Media in Web Applications
Internet web applications these days need media to make them compelling. Videos and animations are part and parcel of the overall web experience. Your competitors will be using them, and so must you.
Problems with rich Media
While it's easy to see the uses of rich media, developing applications that make use of them has always been a bit problematic due to the fact that a different set of skills need to be maintained. Designers who specialize in the animations need to be hired since different frameworks and architectures are used compared to those required for regular websites.
The inconvenience of Flash
Flash, while being an extremely powerful tool for delivering rich media content, is not convenient to use. Debugging is problematic and a new development environment is needed. Using Flash with the powerful .NET framework is messy at best.
Silverlight is Microsoft's alternative to flash. It has two components. One used for developing, and one used for viewing. For developing on the .NET platform, Silverlight is the correct choice for all the right reasons. It integrates perfectly into the .NET environment, requiring little or no extra skill. There are controls that can be dragged and dropped right from the toolbox just like with regular ASP.NET programming.
This is the probably the biggest advantage of Silverlight. With .NET developers already using toolboxes and components in their ASP.NET applications, Silverlight is easy to learn and program too. This reduces the cost of developing applications.
The Visual Studio IDE
Silverlight can be programmed right from within the Visual Studio IDE, allowing all application development to take place in one area. Creating a project with rich media content becomes as easy as selecting "New Silverlight Project" from the file menu!
In addition, programmers can develop in the language of their choice, be it VB.NET or C #
Silverlight for Consumers
From the consumer point of view, nothing could be simpler than viewing Silverlight content. All they need to do is to install a plugin that is available for all the browsers on both the Windows as well as the MAC platform. Even Linux users have the "Moonlight" implementation that they can use to view Silverlight media. With support for HD videos, Silverlight is sure to wow the visitors to your web page and deliver the experience you want in an easy and painless fashion.