Flash Media Server 4.5.2 Released with Robust HTTP Streaming Failover

Version 4.5.2 of Flash Media Server is now available. Besides numerous bug fixes, it includes a major improvement – robust HDS/HLS failover for origins.

It’s not simply a “good-to-have”, but a “must-have” feature for reliable HTTP streaming deployments. The key issues it addresses are liveness and dropout situations.

Liveness is a server-side situation in which a packager advertises a stale bootstrap (that is, a stale view of a live stream).

Dropout is a server-side situation in which a packager has gaps in its bootstrap (that is, gaps in its fragment list).

Flash Media Server 4.5.2 introduces the following new features to address this:

Best-effort fetch

Best-effort fetch enables the OSMF and iOS video players to continue playback as normally as possible in the presence of short-term liveness and dropout problems on the server-side.

The OSMF 2.0 player adds client-side robustness by supporting best-effort fetch. Specifically, when best-effort fetch is enabled on the server, OSMF 2.0 attempts fetches for fragments that have not been advertised in the bootstrap, but are expected to be present.

For iOS Video players, FMS 4.5.2 enables best-effort fetch for HLS as well.

Control plane application

To implement HTTP Streaming failover, it’s now possible to write a client application that manages the state of events and streams by using a set of REST-based control plane APIs. Control plane is a router term and in effect, that is what your client application does through these APIs.

You can find more detailed information in the FMS failover documentation.

HTTP failover is an absolutely critical improvement for more reliable workflows, therefore Flash Media Server 4.5.2 is an exciting new release for everyone with HTTP streaming deployments.

Download the Flash Media Server 4.5.2 upgrade.

EPIX and the Adobe Flash Platform Engage Movie Buffs Across Multiple Devices

Today’s technology savvy audiences want to experience content across multiple platforms and devices, and are beginning to move away from passive forms of entertainment—they want to participate and interact with others to shape their experience. EPIX—a multi-platform premium entertainment channel, video-on-demand, and online service– teamed up with Adobe to bring current releases, classics, and original entertainment to all video platforms—linear TV, on demand, online, and mobile—while also encouraging social integration and sharing to reach the broadest audience possible.

With the Adobe Flash Platform, EPIX, a joint venture of Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, and MGM Studios, was given the necessary tools to create and carry out broadband authentication systems to over 30 million U.S. homes through its distribution partners including Charter Communications, Cox Communications, DISH Network, Mediacom Communications, NCTC, Suddenlink Communications, and Verizon FiOS with little to no development effort.

Using multiple Adobe technologies such as  Adobe Flash Professional, Adobe AIR, Adobe Flash Media Server, Adobe Flex, Adobe Flash Builder, and Adobe Flash Player, EPIX delivers content beyond the Web by building a library of available movie titles, which are encoded for delivery to a specific platform across different devices like Motorola XOOM, Samsung Galaxy Tab, and Boxee Box. One of the notable capabilities in EPIX is “Screening Room: Watch With Friends,” a feature that includes sharing capabilities allowing users to watch movies in a social event, turning the experience into a more into viral, interactive, and engaging gathering. The Screening Room is great for large-scale events like concerts on-demand to bring fans together.

Learn more about how EPIX how it provides premium HD content to its subscribers on devices everywhere here.

Adobe Pass Makes TV Everywhere a Reality

Today we are excited to announce the Adobe Pass authentication service, which enables pay TV subscribers to easily access premium content across the web from virtually any Internet-connected device.  
 
“TV Everywhere” is the Industry term that refers to Pay TV subscribers being able to access the same content they subscribe to through their traditional TV provider, online allowing customers to access premium TV content in web browsers, smartphones, tablets or IPTV’s.  The biggest problem to date with TV Everywhere is having a system that is transparent and easy to use for customers, conforms to all of the different parties business rules, and mostly importantly – is secure.  Adobe Pass solves these problems for all parties- consumers, programmers and pay TV providers alike.
 
Adobe has worked hard over the past year to integrate Adobe Pass with major Pay TV providers and content programmers.  By providing a secure, hosted solution, Adobe ensures that both the providers and the programmers have minimal integration work to perform as they pull together their many different online viewing options.  
 
Adobe Pass  leverages the Flash Platform for a seamless high-quality experience along with Adobe Flash Access® for enhanced security.  Adobe Pass also utilizes HTML5 for devices where Adobe Flash technology is not yet available.  
 
Adobe Pass is now live on several sites. Any Comcast, Verizon, Dish or Cox customer can try out the Turner TV everywhere sites, just click on the orange key to unlock more content by entering your pay TV username and password (typically the same information you would use to view your bill) at: www.tnt.tv/tveverywhere. What’s more, as you move to another site like www.tbs.com/tveverywhere, the premium contents come alive without a 2nd login. Verizon FiOS customers can also check out www.mtv.com/tve and again, the authentication will persist.

Adobe Pass is a great opportunity for Adobe to promote the Flash Platform across the entire media and entertainment industry, and to generate consistent, recurring revenue by solving a key business problem.  Keep up with the latest information on Adobe Pass on our product page at www.adobe.com/go/adobepass.

- Todd Greenbaum, Sr. Product Manager, Adobe Pass

Flash Media Server Roadmap – What’s Next?

On September 10, 2010, join Adobe’s Kevin Towes (sr product mgr) and Dan Rayburn from Streaming Media for a Q&A session about the future roadmap of Flash Media Server. The web seminar starts at 11:00 a.m. PT (2:00 p.m. ET), and all attendees can enter to win a copy of Creative Suite 5 Production Premium. Register Here.


File Sharing over P2P in Flash with Object Replication

Object Replication
Object Replication is the most low-level P2P access available in Flash Player 10.1 (next to Multicast, Posting and Directed Routing) It basically enables you to send chunks of between peers. Object Replication is the only one, that guarantees that all data will be transferred to all receiving peers.

Demo
I’ve built this simple file sharing [...]

Flash Media Server: Stream Reconnect and Smart Seek doc and example

Flash Player 10.1 and Flash Media Server 3.5.3 support two exciting new buffer management features: Stream Reconnect and Smart Seek. To see them in action, check out this example: Stream Reconnect and Smart Seek example. Right-click on the example and choose View Source to see the code.

The example is also linked from the Flash Media Server 3.5.3 New Features Guide. This doc has all information you need about how to use the Smart Reconnect and Smart Seek ActionScript APIs.

Here’s a quick, high-level view:

Stream Reconnect

With the release of Flash Player 10.1, you can deliver video players that continue to play media seamlessly when a connection is dropped or when a client switches from a wired to a wireless network connection. Adobe Product Manager Kevin Towes says:

We’ve essentially decoupled the buffer from the connection – which allows video to play back even if the connection drops. Developers can use ActionScript to reconnect to FMS and resume playback – and if this is done before the buffer empties, then there will be no perceived disruption.

Smart Seek

Flash Media Server 3.5.3 and Flash Player 10.1 work together to support smart seeking in VOD streams and in live streams that have a buffer. Smart seeking uses back and forward buffers to seek without requesting data from the server. You can step forward and backward a specified number of frames. (Standard seeking flushes buffered data and asks the server to send new data based on the seek time.) Smart seeking reduces server load and improves seeking performance. Use smart seeking to create:

•Client-side DVR functionality. Seek a live stream within the client-side buffer instead of going to the server for delivery of new video.

•Trick modes. Create players that step through frames, fast-forward, fast-rewind, and advance in slow-motion.

Watching the World Cup with ESPN3 and Flash

If you’re a citizen of the Internet, you probably know that the World Cup kicked off today. If you follow me on Twitter you know I’m not a huge soccer fan, but I am a fan of global events like this so I’ll definitely be keeping it on in the background. I may even be hitting one of the local bars at some point to drink way too early and watch. But mostly I’ll be watching it online and ESPN3 has all of the world cup action streaming along with stats, info, and anything else you could ask for. And it’s all powered by Flash.

My colleague, Jens Loeffler has a great writeup on the app and the experience. It’s all powered by the Flash Platform and Flash Media Server. You get multiple audio channels (so you can listen in Spanish, which I think is the best way to listen to goals being scored) as well as picture-in-picture and real time highlights that appear along the timeline so you can go back and see the cool moments. It’s a really great showcase of Flash and how the whole platform comes together to provide an excellent viewing experience.

Flash on soccer fans!

Directed Routing Explained in Flash 10.1 P2P

Directed Routing enables you to send data to a specific client in the peer-to-peer group (NetGroup). It requires stable and correct topology to work well – still it’s very useful.
There has been already something written about directed routing. But I’d like to share with you much more.
First, let me explain you which methods does what. [...]

Rundown of the MAX News

The press releases just crossed the wire and we have a ton of news coming out of MAX. Plus more surprises in store for tomorrow. For those of you not here you can still check the keynotes out. I’m hosting the online side of the MAX keynotes and we’re doing some fun stuff before and after the keynotes to give you a sense of what’s going on at MAX. As you can tell from the rundown, there’s some fun stuff today.

Flash Platform Runtimes

We’ve been saying all year that Flash on mobile devices is a push this year and we’ve made a lot of progress. Today at the keynotes we’re going to be showing off Flash Player 10.1 for smartphones. This is the version of the Flash Player that we’ve been working on so hard this year. We’ve been working with some great partners including Nvidia and ARM to optimize the player for those devices and create a quality mobile experience.

Possibly more important is that the number of companies committed to the Open Screen Project continues to grow. Today we announced that RIM is joining the Open Screen Project which means that Blackberry will be supporting Flash Player 10.1. Google is also on board. We’ll have public versions of Flash Player 10.1 for Palm, and Windows Mobile later this year with Google Android and Symbian following shortly. Developers will have mobile bits in their hands soon.

We also announced AIR 2.0 which is going to give Flash developers a lot more native hooks into the operating system. A lot of the developers I talked to wanted it and so that’s what the team did. Mike Chambers talked about some of these features at Flash on the Beach. Another cool feature of AIR 2.0 is the ability to record from the microphone without going to a server. getMicrophone can now be a reality

Tools

We also have public betas of both Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst that are available today. I’ve been really impressed with how far Flash Catalyst in particular has come from Beta 1 to Beta 2. It’s a lot more polished, has more functionality (including video) and feels a lot more fun to use. If you checked out Beta 1 and found it lacking, you should check out Beta 2. We’ve also made big progress on Flash Builder and I’ve been a very happy camper using the tool full-time.

Servers

Some very cool stuff is also happening on the server side. We’ve released ColdFusion 9, a spectacular release with some great features including the ability for you to consume ColdFusion as a service from inside of your Flex application without writing ColdFusion code. I’ve also been playing with the LiveCycle Data Services release and it’s modeler plug-in for Flash Builder. The team has focused on model-driven development making it easy to generate and create a model, then linking that model directly to your Flex application. It helps by generating all of the assemblers and you can directly modify the user interface just by changing the model.

Finally we’ve got some Flash Media Server news. We’re adding support for HTTP streaming which will include support for content protection. We also have released the Collaboration side of Flash Platform Services and announced pricing so you can jump in and start adding collaboration to your application.

If you guys have any questions (sorry I don’t have more fleshed out info, it’s a lot of news), feel free to drop me an email – ryan@adobe.com and I’ll try and answer what I know.

RTMP clients – control FMS remotely

When building realtime applications, you would probably like to control Flash Media Server or LiveCycle DS remotely to push messages from 3rd party software.

The use-case is obvious, connecting two realtime/messaging services together. Imagine a pipe of messages on one side utilizing e.g. JMS (Java Message Service – http://java.sun.com/products/jms/) and on the other side FMS, [...]