Streaming Media Readers Recognize Adobe Primetime’s Industry Contributions

It’s been a busy week for us. At Streaming Media West in Southern California, Adobe Primetime team members Campbell Foster and Joel Huff spoke on panels about the state of TV Everywhere. At the OTTtv World Summit and AdMonsters Screens events in London, our own Steve Allison spoke with M6 about IP broadcasting trends in Europe. And we’re continuing our hard work with partners to bring major sporting events across screens in 2014. It’s clear that the future of TV is bright and Adobe Primetime is playing an integral role in taking TV beyond the living room and making any IP-connected screen a TV.

We’re excited to announce that Adobe Primetime was recognized today as a winner of the 7th annual Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards in three categories – DRM/Access Control Solution, Media & Entertainment Video Platform, and Video Advertising Management Platform. The awards honor the best online video technologies based on public voting. According to Streaming Media, more than 300 nominations were submitted across 26 categories. It’s always exciting to see our efforts recognized, but we’re especially pleased that this award recognition is based on voting by Streaming Media’s readers. Thank you to the Streaming Media staff for hosting this award and the readers who voted for Adobe Primetime. We appreciate the honor and we have some exciting innovations around Adobe Primetime coming in 2014 – along with continuing our hard work with partners to deliver major sporting events across screens – so stay tuned.

SM RCA Winner

And congratulations to our fellow Adobe Creative Cloud team who were also honored with a Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Award for Adobe Premiere Pro CC in the “Desktop Video Editing Software” category.

Adobe's Joel Huff (center, right) accepting a Streaming Media Readers' Choice Award for Adobe Primetime from Streaming Media's  Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen (center, left)

Adobe’s Joel Huff (center, right) accepting a Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Award for Adobe Primetime from Streaming Media’s Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen (center, left)

Statement on Google Chrome Phasing Out the NPAPI Plug-In Interface

This week, the Google Chrome team announced it is phasing out the NPAPI plug-in interface, which has a direct impact on the functionality of major browsers plugins. Since it migrated from the NPAPI interface to the modern Pepper Plugin API (PPAPI), Adobe Flash Player is not affected by this change.

Video-specific functionality such as Adobe Primetime DRM (formerly Adobe Access) and Adobe Primetime Player SDKs are also not affected. There is no migration work required, as Chrome browser users have already been using the PPAPI version of Adobe Flash Player.

Chrome browser users will automatically receive new features and security updates due to the integration of Adobe Flash Player with Chrome, which permits seamless background updates.

For DRM-related questions or feedback, please visit the Adobe Primetime Community Forum.

Adobe Primetime Cloud DRM Service and Hardware DRM Support

Today, we announced two exciting new features to the Adobe Primetime DRM (formerly Adobe Access) offering. 1) Adobe Primetime Cloud DRM Service, and 2) Hardware DRM support on AMD chipsets. DRM is a critical component to enable premium content in early release windows on the web and across mobile devices. This means earlier access to better content for viewers.

Adobe Primetime Cloud DRM Service

The Primetime Cloud DRM Service makes Primetime DRM easy to deploy. A DRM server requires security knowledge and hardware to be properly installed in a data center environment to fulfill compliance and robustness requirements. DRM deployments now get significantly easier with our new Adobe Primetime Cloud DRM Service.

This new service is completely managed by Adobe, including robust security through hardware Security Modules (HSMs), redundancy, and scalable architecture are always up-to-date with the compliance and robustness rules. With the Adobe Primetime Cloud DRM Service, a customer doesn’t need to worry about content delivery because they are out of compliance. Instead, customers can focus on creating and distributing the most engaging content. 

The Adobe Primetime Cloud DRM Service also dramatically simplifies the DRM operations. Once subscribed, the only step required is local DRM packaging of the content. Adobe Primetime DRM supports desktop, Android, iOS, XBox, Roku and Digital Home devices, and provides broad reach with a single DRM workflow.

Hardware DRM Support on AMD Chipsets

Adobe and AMD partnered in bringing the next level of content protection to desktop computers with AMD APUs (Accelerated Processing Units) or discreet GPUs (Graphics Processing Units). Hardware DRM increases the level of DRM security and robustness. Adobe and AMD believe this is better for consumers, programmers and distributors.

AMD_E_RGBTo learn more about Adobe Primetime DRM, please visit our website.

Adobe Partners are Ready for Adobe Primetime

When you start something new in life be it a company, a project or something personal – it is exciting.

Today, we announced Adobe Primetime – a complete multi-screen video solution that enables broadcast programmers and pay TV service providers to capitalize broadcast video across every connected screen.

Many times, you find yourself dreaming about success and how you might change the world – and if you’re smart, you will build on strong and solid foundations from your history that accelerate your success – and that is just what we did with Adobe Primetime.

Adobe has developed very strong and trusted technology partnerships in the video delivery ecosystem that drive many of the videos watched online today. It is these partnerships and technologies that make up the ecosystem that enables the future of multi-screen video with Adobe Primetime.

While our name is new, Adobe Primetime is built on a strong foundation of encoding, delivery, playback and protection ecosystem.  Adobe Innovations such as RTMP, H.264, and Adaptive bitrate have enabled the world to engage with video in new ways developed by our customers that challenged how we consumed video.

Look around in your home, at your kids in your office and notice – the world consumes video differently today than five years ago and behind the scenes, Adobe innovation is there and that is the basis of Adobe Primetime.

Over the past 10+ years of video innovation, Adobe has partnered with the early visionaries and innovators in video preparation and delivery. As a result, Exabyte’s of video is delivered or prepared every month and consumed using Adobe technologies that are integrated into network, hardware, software and cloud solutions.

From video ingest and encoding using RTMP, to HTTP output and H.264 across every device – Adobe technologies are integrated into the very core of virtually every component in the video workflow.

Adobe Primetime was built from the ground up combining many different technologies into one and leverage existing partner solutions so that broadcasters can deliver a robust, rich live streaming or HD video on-demand experience to global audiences. The video industry is undergoing a shift towards standardization and interoperability, and it is that interoperability that will catapult the volume of video available to consumers.

This week in Las Vegas, the NAB Show is a perfect example of the evolution of video. In nearly every booth, video innovations are demonstrated on devices of many shapes, sizes and connectedness.

Okay – let’s look at the ecosystem (from our eyes), and how Adobe Primetime customers can leverage their existing hardware and services contracts to quickly address the screens of now and the future.

ENCODERS: There are two classes of encoders – those that enable live streaming and those that enable VOD streaming. Encoders can live at a broadcaster data center or in the cloud. Encoders are where video starts its journey to the device. These powerful workhorses consume one video stream or file and in real-time output 20-40 different versions at various shapes and sizes optimized for devices. Encoders also convert embedded video signals for advertising, closed captioning and entitlement then transport it to Adobe Primetime-enabled players. Encoders also package content into HDS or HLS format (both supported by Adobe Primetime) and also apply DRM and Protected Streaming using Adobe Primetime DRM (formally Adobe Access). Many encoding companies are also innovating smart origin and packaging services to provide additional scale to meet the coming demand.

Cisco_ElementalVisionary companies like Cisco and Elemental have led the way with innovative live streaming technologies that are quickly leveraging cloud infrastructure to meet the scale and capacity required to quickly produce the quality and multiple format requirements. These industry-leading companies are present in many broadcasters’ data centers today. Adobe has also partnered with Envivio, Harmonic, and RGB Networks – whose devices and services are ready for Adobe Primetime today. We are working to enable all of our encoder partners with Adobe Primetime technologies.

DRM & PROTECTION SERVICES: DRM protection is extremely complex technology to deploy due to security and robustness requirements. When coupled with the various support across devices, connected TV’s, game consoles and PCs, DRM adds a lot of barriers to multi-screen video streaming. DRM service providers make it easier to implement license delivery, subscription entitlement and event transactional services for rental or pay-per-view services. DRM service providers operate Adobe Primetime DRM license services, and can easily integrate into encoding workflows to encrypt video content. Adobe Primetime Player uses a single DRM across desktops, Android, iOS and connected TVs – with full support for industry standard Ultraviolet Common Encryption.

Irdeto

Companies like Irdeto have gladly taken the responsibility of hosting Adobe Primetime DRM license servers so it doesn’t have to be managed by broadcasters or distributors. They provide an innovative and robust protection service that can reduce the complexity for protecting content streaming to Adobe Primetime-enabled video players. Adobe has also partnered with Vualto, Authentec, CSG and other popular DRM services. Content encryption can be done when video is encoded through encoding partners, or dynamically using cloud service providers such as Level3 or Akamai.

CONTENT DELIVERY NETWORKS (CDN): Think of CDNs as the 21st century’s video antenna. Without them, we literally would not have the ability to deliver HD video across such a wide array of networks, like mobile, WiFi, office or home Internet connections. CDNs provide the transport and caching technologies vital to video delivery. CDNs are expanding what they can do by operating encoders, live ingest, encryption and other services to make video publishing easier.

Akamai_Amazon_Level3

Companies like Akamai, Amazon Web Services and Level3 provide the global scale and reach required to bring video experiences to consumer devices that are uninterrupted by network buffering. Nearly every top broadcaster globally makes use of one or many of our delivery network partners. Adobe Primetime is an HTTP-streaming based solution supported by the HDS and HLS streaming formats which can pass and scale through CDNs easily. These CDNs can also dynamically prepare videos that can be watched within an Adobe Primetime-enabled video player.   Adobe partners with more than 25 CDNs globally, and we are working to certify them all to support Adobe Primetime customers.

LIVE EVENT SERVICES: Today there are more Live events and 24×7 linear streaming being watched than video on-demand. Webcasting is not what it used to be and Adobe’s partners have made perfecting professional live video streaming their business. From satellite, fiber or IP signal acquisition, these professional services companies bring the world’s major events such as the Olympics, Super Bowl, World Cup and more to every screen imaginable. By deploying the world’s most advanced live and linear facilities along with operating encoders, teleports, payment systems and large data centers – consumers now experience full HD live events that do not fail – and are enhanced with live highlight clipping and advanced performance telemetry.

iStream_AEG_Deltatre_Atos_Origin_NeuLion

Companies like iStreamPlanet, AEG Digital Media, Deltatre, ATOS Origin, Origin Digital and NeuLion all partner with Adobe to enable Adobe Primetime customers with integrated signal acquisition, protection and engaging video player experiences that drive extremely high volumes and advertising opportunities. By combining Adobe Primetime ad insertion technology into their workflows, our customers can monetize their content through advertising and authentication. This is hard work, and it requires a masterful hand to make sure events are successful because as a friend of mine often reminds me, “If you are delivering an Internet-only stream, and it fails…you don’t have an event!”

Adobe Primetime may be new, but we have been working to pre-enable an ecosystem of technologies to provide a premier broadcast video experience across screens and more innovation is on the way!

Adobe Primetime and the Single Publishing Workflow

Today there are different video formats to target various platforms, which invariably lead to increased storage and delivery costs, redundant workflows, and reduced scale due to caching inefficiencies. Complex workflows boost operating costs, which can prevent reaching all potential users.

For example, if it’s required to deploy four DRMs, three streaming protocols, three ad insertion technologies to reach all devices and users, and the video playback itself on the devices is not consistent due to fragmentation, it can become too expensive to deploy and maintain. The compromise is to settle on a subset of devices, which will limit your reach.

Adobe Primetime, now generally available, is committed to helping programmers and distributors reach, monetize and activate audiences across screens. This is due to having a single publishing, protocol, DRM, CVAA-compliant closed captioning, and ad workflow to reach all users across all major devices.

To simplify delivery workflows, we are enhancing our protocol support with Adobe Primetime: 

  • Adobe Primetime Player will support HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), in addition to the existing HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS) on the desktop
  • HLS will be available on all Adobe Primetime Player mobile platforms
  • Support of  MPEG-Dash in the future

All platforms and protocols support all Adobe Primetime Player features, including:

  • Seamless Ad Insertion
  • Digital rights management (DRM)
  • Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) compliant closed captioning
  • Enhanced video analytics

Desktops / Android

Desktops and Android devices will both include a full HLS (v4) video stack. It will specifically address the video playback fragmentation challenges on Android with its low-level integration, and provide high-quality video playback on all Android 2.3 and 4.x devices with the Adobe Primetime Player.

iOS

Adobe Primetime uses the native HLS video stack on iOS. Adobe Primetime DRM and Ad Insertion are fully compliant with Apple’s video guidelines.

Other

Future mobile and digital home support will offer all Adobe Primetime features, and can be targeted with a single publishing workflow.

We are very excited to help simplify the publishing workflow with Adobe Primetime, and provide the best possible reach and user experience for the next generation of online video content.

New Primetime Logo

Adobe Advances Broadcast Creation to Delivery Workflows at IBC

This week at International Broadcasting Conference (IBC) in Amsterdam, Europe’s largest show for broadcasters, Adobe’s video solutions team is showing off new versions of Flash Media Server and Flash Access, continuing to innovate on new, streamlined solutions for businesses to stream and protect premium video content. A highlight of both new products is enhanced support for mobile platforms.

With Flash Media Server (FMS) 4.5, media publishers can extend their already broad mobile reach via Flash-enabled devices, with the new ability to deliver video content to Apple’s iPad and iPhone devices, enabling them to reach the widest audience possible. Adobe’s Kevin Towes writes more about what’s new in FMS 4.5 on his blog.

Adobe Flash Access 3.0, a robust content protection and monetization solution, will enable content owners to deliver on-demand content with massive scale and strict studio-level security across a broad range of devices, following the upcoming release of Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 (release candidate versions are now available for download on Adobe Labs). More info about the latest enhancements in Flash Access can be found on Florian Pestoni’s blog.

Watch this video from Adobe’s Pritham Shetty where he discusses Adobe’s video solutions news at IBC, including Flash Media Server 4.5, Flash Access 3.0 and momentum for Adobe Pass—a solution for broadcasters, programmers and content portals to seamlessly and securely establish a user’s entitlement to premium content anywhere, anytime and on virtually any device:

If you’re attending IBC, stop by the Adobe booth in Hall 7, Stand 7.G27 and follow the Flash Platform Facebook and Twitter channels for updates on news from the show.

The Ownwall: Is 'own-to-stream' the new 'download-to-own'?

When MP3s first came on the scene, some industry observers doubted they would ever catch on because, so the argument went, music lovers would not trade the “physical experience” of a record or CD for the empty, unsatisfying experience of a virtual good that could be electronically downloaded. Well, we know how that one turned out for music.

The video download business, on the other hand, has not fully made that transition. Sure, people do download movies, from both legitimate and illegitimate sources, but the vast majority of video distribution (in the broadest sense of the world) outside of cable/satellite is still based on physical goods, whether rented at the supermarket or bought out of the back of a van.

With increasing bandwidth, emerging media home networking standards, and ever-lower storage costs, it would seem that we are on the verge of the “download-to-own” and “download-to-rent” markets taking off, right? Well we’ve been on the verge for a while now, and I don’t think it’s a matter of technology. What if that’s the wrong model for video content?

In the meantime, streaming has emerged as the distribution model of choice for short-form video, including user-generated content: YouTube serves 1B streams per day. Increasingly, streaming video is also extending to TV programs and feature film, ie professionally-produced, long-form content. In the US, Hulu alone sources roughly 1 billion streams per month. Traditional broadcasters around the world (including the BBC) are also getting in on the action, with TV Everywhere, Catch-up TV and Over-the-top being variations on a common theme.

As more and more consumer electronics devices have built-in Internet access, whether it’s a $69 broadband box or a $1,000 Connected TV, we are getting to the point where accessing content in the cloud is not only technically feasible, it is just much more convenient. No longer having to move files around, I can access the content wherever I may roam.

There is still much room for business model innovation. “Paywall” seems to be the buzzword of the month. (Whatever happened to “subscription”?) Time-based access such as rental also lends itself to streaming. But there is also an opportunity to use streaming for content that users have “bought”, although not too many people seem to be using this model yet.

Think of it as a permanent right to access the content you’ve bought, without being burdened by moving files around. I call this the Ownwall. The greatest consumer benefit is that the content is available wherever there is an Internet connection — and these days, in most areas you need to try hard to go somewhere where there isn’t one.

A couple of industry initiatives like DECE and KeyChest are promoting the notion of a “rights locker” that keeps track of all the content you’ve bought. Maybe this is just me, but the term “rights locker” elicits some negative associations — smelly socks and athlete’s foot. What did my rights do wrong to get locked up? My reservations with the terminology aside, if successful these initiatives will represent a step in the right direction. (Nyuk, nyuk. Get it? The right direction. I crack myself up sometimes).

Consumers will be able to aggregate the content they purchase from any participating retailer and download it to their devices. DECE goes beyond this by defining their own media format and enabling content downloaded to one device to be side-loaded to another device, as long as it is in the user’s “domain” of approved devices. (Full disclosure: I represent Adobe in DECE; however, the description provided here is based on publicly available information.)

Now, if all content lives in the cloud and I can stream it to my notebook/netbook/tablet/smarphone/smartbook/connected TV/[add device not yet invented here], then maybe all of this could be a lot simpler. I could go around buying content, and have instant access to it on any Internet-enabled device. Interoperability is handled in the cloud, which is not as daunting as it sounds, since in practice there really aren’t that many complete platforms for video distribution out there.

But wait, there’s more: as the technology gets better (more interactivity, higher resolution, 3D, 4D, holodeck), so can my content experience. I don’t need to re-download, because I never downloaded in the first place; the next time I go to watch the movie, I am pleasantly surprised by the upgraded experience.

Most of this is possible today — well, maybe not the 4D stuff. There are still some open questions, such as “How can I be sure I can go back 20 years from now and still retrieve my content?” (I would answer that one with another question: do you use Gmail?) Or “What if I’m on a plane or in a submarine and can’t access the Internet?” (I say design for the main use case and accommodate the corner case, not the other way around.)

At the end of the day, consumers will provide the answer. As technology/content providers our role is to enable and experiment, and then let the market decide. What do you think will be the predominant model? Is ‘own-to-stream’ the new ‘download-to-own’?

Florian
Twitter: @florianatadobe