Skinkers integrates Microsoft Silverlight with peer-to-peer delivery

Skinkers , a provider of push technology, unveiled LiveStation, a peer-to-peer Internet broadcast technology co-developed by Skinkers and Microsoft Research. LiveStation integrates Microsoft Silverlight with Skinker’s peer-to-peer (P2P) technologies to set a new standard for cost effective delivery of high-quality live video content.

LiveStation uses Silverlight to create a rich interactive user experience for live video delivery. The peer-to-peer approach ensures bandwidth usage is minimized and removes the need for powerful, expensive server farms to stream live TV shows and events.

“Skinkers welcomes the introduction of Microsoft Silverlight with capabilities to enable our customers to deliver interactive web video experiences that blend media, graphics, and animation,” said Matteo Berlucchi, Co-founder and CEO, Skinkers. “Silverlight’s cross platform approach will enable us to deliver consistent experiences to both Mac and Windows users on a variety of browsers.”

“Internet broadcasting is the new frontier for content owners and there is clearly a market for the many video on demand providers currently emerging,” said Berlucchi. “We also know there is an enormous demand to stream live TV-like experiences to the desktop. Sports, concerts and breaking news have all proven popular online. Current streaming techniques require vast infrastructure demands to serve relatively small audiences. With LiveStation, broadcasters can scale up to audiences of millions for a fraction of the cost while guaranteeing a rich user experience with minimal latency and no buffering. By adding Silverlight to the mix we’ll be able to deliver experiences that transcend conventional broadcast capabilities.”

LiveStation users simply click on the LiveStation viewer, which can be embedded in a browser, installed from a website or distributed on physical media. The LiveStation viewer enables audiences to view live content on their PC and switch between channels if multiple live TV streams are offered. When running the LiveStation viewer, the user’s PC will join the “cloud” of peer-to-peer nodes watching the same channel and helping each other to stream the live content effectively and efficiently. This all happens without impacting the performance of the user’s PC.

“Silverlight’s support for web standards and industry leading Windows Media technologies enables it to easily integrate with both existing infrastructures and entirely new technologies like LiveStation,” said Forest Key, director of User Experience and Web Platform at Microsoft Corp. “The combination of Silverlight and LiveStation represents a powerful solution for content providers looking to harness the delivery of rich media experiences online.”

LiveStation is built on technology co-developed by Skinkers and Microsoft Research, who entered into a pioneering ‘technology for equity’ collaboration in June 2006.

The software represents the most advanced structured peer-to-peer technology for high-speed content delivery available today. From the results of this research, Skinkers has developed the Live Delivery Network, a fully productized enterprise-class software environment designed to support peer-to-peer applications. LiveStation is the first product that leverages the unique characteristics provided by the Live Delivery Network.

Microsoft Silverlight is a new cross-platform, cross-browser plug-in for delivering the next generation of media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web. Microsoft Silverlight (previously called “WPF/E”) integrates with existing Web technologies and assets like LiveStation to provide higher quality experiences with lower costs for media delivery. Delivered to end-users through a seamless, fast installation, Silverlight offers consistent experiences to both Mac and Windows users on a variety of browsers including Internet Explorer, FireFox and Safari.

The opportunity for broadcasters is significant. “For any broadcaster keen to build their brand in the online arena and harness the power of rich interactive media experiences, our LiveStation pairing with Silverlight is the perfect solution,” concludes Berlucchi. “It allows broadcasters to simulcast their program schedules to new audiences, thus opening new streams of potential revenue. As the broadcasting industry continues to rapidly evolve for Internet distribution, LiveStation and rich capabilities of Silverlight represent a significant opportunity to lead the field.”