Inauguration To Be Streamed Using Silverlight

Inauguration To Be Streamed Using Silverlight

There will no shortage of ways in which you'll be able to view tomorrow's Presidential Inauguration Events, either via TV or online. But regardless of the plethora of options available, that hasn't stopped the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) from also promising to host "live and on-demand video streaming of the official inauguration swearing-in ceremony on the PIC Web site." Perhaps what is most significant about the PIC's decision to stream the live event online is that it has chosen to do so using Microsoft's Silverlight technology.

Silverlight is a browser plug-in that enables rich-media applications, such as streaming video playback. It is most often compared to Adobe's Flash technology in functionality. Silverlight was the technology that NBC chose to use for streaming its online content of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Additionally, Netflix has adopted Silverlight as its online video-streaming engine for its Watch Instantly feature--which among other changes, has enabled Netflix's Watch Instantly feature on Intel-based Macs. But Silverlight does not work on older, PowerPC-based Macs; nor on Linux systems, and ZDNet reports that some Linux users feel left out.



Tomorrow's inauguration will not be the first one to have been streamed live over the Internet. Smithsonian.com claims that it was President "Bill Clinton's second inauguration [that] was the first to be streamed live over the Internet." The first-ever inauguration to be broadcast live over national radio was that of President Calvin Coolidge in 1925. President Harry S. Truman's inauguration in 1949 was the first to be televised; and John F. Kennedy was the first to have his inauguration televised in color in 1961.



The inauguration will be covered live on every major TV network, including the major news channels, such as CNN and MSNBC; and many of these TV-based sources will also be streaming the inauguration events on their Websites as well, such as CBS.com, MBC.com, and C-SPAN.org. Even Hulu will be streaming the inauguration live, getting its feed from Fox.

The swearing-in ceremony is scheduled to start on Tuesday, January 20 at 11:30 a.m. EST. Notable contributors to the musical portions of the inauguration will include The United States Marine Band, Aretha Franklin, John Williams, Itzhak Perlman, and Yo-Yo Ma.
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One can't but wonder how much Microsoft has paid the the President Inauguration Committee to ensure the exclusive use of its proprietary technique. This corresponds poorly to the Committee's pledge to Ā«... at the direction of President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden, ... organize an inclusive and accessible inauguration that reflects the new Administration's commitment to leadership that sets aside partisanship and unites the nation around our shared values and idealsĀ». I hope that this choice is not the prologue to the omen coming on regarding how the new US administration will view open source and other related questions, like net neutrality....

Henri

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