Microsoft Set to Take On Flash in Online Video with New Player Code Name “WPF/E” — New Player will Be Viral with Embed Code

By on 01/31/2007 12:36 PM @beet_tv

View a transcript of this interview

There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the introduction of Microsoft’s Expression — the new suite of multimedia authoring tools.  Some industry observers see this as frontal assault on Adobe’s popular software. 

Here at Beet.TV we have been quite interested in video aspects of Expression and how this might be a challenge the ubiquitous position of Flash from Adobe — the program that plays video on nearly all video sites.

Yesterday, the Expression team was in Manhattan where I caught up with Eric E. Zocher, General Manager, Authoring Tools Manager (who appears first in this video) and Brad Becker, Senior Product Manager (he gives the demo).  They shared some really impressive videos and explained about the new video publishing platform and how it works.

The new video platform is code name WPF/E, which stands Windows Presentation Foundation, part of the new Vista. To view these new video files, you need to download a free 1 MG desktop application. You can download to both a PC and Mac.  The video and the download can be found only at the Microsoft Channel 9 video blog

The videos look very good and stream well. I understand that existing .wmv files can be easily transfered to the new WPF/E platform.  So, a lot of Window Media player file will be more "Flash" like — which I think is important. 

Microsoft is providing web authoring and encoding tools for users.  There are no special server licenses required beyond the Windows server, natch.

Beet.TV has learned from sources in Redmond that these WPF/E files will be shareable via an embed codes later this year.  I also learned that Microsoft’s video sharing site SoapBox will shift from a Flash distribution to WPF/E.

What does this all means to video revolution and whether WPF/E will be embraced by the public and publishers is hard to say.  But, we need to keep an eye on this.    

For background on the development side , I suggest you read these posts by Ryan Stewart on ZDNet.   Also, a lengthy interview on this topic has just been posted to Channel 9.

News You Can Use — Check out Business Week’s story on some of the most exciting start-ups in the online video space.

Andy Plesser

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