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Yesterday, the Silverlight Live Streaming team (SLS) posted an update on their blog regarding the future of the Silverlight Streaming by Windows Live service.

SLS was a beta service to users to have a place to host and deliver their Silverlight-based applications or media to be delivered by Silverlight players.  It was launched at the time of Silverlight 2 as a free beta service to users under the Windows Live brand and offered 10GB of free storage to beta users.

In summary, the SLS service is being discontinued.  Effective immediately no new account sign-ups are going to be permitted for the service.  Existing accounts are not going to be deleted, nor is the content at this time.  A date for final termination of the service has not yet been set and the team has stated they will provide ample time to users to get their content out of the service.

Is there a replacement, if so, what is it?

A new Windows Azure based service for hosting and delivery of similar content is planned to be launched by the end of 2009 and would be a service that SLS users might consider transferring to, however is not a direct replacement of SLS.  Windows Azure is a broader initiative for the company and this is just one service that will be offered as a part of the suite of Azure cloud services.  Windows Azure is a pay service and will have costs associated with use.

How can I get my content?

The SLS team blog post has information about how you can retrieve your content from the service.  In a nutshell, we’ve enabled the WebDAV folder support for users of the service.  This gives you the ability to map a drive to your account and move files in your file explorer utility.  The key pieces of information you will need to accomplish this is your SLS Account ID and Key.  These are different then your Live ID account you use to log into the service.  To retrieve these, log into your account at the SLS site and click on Manage Account in the SLS options on the left after logging in, like this:

SLS Account ID information

Make note of these two things.  The blog post has instructions on how you can use this information to map a network drive or network location to a WebDAV URL or share location to access your content.  I’m guessing the servers might be under some heavy load using this method so please be patient.  Remember that any authentication prompt is not looking for your Windows Live ID, but rather the SLS Account information noted above.

Summary and some FAQ

Yes, this is a bummer the service is going away as-is.  While the service was meant to stream any stand-alone Silverlight application, I know a lot primarily used it to host video content for blogs, etc. because of the web player it automatically generated. 

Q: Will the new Azure service enable video streaming and Smooth Streaming?
A: I think SLS had one of the most misleading names we’ve had on a product.  The video content on SLS was never really streaming in the technical sense.  It was always just a progressive download experience.  The Azure service details have not been completed for public detail just yet and will be announced when available as to what they will provide, costs and other details.

Q: What about the advertising platform?
A: Users who opted in and were approved for the advertising pilot with AdCenter will still have their AdCenter account information and content.

Q: When will you delete my content?
A: The final dates of discontinuance haven’t been determined and the team will give notice to all users (via the registered Windows Live ID account information/email and the blog) of timelines when they are available.  I would recommend to start downloading/saving your content now if you want it for later…this will save any mad rush to get content.

Hope this helps clarify anything but please also read the full announcement from the SLS team themselves.

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