So Silverlight gives Microsoft another tool to bushwhack its way into the living room.
If you hadn’t thought of this, Microsoft’s Sean Alexander called attention to the platform’s video potential in a blog post today.
He pointed out the work of Skinkers, a Microsoft-backed company in London. Skinkers has created a system called LiveStream, which provides multiple streams of live TV via the Web so they can be viewed on a PC desktop.
Skinkers is built on Silverlight, and uses peer-to-peer technology called Pastry that was developed by Microsoft’s Cambridge research labs.
Alexander is amplifying kudos the Skinkers project drew from Gartner analyst Alan Weiner, who called the application “Sling without the Box,” referring to the Slingbox place-shifting video device. Weiner wrote it up on his blog, after seeing a demonstration at the National Association of Broadcasters show last week:
So, the threats to cable and satellite, and for that matter IPTV, begin to line up. Certainly Joost is up there giving the cable and telephone companies something to worry about, but LiveStation (in which Microsoft has an equity stake) could be a bigger game changer as a viable live platform for the TV 2.0 crowd, as well as other content providers looking for new ways to reach the digital consumer.
The Microsoft TV portfolio is getting pretty fat, with LiveStream joining IPTV, set-top box software, WebTV, MSN Video, Media Center and the company’s investments in providers like Comcast and AT&T.
Whether LiveStream rises to the top of the heap remains to be seen. But one thing’s clear: Microsoft ought to lean on its pals in England for advice on product names. It’s hard to beat Pastry and Skinkers.