Microsoft's Silverlight platform may not be anywhere near as ubiquitous as Flash, but it is growing steadily. However, with the help of SRS, the company has gained a leg-up on the competition by releasing a toolkit to implement 5.1 audio.
Using the new tools, content-creators can easily include full surround-sound with a video stream. A 5.1 capable device can then decode the stream, letting users experience the full 6-channel output.
Of course, a huge number of devices include one of SRS's audio-processing technologies, meaning that a great many of them will already be capable of handling the enhanced audio.
While we don't expect this to revolutionise the way that we use Bing Maps, there are numerous sites that could benefit from the toolkit. BSkyB's Sky Player makes use of Microsoft's platform for streaming TV, films and sporting events, as does the online component of Netfilx in the US. Both of these sites could benefit from surround-sound with the new platform, especially when streaming to HTPCs or internet-enabled TVs.
While Flash is capable of 5.1 support, Adobe hasn't produced any sort of toolkit, instead leaving the implementation in the hands of individual developers. Though this news is unlikely to shift the balance too far in Silverlight's favour, it could grab the attention of one or two media-streaming sites.
Full details, along with a white-paper on implementation of the new features can be found at the SRS Silverlight page.