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The Expression Encoder team has announced the plans for SP1 of their product (announced, not released).  You can read all the details on their team blog for more information, but two things caught my attention that are probably of most interest: H.264 encoding and a Silverlight 2 template in the box.

The H.264/AAC encoding support is a result of customer feedback (as well as preparing for future Silverlight support).  While the profiles in this service pack will be limited and may not meet the needs of everyone immediately, it is a great step and will probably meet the needs of most.

The templates produced by Encoder 2 right now have been Silverlight 1.0 templates.  This has been a sore spot for some wanting to move to Silverlight 2 and remove themselves from all the javascript that the templates have.  There have been a lot of solutions popping up (shameless plug: SL2VideoPlayer on Codeplex), but people still want the template in the box (note: you can do this with your SL2 players today as well).  The team announced they will be providing SL2 templates based on a core control called MediaPlayer which supports a wide range of features.  As you could imagine the template will support basic and advanced playback capabilities and will be able to be styled as well as advanced property manipulation in Expression Blend.  This one feature caught my eye and makes me happy:

Byte-range seeking: When a user clicks forward on the timeline into a non-downloaded region, the player will cancel the current progressive download and start a new one from the point that has been seeked to.

Sweet.  I can’t wait.  The SP1 will happen by the end of the year and will be a free upgrade to existing Encoder 2 customers.

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