Macworld editor says Silverlight is much better than Flash for video

Silverlight is much better than Flash. This is the conclusion expressed by Jason Snell, the editor of Macworld, the international magazine for Macophiles, in his latest tweet on Twitter:

"Watching SNF on Silverlight has such better video performance than Flash on the Mac, it's not even funny. Earth to Adobe."
- Jason Snell (Editor, Macworld)

The editor of Macworld was watching NFL Sunday Night Football on NBC's awesome new online player, powered by Silverlight. It obviously impressed him.

NBC announced their new web player last month, and it went live earlier this month with very positive feedback from he public. American football fans were raving about it on Twitter during last night's game, flooding the micro-blogging web site with a deluge of tweets -- many of which sounded more excited about the Silverlight player than the game they were watching.

The Mac magazine editor's "Earth to Adobe" is a criticism of Adobe, which has lost touch with the standards demanded of a modern browser plug-in and associated development tools. Flash is a legacy technology which has fallen far behind. Adobe have enjoyed a monopoly for too long, and they have grown complacent.

In contrast, Silverlight is a next-generation client technology, both in and out of the browser, representing major technological advances and offering great improvements in performance, versatility and user experience. It provides completely new and infinitely flexible ways of doing things, uses real programming languages, and can be built using a proper Integrated Development Environment just like Java or C#. Silverlight us in a different league.

The most impressive differences between Flash and Silverlight are under-the-hood, but they're apparent to the user too -- Silverlight is noticeably better than Flash.

14 September 2009

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Tim Acheson (14 Sep 09, 11:59)

Here are some representative examples of the activity on Twitter during last night's American football game (samples collected through keyword monitoring):

Convergance is great - Time Warner Internet + + MS Silverlight + 23" Apple (old school) ADC Display = football bliss. No TV needed.
- keith_harper
Watching NFL streaming live from Its awesome. I would watch all the games if I could stream them like this. #NFL #NBC
- maestrojed
NBC really got Sunday Night Football right.. watch from multiple angles (in HD)
- frettsy
Watching Bears vs. Packers streamed live in HD (using Silverlight) with Sunday Night Fooball: Awesome quality!
- scottgu

what a bunch of bullshit based on a handful of tweets posted by ms fanatics

Tim Acheson (14 Sep 09, 14:03)

Since writing my last comment I've spoken to a number of people who tweeted about last night's NFL. Interestingly, it sounds like most users watched the game online on the screen of their PC/Mac/laptop. But I would strongly encourage people to use the next-generation of web-based interactive HD media players, like the NFL Silverlight player, on their TV set.

It's so easy to view web-based content on your TV. E.g. simply connect your computer to your TV with a HDMI cable. There's an inceasing number of computers on the market with HDMI output -- a trend that'll now increase markedly with the advent of Windows 7.

I routinely stream video to my TV from my PCs and laptops over WiFi. I generally do so using my Xbox because that happens to be connected to my biggest TV. ;) Even good-old Windows XP can do this, but ideally use Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows Media Centre.

In the long-term, the era of true "web on your TV" is now dawning, so you don't even need a separate device to use the web on your TV. Later this year at least one major manufacturer will be launching a mainstream TV set with integrated internet connectivity and fully-featured web browsers.

Tim Acheson (14 Sep 09, 14:13)

I thank "receptor" for his comment. It's easy to post an angry comment like that, but let's see whether he can back it up.

If anything I have written is inaccurate, please point it out. Otherwise, we can reasonably conclude that what I wrote is true -- even if some people don't like it.

I always try to cite credible sources for the key points in my blog posts. If I do make a mistake, I will always rectify it immediately.

In the meantime, I do feel obliged to provide more examples (listed below) to address receptor's angry challange. Fortunately, anybody who knows how to use the Internet properly is able to check the facts for themselves, for example by performing a quick search on Twitter.

A highly specific search for both "NFL" and "Silverlight" yields several pages of results, all positive about the new Silverlight player. The first ten results listed by Twitter right now amply demonstrate my original point.

Evidently "receptor" made an emotive comment without bothering to checking the facts. This is typical of anti-MS ranters who blog and comment so prolifically on the web. Professional Microsoft developers who dare to use the web have to deal with this sort of fruitless debate on a day-to-day basis.

Tim Acheson (14 Sep 09, 14:44)

Last 10 tweets on Twitter right NOW:-

Have a gr8 time teaching my 6 year old abt football w/ NFL+Silverlight. The pause & key plays R gr8.

Silverlight on the NBC site for NFL is awesome, like I said with SL3 ... Game on

Watched a little Sunday Night Football via Silverlight 3 and was impressed with the quality of the video and the cool features NFL included.

I had to logon and see the Silverlight experience with the NFL- it is amazing - DVR in the browser - with markers for key plays - very nice!

Msnbc's Silverlight live NFL video is best thing to hit internet since Brizzly.

Love the streaming Silverlight NFL player... I see they dropped the live thumbnails, not a fan of commercials when you change angle

Bears/Packers in HD with multi-cam view, live stats, DVR control & more live now with #microsoft Silverlight on!

I am a PC and I will be watching NFL online -, I am a Mac and I will be too :) Silverlight & Smooth Streaming

Wish I had checked out the Silverlight streaming NFL game tonight. I know I would have been impressed after the Olympics and DNC.

the Silverlight NFL presentation was terrific... really inspired me to investigate SL3 more...

Awesome, new NBC/NFL site using Silverlight 3.0 and Smooth Streaming.

Tim Acheson (16 Sep 09, 10:15)

NBC Sports reported a significant increase in traffic thanks to the new Silverlight player, after more than a quarter million viewers used the live online simulcast streaming service.

Hopefully Microsoft will not follow in Adobe's footsteps after it has achieved dominance with SilverLight, and continue to push the platform. I would hate to see them have to play catch-up like they are now having to do (IE6 and Windows Mobile).

Tim Acheson (07 Dec 09, 15:43)

Hi Adam, yes, it looks like Microsoft has learned valuable lessons. I think we can safely say that Silverlight will just keep getting better -- being a core product within the Microsoft Web Platform; and being part of the .NET Framework, MS's flagship dev platform; and being integrated with Visual Studio, MS's flagship IDE. The speed and scope of versions released so far (2, 3 and 4) have been extremely impressive.


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