The beta of the next version of Microsoft Silverlight, version 5, will arrive in the first half of 2011, said Scott Guthrie, the corporate vice president in Microsoft’s Developer Division. He made the announcement at Silverlight Firestarter, an all-day developer’s event at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington, headquarters. Look for the final release later in 2011.
Silverlight 5 adds more than 40 features to the platform, with additions for both premium content viewers and developers.
For media experiences, Silverlight 5 will add GPS-accelerated video decoding to reduce the load on the CPU when streaming HD video. This will allow even netbooks to stream 1080p HD video.
Silverlight will also gain “trickplay,” which allows material to be played back at various speeds, but with the speakers’ voices corrected with pitch control so they don’t sound odd. Guthrie suggests that this would be a good way to speed up slow-paced training videos.
Viewers won’t be bothered by screen savers that activate during a video, thanks to improved power awareness. Finally, viewers will be able to use remote control devices, thanks to built-in remote control support.
For developers, Silverlight 5 will bring significant data-binding improvements for enhanced developer productivity, WS-Trust support, cleaner text rendering, a Postscript Vector Printing API, and accelerated 3D graphics support thanks to GPU usage. Developers will also gain greater out-of-browser capabilities, such as the ability for out-of-browser applications to create and manage child windows, automated user interface testing support with Visual Studio 2010, and 64-bit browser support.