Posts tagged "content protection"

Announcing Adobe Media Server 5.0.1

Today, we announce the launch of Adobe Media Server 5.0.1 – a product that has completed a successful decade in the Video Streaming industry. Adobe Media Server is  targeted for Broadcasters, Enterprises and Governments across the world for their video on demand and live Streaming initiatives. It  enables adaptive bit rate streaming to desktop and mobile devices along with content protection. It has features to enable DVR, IP multicast, Application multicast, Media origin configurations that are useful in global video streaming workflows.

In the communication space, Adobe Media Server supports scalable P2P communication like in Online Games, many to many Video Chats on Social networks and in Collaborative Web Conferencing.

Our recent success stories include Streaming of BBC Olympics and landing of NASA Mars Rover Curiosity.

Adobe Media Server Logo

Adobe Media Server Logo

Adobe Media Server 5.0.1 brings to you – Closed Captioning compliance, DRM protection for millions of iOS Devices and Playback Support for Multiple Language Audio Tracks. Before we detail these features – let us tell you about a few goodies.

There is a Starter edition that is free for you to try out the various features. Adobe Media Server 5.0.1 comes bundled with Adobe Media Gateway – a powerful technology to connect SIP telephony devices to flash based applications.  The Sample Player that gets in the bundle and the Flash Media Live Encoder together provides a comprehensive suite of technologies to jump start your Video Streaming initiatives. There is a Closed captioning plug-in which helps you to play HDS and RTMP closed captions. And there is Adobe Access iOS library written in Objective C for your HLS DRM players.

We have simplified the product upgrades pricing from the earlier versions.  The product has also been re-branded to reflect our reach beyond Flash devices.  We would explain the features now.

Closed Captioning

Closed captioning allows the content provider to display text overlayed on the video content thus providing

Adobe Media Server enables Closed captions compliance as per FCC regulations

Adobe Media Server enables Closed captions compliance as per FCC regulations

additional information about the video content to the consumers. The term “closed” in closed captioning indicates that the captions are not made part of the video by default. Hence, the captions have to be decoded/extracted by an external tool.  Adobe Media Server supports  CEA-608 (also called Line 21) and CEA -708 closed captions in video files containing H264 video codecs. This plays in HLS, HDS and RTMP Streaming protocols.

Additionally, the timed text track defined by Apple for Quicktime movie files is also supported. AMS provides a tool to convert videos with timed text tracks to videos with captions embedded in H264 video codecs.

Adobe Media Server 5.0.1 also provides support to embed your content programmatically while encoding the content via an AMF message. This works for RTMP and HDS techniques. More details can be read in our User Guide. The Closed Captioning  feature provided by Adobe Media Server will help the US broadcasters achieve FCC compliance.

AMS Player playing a video with Closed captions

AMS Player playing a video with Closed captions

Support for Multi Language tracks

Adobe Media Server 5.0.1 has support for including multiple language tracks for HTTP video streams, without requiring duplication and repackaging of the video for each audio track. This feature, called as “late” binding of audio tracks allow content providers to easily provide multiple language tracks for a given video asset, at any time before or after the asset’s initial packaging. The initial packaging of the video asset can include an audio track, and the publisher can still choose to provide one or more additional audio tracks for the video. The OSMF framework based Strobe Media player provides support for allowing the viewers to switch between audio tracks either before or during playback. Read Details here.

Content  Protection for HLS Streams

Adobe Media Server offers both stream and content protection across HLS, HDS and RTMP protocols. It also enables DRM protection using the Adobe Access DRM license server.

In this release, we added the ability to provide Adobe Access DRM protection to HLS streams. Now, Adobe Media Server can dynamically segment, encrypt, and deliver standard MP4 assets using the HLS format with Adobe Access DRM policies on native Apple iOS applications (using the Adobe Access Objective-C library for iOS). This would enable broadcasters using our Adobe Access DRM  to secure their streams to millions of iOS devices

Adobe Media Server 5 also supports a light weight content protection of HLS video streams using Adobe Access protection but without requiring a separate license server. This technique is called PHLS ( Protected HLS). Here  the content encryption key is sent via a metadata that has the license files and the access rights are negotiated between the player and the Adobe Media Server instead of a license server.

Please check out the Release notes for the  list of bugs that have been fixed. There are new documents being made available on Developer Centre. So check that out as well. Product Features, Pricing and Edition comparison can be done on the Product pages. If there are any queries – you can always reach us out on our Forums.

If you are new to Adobe Media Server – we hope you get started using the Free Starter edition.

We are committed to deliver awesome features that simplify your Video Streaming flows. So stay connected and  expect more action from us in the coming months.

Cheers

Team AMS

Flash Access 3.0 Launching Today at IBC

I just arrived in Amsterdam to help with the launch of Flash Access 3.0, the evolution of Adobe’s premium content protection solution. For those of you who read this blog, you’ll know that Flash Access is a studio-approved content protection and monetization solution used by many of the leading content providers. With this new version, we are dramatically expanding the device reach and introducing features to enable emerging use cases. Let’s walk through some of these changes.

As we had anticipated, Flash Access will now be supported on mobile devices, including a number Android tablets and smartphones as well as other devices such as RIM’s Playbook device. While the commercial availability of the client runtimes will need to wait until the upcoming release of Flash Player 11 and AIR 3, we have been in prerelease for a while and working closely with a number of customers on this. With the immediate availability of Flash Access 3.0, customers can begin deployment and be ready by the time the clients ship later this year.

With Flash Access 2.0, our primary focus was on video-on-demand use cases. Now with 3.0, we are extending this to linear content, in a model that we refer to as TVoIP. This will enable both established MVPDs/PayTV operators as well as programmers looking to “go direct” to consumer devices with the equivalent of TV channels. This gets extra interesting as we introduce this capability in the upcoming AIR 3 for TV — customers can now offer a TV-like experience, on a big-screen TV, going over IP either in a managed network or over the open Internet.

Another key forward-looking enhancement is that Flash Access 3.0 will allow content retailers and service provider to create UltraViolet experiences. If you’re not familiar with UltraViolet, it is a cloud-based solution for content distribution that helps remove many of the barriers that exist for great digital content experiences by improving compatibility between devices and content retailers. Adobe is a founder in DECE, the entity that is creating UltraViolet, and Flash Access had previously received the nod from the studios as one of the approved technologies.

With Flash Access 3.0 and the upcoming Flash runtimes, it will be possible to offer a full UltraViolet experience, including support for centralized device domains and playback of content in the UVVU Common File Format, on the vast number of devices that support our platform, while also offering premium features such as rich interactivity.

There’s a lot more than I can cover in this blog post. If you’re at IBC, stop by the Adobe booth and somebody will walk you through a demonstration. Tell them you read about it on the Flash Media blog!

Florian
@florianatadobe

Reshaping video distribution … again

Since we launched Flash Access 2.0 at Streaming Media East on May 10th, things have been extremely hectic. During the weekend I was able to catch up on my blogging and wanted to provide a quick update for those of you following this space.

I’ve been spending some time on the road, and will continue through the month of June, helping people understand how Flash Access can help them with content monetization. This included a week in Hollywood meeting with the major studios and some online service providers; we walked away with a strong sense of support for the technology being used for premium content. Requests for information continue to pour in from around the world. Frankly, the level of interest in Flash Access has exceeded our expectations.

But it isn’t just about Flash Access. Adobe is, once again, changing the content distribution landscape with a number of technologies that are becoming available this month. Last week we put the finishing touches on HTTP Dynamic Streaming, Adobe’s technology to enable streaming experiences (fast start, trick play, network DVR and multi-bitrate support) using standard open source HTTP servers for both live and video-on-demand services. This technology, which will be supported by the major Content Distribution Networks, enables massive scalability by leveraging the existing installed base of HTTP servers.

We also released version 1.0 of the Open Source Media Framework. By creating a standard framework for development of video-rich applications on the Flash Platform, we are making it easier for content providers to monetize content while reducing the development time. Perhaps more importantly, OSMF enables easy integration of plug-ins from the ecosystem of partners offering everything from ad placement, measurement, optimization, etc.

And then of course there are Flash Player 10.1 and AIR 2.0, both in final stages of beta. These new versions of our runtime are taking Flash Player to a whole new level of content protection, with built in support for Flash Access on PCs/Macs. In addition, there’s a big push to bring the power of Flash to other devices, including smartphones, tablets and TVs.

So how does all this come together and what does it mean to you? Flash Access 2.0, Flash Player 10.1, AIR 2.0, HTTP Dynamic Streaming and OSMF 1.0 can be combined to create a rich and secure experience, with low cost and high revenue potential. Who would say No to that?

One question I keep getting is whether Adobe is discontinuing RTMP/RTMPE. That’s not the case. For a lot of people, Flash Media Server, SWF verification, RTMP (Real Time Media Protocol) and its secure counterpart RTMPE will continue to be the best solution, eg to create interactive experiences with data flowing in both directions.

A concern I’ve heard from some people is that Flash Access is “too heavy” when all you need is some sort of “lightweight protection”. I think this is at least in part a perception issue based on people’s experience with traditional DRM systems. It is also important to consider that in order to enable access to ever more desirable content (eg higher resolution, earlier release windows), content owners expect a higher level of robustness.

One of the reasons for the widespread adoption of RTMPE to protect premium streaming content has been its simplicity, scalability and user experience. We have taken steps to make sure that remains the case when using Flash Access, whether it’s used for streaming of live content with HTTP dynamic streaming, for VOD or for electronic sell-through models requiring download with local playback. But that’s the topic for another blog post some other time.

Florian Pestoni
Principal Product Manager
Adobe Systems
Twitter: @florianatadobe

Flash Access 2.0 ships – come and get it!

Today at Streaming Media East in New York City we announced the commercial availability of Adobe Flash Access 2.0. Flash Access is a content protection and monetization solution that is part of the Adobe Flash Platform and can be used for streaming or download of protected content to a browser or application. The client runtimes, Flash Player 10.1 and AIR 2.0 will be available shortly, with support for Flash Access on Windows, Mac and Linux computers.

For the Flash Access team, this represents the culmination of many months of hard work to create the next gen content protection solution. We have received very positive feedback from customers and partners and look forward to seeing adoption by the ecosystem.

Flash Access can be used on its own, e.g. to protect content delivered over progressive download, or in combination with other Adobe video distribution technologies such as Flash Media Server or HTTP Dynamic Streaming that enable the best possible end user experience.

Ultimately, the purpose of content protection is to enable content providers to strike the right balance between access and control. By providing flexible mechanisms to support business models such as subscription or rental, Flash Access creates new opportunities for media companies to realize new sources of revenue and for consumers to gain access to compelling video content that otherwise would not be available online.

In the enterprise space, where video content is increasingly important for use cases ranging from company meetings to training, Flash Access can help secure these video assets and preserve confidentiality were required.

To find out more about Flash Access, please visit our product page at http://www.adobe.com/go/flashaccess.

Florian Pestoni
Principal Product Manager
Adobe Systems

Flash Access 2.0 Shipping in May + Adobe Sponsoring DRM Conference

It’s been a long road, but we are in the final stretch to ship our next-gen content protection product, Adobe Flash Access 2.0, next month. We are seeing a lot of interest in the product from partners and customers waiting for Flash Access to fill a need for stronger content protection in Flash Player and enable new monetization strategies.

We have been in private beta for some time now and have received great feedback from partners who have helped us improve the product. We look forward to continue working with them as they deploy Flash Access, whether internally for their own use or as the technology for enhanced content distribution and monetization services.

Some of you may be familiar with the work we are doing around HTTP Dynamic Streaming (aka “Project Zeri”). What you may not know is that this technology is designed to work in conjunction with Flash Access to enable protected HTTP streaming for both Live and Video-on-Demand online video distribution.

You’ll be hearing more about Flash Access and HTTP Dynamic Streaming in the weeks and months to come. I’ll be at NAB next week, with presentations at the Adobe booth scheduled for Monday and Wednesday at 9:30 AM. Then it’s off to Streaming Media East in NYC next month.

I’ll be back in New York in June for the Copyright and Technology Conference, which Adobe is sponsoring. I’ll be moderating a panel on Best Practices for Monetizing Premium Video Content, where we are planning on having some great speakers; more on this later. There are other panels that also promise to be very interesting.

If you are planning on attending any of these events, feel free to stop by to say hi.

Regards,
Florian
Twitter: @florianatadobe

Understanding Adobe’s Content Protection Offerings

As we discussed in a previous post, content protection is a key tool that can be used to monetize premium video online.

Adobe offers a couple of ways to achieve this; which one you use will depend on your specific needs, content and infrastructure. In this post, I describe some of these options at a high level, hopefully addressing some of the misconceptions (or is it FUD?) that exist out there.

For those of you who use Flash Media Server to stream content to Flash Player, in addition to advanced features such as Dynamic Streaming, you have the option of using the built-in content protection features. These are in very broad use today by some of the leading streaming content providers around the world, including Hulu, Amazon and M6.

The first of these features is RTMPE, the encrypted version of Adobe’s Real Time Media Protocol. RTMPE provides session-based protection, which means that all data between client and server is encrypted using a different key, which is negotiated for each “session”. RTMPE will encrypt all data that goes in the “pipe”, whether it’s video content, data or headers. This is used to block tools that intercept the stream or try to impersonate a valid client in order to make unauthorized use of the content, such as making an unprotected recording (aka ripping).

In addition, FMS also supports SWF Verification, which is used to limit playback of the content to only the video player applications (SWF) that have been authorized. This works best when used in combination with RTMPE: once a secure tunnel has been established between client and server, the Flash runtime computes a hash of the video playback SWF that’s running and then sends that hash securely to the server, where it is compared against a list of approved SWFs; if there’s no match, the connection is rejected.

If this isn’t your first time on this blog, you’ve probably seen other posts regarding Flash Access. To recap, Adobe Flash Access is an advanced content protection solution that we are rolling out in the first half of this year and will work with Flash Player 10.1 and AIR 2.0. (This product was initially launched under the name Flash Media Rights Management Server, but the 2.0 version will adopt the new name and a much improved architecture. FMRMS 1.5 is the current version, and is being used by the BBC for their iPlayer Desktop and by at least one major US studio.)

Unlike the features described above, content protection using Flash Access is not tied to FMS; while you can use both products together to get all the benefits of streaming plus advanced control over content consumption, you can also use each one independently. For instance, you can use Flash Access to protect progressive downloads or with the upcoming HTTP Dynamic Streaming (formerly “Project Zeri”).

With Flash Access, the operating principle is a bit different than with RTMPE. The content is persistently protected, ie it is encrypted once and remains protected wherever it goes. This makes it cache-friendly: whether the content is cached at the edge on the CDN or in the browser cache, it is encrypted and does not represent a security risk. Flash Access also allows you to define a number of usage rules, which are enforced by the client and can help support your business model, whether it’s video on demand, rental, subscription or download to own, to name a few of the more popular models out there.

This requires a few changes to the content workflow: encoded content must be run through a “packager” that encrypts the content. The packager is fileformat-aware: rather than blindly encrypt headers and metadata, it creates a valid file (e.g. F4V) with an encrypted payload. This means that the files can be streamed or downloaded like any other file over any protocol, whether it’s RTMPE, HTTP or something else.

However, once the content arrives in the player, you have the bits but not the rights to play the content. This triggers a request to a “license server”, hosted either by the content distributor or by a service provider on their behalf. The license server will only issue a content license, which contains the key necessary to play back the content, to clients “in good standing”, ie it will reject attempts from rogue clients.

SWF verification is also supported, but now the “whitelist” of approved SWFs can be included in the content license and is enforced by the client. All the the really sensitive operations, such as cryptographic operations or rules enforcement, happens in the native code in the runtime where it is difficult to hack. The application or ActionScript code acts as a sort of remote control, triggering operations such as license acquisition and registering to receive events that may be surfaced to the user.

I hope this provides a good overview and helps identify when each technology may be most appropriate. If you’d like to learn more about the content protection features in FMS, check out the article on Adobe Developer Connection. You can also find more details about Flash Access, including an in-depth whitepaper, on our Flash Access product page.

Florian Pestoni
Principal Product Manager
Adobe Systems
Twitter: @florianatadobe

DECE Adopts Adobe Flash Access

The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) has selected the upcoming Adobe® Flash® Access software as one of the approved content protection solutions required for premium video.

Adobe is a DECE Founder, and there are over 45 companies from every industry involved in digital media participating in this effort. In case you haven’t heard of DECE before, it is a consortium of leading technology vendors, content providers, consumer electronics companies, and service providers working to enable improved consumer access to entertainment content.

I’ve been spending a lot of my time over the last year or so working in DECE with representatives of these various companies, so it was great to be able to announce a number of key milestones today. Adobe is pleased to contribute to the creation of a vibrant ecosystem that makes possible new ways to connect users with premium content. DECE’s adoption of Adobe Flash Access will vastly expand the reach for DECE content and generate new revenue streams for participants.

Flash Access software will allow retailers and content owners to utilize the Flash Platform to reach hundreds of millions of devices in a short period of time, enabling compelling end-user experiences. DECE’s approval also signals broad studio support for this technology.

If you follow this blog, you probably already know that the Adobe Flash Platform is a complete system of integrated tools, frameworks, clients and servers for the development of Web applications, content and video that runs consistently across operating systems and devices.

Adobe Flash Access 2.0, a key component of the Adobe Flash Platform, is a scalable, flexible content protection solution that enables the distribution and monetization of premium content. Flash Access 2.0 provides a way to combine the unprecedented reach and interactivity of the Adobe Flash Platform with robust security and flexible usage rules so that businesses can enforce necessary constraints, such as limiting viewing to a given rental period or set of devices.

As announced last year, content protected with Flash Access 2.0 will play on the upcoming version of Flash Player. Adobe Flash Player is on over 98 percent of connected computers and delivers approximately 75 percent of Web video worldwide. Major broadcasters and media companies including Hulu, Warner Brothers, MLB.com, and DirecTV use the Adobe Flash Platform, which also powers the popular social media sites YouTube and MySpace.

Flash Access at MAX

If you’re a longtime Adobe/Macromedia follower, you’re probably familiar with MAX, our annual conference, which this year is in LA starting on Monday. Whether you’re a long-time attendee or just hearing about it for the first time, there will be a lot of very cool stuff being shown at the conference, and that of course will include Flash Access, the upcoming version of our content protection solution that we announced last month at IBC.

There are always exciting announcements at MAX, and this year will be no exception. If you’re not attending, stay tuned for media reports/blogs/tweets. If you happen to be there, you’ll get a chance to hear about it first hand. Moreover, I’m told that this year the Flash Media Camp is the biggest it’s ever been, so if that’s your area of interest you won’t be disappointed.

Although I’m relatively new to Adobe (just under a year), a lot has happened since I joined. We’ve made great progress in rounding out our content distribution offerings, making the Flash Platform the ruling leader for video on the web. With the enhancements we are making in content protection, we can help content owners and publishers of premium commercial content monetize video online, creating engaging user experience whether for streaming or download, using Flash Media Server or HTTP, and playing back content on Flash Player or Adobe AIR.

In fact, that’s the topic for my presentation on Tuesday at 4:30 PM — Monetizing Premium Video Content on the Flash Platform [shameless plug]. If you’re interested in content protection on the Flash platform, that’s the place to be, stop by and say hi after the session… and if you can’t be there, you may learn about it in real-time on tweeter (search #adobemax261).

See you in LA.

Florian

Adobe announces Flash Access, a new content protection solution for Flash

Last week we announced the upcoming release of Adobe Flash Access, a new content protection solution for the Flash Platform that will be supported in Flash Player and Adobe AIR. As Product Manager for content protection at Adobe since the end of last year, I’ve been working with closely with several teams at Adobe and also with key stakeholders such as major film studios, TV networks and broadcaster. Although the software won’t be commercially available until the first half of next year, this announcement is a significant milestone … and allows me to blog about it.

Content protection (also known as digital rights management) is usually associated with anti-piracy, but it is much more than that: it is primarily a tool for monetizing content online. This enables content providers to enforce their business models, such as rental, subscription, or pay-per-view. Even for advertising-funded content, premium content generally requires adequate protection.

Adobe’s content protection solutions are widely deployed today and are used by leading content providers to distribute secure commercial content. Flash Access will raise the bar by providing a more robust and flexible solution that enables secure streaming and download of premium content. To learn more about our current content protection solutions (including RTMPE and SWF verification), check out this whitepaper that discusses how to protect streaming video using Flash Media Server and provides an introduction to Flash Media Rights Management Server, the precursor to Flash Access.

You may be asking yourself, what does all this have to do with me? How will I be able to leverage Flash Access? The answer of course depends on what you do. Here are a few examples:

– Content distributors such as broadcasters or online retailers can deploy rental, subscription, and download-to-own business models, as well as using advertising to monetize video assets.

– Content owners may use Flash Access as part of a direct-to-consumer offering, or may implement a B2B e-screening tool to distribute pre-release content to retailers, restricting access to authorized users.

– Service providers will be able to offer a hosted service to independent content producers and distributors who prefer to outsource their DRM infrastructure.

– Developers may use built-in support for Flash Access in Flash Player and AIR to develop rich, interactive experiences around premium commercial content.

– In the enterprise, Flash Access can be integrated into existing systems to enable secure distribute of audiovisual material, such as company meetings or high value training material.

Flash Access represents a big step forward in content protection and we are very excited about the opportunities that it creates for our customers and partners. You can learn more about Flash Access at http://www.adobe.com/go/flashaccess — I recommend downloading the whitepaper, which provides a comprehensive high-level overview and enough technical detail to whet your appetite.

Florian