Well, I've been a lousy blogger of late, but I've been crazy busy behind the scenes on a number of fronts.
The big news is that I've just finished by first week on Silverlight team as Principal Video Strategist. While this shifts by focus a little from being media format to technology platform centric, I'd been largely focused on Silverlight related projects for the last few months as it was.
Personally, I'm thrilled about this opportunity. I compressed my first video in the fall of 1989, and I've been working in the field full-time since 1995, so I've had a long time to think about where I've wanted the industry and the technology to go. For a long time, the biggest challenge was just delivering high quality video and audio to consumers, and that made getting the codecs and to a lesser degree format and protocols nailed. But the intersection of radically improve bandwidth (A decade ago, we still couldn't assume all users had upgraded to 56K, so we've got a LOT more bits to work with now) and big improvements in codecs (meaning we make each one of those bits count for more) means that we can deliver standard definition quality pretty easily today, with HD downloads working for a big part of the population. And while codecs will continue progressing, and will deliver us welcome improvements in compression efficiency every year. But we've reached the end of the era where big improvements in codecs are going to make a qualitative change in the consumer video experiences. It's really the systems layer which controls what the video can do that I think will be the focus of innoation over the next decade.
We are entering the era of Video on Demand, with new models of IP-delivered video making up an increasing share of video eyeball hours. The next big challenge is how to integrate our great video technologies into broader interactive environments. I've been frustrated that the VOD market, while it has continued to drive up quality dramatically, really hasn't offered interactivity much beyond what we had with VideoCD many years ago. With Silverlight, we have a great foundation to combine rich interactivity with high quality media which hasn't yet been possible in internet video.
I'm here at MIX in Las Vegas this week (I'm teaching the "Encoding Video for Microsoft Silverlight Delivery Scenarios" session at 3:00 on Wednesday), and am looking forward to a lot of great conversations about merging design, interactivity, and media.
There's a lot more news coming out about Silverlight this week, and I'll be blogging here with my take on these from a compressionist's perspective.
The Silverlight and Expression teams have long been a blast to work with, and I'm really jazzed to be formally a part of this now. We're going to be delivering some great stuff that'll delight both content creators and consumers.
And in unrelated news, I also shaved my beard.