8 (as demonstrated at BUILD). Silverlight’s future is looking pretty good right now!

    • http://twitter.com/oolong2 oolong2

      HTML was designed for content NEVER for applications.  The fact that it’s used for applications today is nothing more than a mutation.  THis is why developing anything remotely complex is a nightmare and takes 10 times longer to debug even the most simple problems.

      Whereas Silveright and WPF were designed from the ground up to be a application platform.  With Silverlight being cross platform and the promise that one day Silvelright could be used on Xbox, Phone, and Desktop.

      Well we have Phone…  We Have XBox…..

      I’m really hoping that next year we will see a Silverlight 5 engine designed to work within Windows 8 Metro apps.  This would tie in with Windows Phone nicely and bring XNA to Windows 8 Metro as well.

  • BigChiefSmokem

    OMG Silverlight is dead!!

    Greetings from Poland! =)

    • Anonymous

      Please use a proper sarcasm closing tag.  You may confuse the NEWBS.

      /sarcasm

    • http://twitter.com/oolong2 oolong2

      The question is will newbs recognize a sarcam tag?  ;-)

      /s

  • Avatar Roku

    The multichannel HD streaming coming to Verizon FiOS on Xbox immediately made me think of the Olympics coverage on NBC.com which used Silverlight.

  • Anonymous

    MS…please support tuners in Xbox TV on Win8…so I can finally put MCE to rest :) Also, please support DLNA/PlayTo technologies both ways on the Xbox Companion App (inc. Xbox Live for Win8. By that I mean, it’d be brilliant if we could also view content on the Phone as well as controlling what’s on the TV/PC

  • Anonymous

    I really hope Ms brings Silverlight app development to the XBox. I have killer app that would be perfect for the XBox. I already have a ton of WPF and Silveright code. I have Azure services ready to go as well, assuming MS would allow my app to contact my Azure services.

  • http://twitter.com/karlcramer Karl Cramer

    I have no problem with this. Netflix streaming video uses Silverlight on Xbox, PC and Mac and looks great.

  • http://www.appatic.com Avatar X

    “indicating that Microsoft’s partners are not using the Smooth Streaming feature of Silverlight for video delivery, but have opted to use H.264-encoded video with Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) service”

    They are using H.264 because they can either be using the IIS7 S3 Module originally made to target iOS. Or Microsoft specifically added an improved video codec for the XB-SL video pipeline, something supported since SL3. They no longer need to change the format either way.