The team has been hard at work to get this surprise ready and now we can let it out of the bag!

We are happy to announce that MuchMusic will broadcast the MuchMusic Video Awards online in High Definition powered by Silverlight and SmoothHD technology!!!

This is one of the biggest shows in Canada (Jonas Brothers, Lady Gaga, and a ton of other stars that teenagers go crazy for).  It’s also the 20th anniversary of the MMVAs – so it’s an extra special event.  Muchmusic will be broadcasting 6 live Silverlight streams online (5 Standard Definition from various backstage cameras and 1 full SmoothHD broadcast).  Interestingly, this will be the first North American execution of Live SmoothHD.

What is SmoothHD?  SmoothHD is a solution that combines the amazing cross-platform video experience of Silverlight, the streaming features of Windows Server and the power of the cloud.  In this case, MuchMusic captures the show live, pushes the bits in realtime up to Windows Servers in Akamai’s datacenters.  This solution creates a full Live HD experience (up to full 720p). The value is that users get the best picture, should see almost no buffer time and the video stream will automatically throttle itself according to the available bandwidth the user has.  (You can see an example in action here http://hdbeta.ctv.ca).

There are lots of other cool digital aspects to the show….. I went down to the set of the MMVAs earlier this week and met up with Ryan Trotman who is the Director Of Digital for Muchmusic/MTV.  We recorded a little video and talked about the web / digital side of the event.

You can read more about this in an interview we did for InformationExec located here.

Here is the copy of our official press release:

MuchMusic 2009 Video Awards Rocks a Canadian First with Real-Time Streaming in High-Definition Using Silverlight

Backstage Live to offer computer users a unique, multi-camera online experience

June 19, 2009 - Mississauga, ON - Microsoft Canada Co. announced today that MuchMusic, a division of CTV Limited, has selected Microsoft® SilverlightTM browser plug-in to give people across Canada one of the best seats in the house for this Sunday's 2009 Much Music Video Awards (MMVAs) in Toronto.

This year, anyone watching the MMVAs on a computer running Microsoft Silverlight will have access to Backstage Live, a unique, online video experience based on Silverlight that will stream the event live in high-definition - a Canadian first. Backstage Live lets viewers select from six different views powered by 21 cameras located throughout the event venue, so they can enjoy planned live on-stage performances from the Jonas Brothers, Lady Gaga and Black Eyed Peas, take part in exclusive behind-the-scenes celebrity interviews, peek into the VIP and press rooms, or join in the action from backstage or in the crowd.

As well, viewers can take advantage of the Alt Show cams to enjoy a "second screen" experience, letting viewers access TV footage framed in an alternate shot with different cameras. People using Backstage Live can also chat with friends live via Facebook and Twitter.

"The MMVAs are all about the fans, and Backstage Live gives them an entirely new way to experience the show," said Brad Schwartz, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Much MTV Group, CTV Inc. "Microsoft Silverlight technology is helping us make one of biggest shows of the year even more exciting by providing an interactive, online experience that re-defines what it means to broadcast on the Web."

"Web presence is about more than just a Web site - it's about extending the online experience into the everyday lives of consumers," said Mark Relph, Vice President, Developer and Platform, Microsoft Canada. "The MMVAs and Backstage Live are a great example of this, and we're proud that Silverlight is helping to bring Canadians closer to one of the biggest entertainment events of 2009."

The cameras start rolling June 21, at 9pm ET. To experience Backstage Live, visit http://mmva.muchmusic.com/category/pepsi-backstage/

For more information on Silverlight Smooth Streaming visit http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/smoothstreaming/