Looks like Microsoft has hit a speed bump in trying to get Silverlight adopted by broadcasters.
Some reasons for the Major League Baseball stopping using Silverlight might be coming to light. With 500,000 subscribers, MBL.com is the Web’s most successful subscription service, so well worth taking note of.
Background to Silverlight
Microsoft has been pushing Silverlight, their version of Adobe Flash, for many years.
It has been seen at Microsoft that it was essential that they attack the dominant position of Flash, which owns the playback on video online. The thinking? Flash stole the video market from Windows media player (WMP), we want it back.
The reason that Flash had trounced WMP was simple – the barrier to watching videos using Flash were virtually zero. 95%+ machines had a Flash player already; the videos played in a Web page, rather than an external player; and there was no apparent fuss with DRM, as you had with WMP.
MBL and Silverlight
Officially the Advanced Media part of the Major League Baseball will only say that it, “has an ongoing dispute with Microsoft because of the significant problems we encountered last year.”
CNet are citing “sources close to the negotiations,” highlighting a number of problems that caused the ruck.
The first and most obvious was that to install Silverlight, the user needed to have Administration rights to the computer. This is fine for home users, but for those wishing to watch on a company computer, it was a disaster.
The thought of an average Joe-worker asking the IT department to let him install a video player on his work computer, so he could watch the baseball, would have been laughed out of the room.
It’s reported that the stability of Silverlight was also an issue. The first day of the season last year was hit with problems – video playback glitches and not being able to log in. All exactly what you don’t want with 1/2 million sports-mad subscribers clamouring to watch _their_ sport.