Today, Adobe joined forces with over 20 key industry leaders to launch an initiative to promote a standard video delivery format based on MPEG-DASH (ISO/IEC 23009) that will help reduce video delivery fragmentation to enable broadcasters and video publishers to bring more video online.
The online video industry is accelerating with more devices, more content and more monetization opportunities. Standards such as SMPTE, MPEG, SCTE have been the foundation of the traditional video broadcast industry. These standards show up in broadcast production workflows, hardware, play out servers and client devices such as televisions. A recent example of the impact of standards on online video is the adoption of H.264 and HE-AAC in Adobe Flash Player 9 back in 2007. 4 years later online content has exploded in volume and quality partly because of adopting the codec standard H.264 and AAC.
Adobe is excited to participate in this industry-wide initiative to help solve interoperability problems through standardization and move the entire industry forward so we can all have more content available to us.
You can experience an end-to-end demonstration of MPEG-DASH from encoder through delivery and playback at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week in the Qualcomm booth (Fira Convention Center – Exhibit Hall 8, #8B53). The demonstration has been developed by Harmonic (Encoder), Akamai (CDN) and Qualcomm (player).
Today, I’m excited to announce the immediate availability of Adobe Flash Media Server 4.5.1 – an update that focus’ on improving support for long running live video streams such as 24×7 linear broadcasts running over the HTTP delivery system including HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS) for Adobe Flash and HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) for Apple iOS.
Key functionality changes include
Improved support for 24×7 streaming in HDS and HLS
Improved compatibility with Adobe Flash Access DRM including Key Rotation
Improved protection options for streaming media delivered over the RTMP protocol (protected RTMP)
Support for SWF Verification using AIR (including AIR for Desktop, TV and Android)
Compatibility with AIR for TV support for Multi-channel Audio including Dolby and DTS) over HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS)
Change of the default Apache HTTP server to improve performance of HTTP Streaming and HTTP Streaming origin services
What a truly exciting world we live today. The acceleration and usability of mobile computing devices is reshaping how everyone thinks about information, entertainment and business. I personally have been thinking about disruptive video technologies for a very long time, from LaserDisc, WebTV, Internet and everything we’ve accomplished since I joined Adobe. I’m surrounded by an incredible team of thinkers and doers who have significantly advanced the way people and businesses create and deliver video in the past 5 years.
With any accelerated technology – a large group of people are motivated to consider different ideas and concepts that improve the technology, and as such when you are smack in the middle, there are a lot of options available to you.
Online video today is smack in the middle of this — lots of ideas, lots of execution, lots of trial and error. Questions such as video file format, protection, delivery, optimizations for different networks and different device capabilities. At first glance is a lot to handle, and it is amazing to have so many great thinkers considering new ideas and pushing the envelope to mature the industry quickly so we can all realize its true potential.
Today we have made a small step towards thinning down the fragmentation. In a unique cooperation, Adobe with the Microsoft media team, have jointly contributed to a whitepaper sharing our thoughts on Video Streaming file format optimized for online delivery using fragmented MPG4 file format (fMP4) Part 12.
The file format for online streaming is a very important component of a great user experience. The online streaming file format is what makes it possible to deliver high-quality experiences over the Internet and evolving mobile networks. Traditional formats such as MPEG2 used in broadcast and on DVD’s are a terrific option for those mediums, but has significant challenges when publishing video online. Problems such as multi-track audio, multiple camera angles, seamless and dynamic Ad insertion, network and storage optimizations and high performance bitrate switching (adaptive bitrate) are all unique to online.
This paper highlights the technical and consumer benefits of the fMP4 format chosen by both Adobe and by Microsoft for their online HTTP streaming formats. I’ve pulled out some key highlights of the fMPEG4 format from the paper when compared with other streaming formats being used in the market today.
Content Metadata Separation – This enables multi-camera switching – think about that sporting event which lets you switch between the bench camera, the roof camera and the broadcast feed. The format improves online stream switching functions that can create a great interactive video experience.
Backwards Compatibility to MPEG2 – Video needs to be distributed to multiple devices, with multiple formats – publishers will need to consider how to deliver to both MPEG2-TS/HLS and devices supporting fMP4. A key benefit of the fMP4 format is it is really easy to change the file format structure. Both Adobe and Microsoft achieve this with Adobe Flash Media Server 4.5 and with Microsoft IIS.
Independent Track Storage – Accessibility is an absolute requirement for online video to support audiences with different capabilities. The file format can make this effort simple or difficult, and fMPG4 makes it easier. The format also enables more advanced functions such as switching languages, or switching different audio feeds for live events.
Seamless Stream Splitting – Adaptive bitrate is a solution for delivering HD content over the internet. Great adaptive bitrate implementations will not disrupt the viewer experience. The fragmented MP4 format supports smaller segment sizes (1-2 sec compared with 10sec for TS) and makes it possible to very quickly switch between bitrates so your viewer is not interrupted.
TrickPlay Modes – Trick play allows the user to navigate their live or vod video content using DVD or DVR functionality such as fast and superfast forward or reverse play. This is much easier when you have the content on a DVD or local DVR, but it is a real hard problem to solve when media is not local. The fMPG4 format structure provides the foundation to support this user experience.
Integrated DRM – Content protection options are critical to secure content so broadcasters can make more content available online. fMP4 support for integrated DRM models enables the broadcaster to develop their online business offering resulting in more content for consumers.
You can read a lot more technical and application-specific information about the fragmented MP4 file format in Tim Siglin’s whitepaper in which media researchers from both Adobe and Microsoft were joined by Netflix to comment on the fragmented MP4 file format. In the paper, you can also discover industry standards groups being formed including MPEG-DASH and UltraViolet/DECE. These standards groups are committed to defining video delivery and protection standards to reduce the fragmentation in the market so broadcasters can reduce their costs to publish content and publish more great content online and across all consumer devices.
The writer, Tim Siglin is from Transitions, Inc, and is a well-published streaming media industry analyst and reporter.
To read this paper and discover the opportunities available to the market with this file format, please download “Unifiying Global Video Strategies – MP4 File Fragmentation for Broadcast, Mobile and Web delivery” Please connect to Tim Siglin’s Blog posting .
From Pritham Shetty,
Vice President, Video Solutions, Adobe Systems, Incorporated
BBC, Hulu, YouTube, ESPN. Nearly every premium video publisher uses Adobe technology to get great video experiences to the devices viewers love. And, not only on desktop – WatchESPN uses Adobe AIR on Android and just passed 1M downloads. And, not only on Android – with Adobe Flash Media Server 4.5, you can now stream to iOS using HLS.
Adobe is 100% committed to enabling our media and publishing customers to reach and monetize audiences on Internet-enabled devices. This means investing not only in Flash but broadly in delivery with Flash Media Server, content protection with Adobe Flash Access, and analytics with Omniture. In fact, we are so committed to the vision of premium video across every device, that we just acquired Auditude, a leading video ad management platform, last week. And yesterday, Adobe was awarded the Streaming Media Reader’s Choice Award for best video streaming software for our efforts with HTTP and RTMP streaming.
The investments we have made in video are only the beginning – and the announcements Adobe made around Flash are a doubling down of our commitment to the goal of great video experiences across devices. We are focusing our efforts on the experiences our customers are actively building, and reducing our focus on areas that are not widely used but require significant resources. This enables us to focus on unsolved problems, like standardized dynamic streaming and DRM for HTML5, that are holding back reach and monetization across devices.
Simply put – Adobe will continue to apply Flash technology – and all of our knowledge around Flash video – to the same problem Adobe has always solved for customers: reaching audiences across fragmented devices and operating systems. We are already investing in the future – but clearly we will continue to invest in the technology and that our customers are using today.
This is what Adobe will support:
Desktop: Flash Player as a browser plug-in
Mobile Browser: Flash Player 11.1 will be available on Android and Blackberry. Adobe is committed to creating great tools and technologies for HTML5 experiences and server-side technologies to deliver HTML5 video (Ex. FMS 4.5 streaming to iOS).
Mobile Apps: Flash based apps packaged with AIR which can be distributed via all of the major app stores, including Apple’s App Store, Android Market, Amazon’s App Store etc.
TV apps: Ability to embed Flash video in native HTML apps as well as Flash based apps packaged with AIR
This is what Adobe will not support:
Future versions of Flash as a mobile browser plug-in. Increasingly, mobile OS manufacturers are excluding browser plug-ins, limiting our ability to use Flash to solve mobile browser fragmentation
Browsing on a TV. We believe the apps, not browsing to a website, will be the primary way viewers access premium video and games on TVs and peripherals. Specifically, we will not ensure that, for example, 10 year-old websites will render flawlessly on TVs because most people are not browsing 10 year-old websites on TVs.
Adobe helped start the Internet video revolution – and we believe these changes will enable us to continue making the right investments to drive the next wave of innovation.
Flash Media Server 4.5 enables high-quality content delivery to more people and devices including Apple iPad and other devices. In this session you will discover more information about Adobe Flash Media Server’s newest features from Steve Allison, Senior Technical Evangelist for Adobe’s video delivery technologies. Working with major EMEA broadcasters such as the BBC, Virgin Media and M6, Steve has helped them create Flash based IPTV and catch-up solutions for public and subscription based business models.
Steve Allison will talk through FMS 4.5 features that can put some more powerful video tools in your arsenal including:
Adobe MAX is our annual developer conference held in Los Angeles at the Nokia theatre at LA Live (the same venue as the MTV Music Awards, Grammy Awards and other great events). This year we will be streaming the Keynotes live using Adobe Flash Media Server 4.5. The main HD feed will be delivered to browsers that support Adobe Flash 10.1 using HTTP Dynamic Streaming (Adobe’s HTTP streaming format) and to Apple iPad and other devices using the HLS streaming format. We also will have a secondary feed streamed using P2P technology, RTMFP also from Flash Media Server 4.5. P2P technology allows us to delivery live video at very low delivery costs.
The live streams will be fed directly from the stage and beamed to our production facilities at AEG Digital Media where the live broadcast will be encoded into multiple bitrates and use Flash Media Server 4.5 hosted at All Digital to create both the HDS and HLS files to be delivered over HTTP by our Content Delivery Network partner, Akamai. The MAX online player is using AEG’s Tremolo player built for Flash using the Open Source Media Framework version 1.6 (released earlier this month).
The Adobe MAX keynotes are the best place to learn what Adobe has been working on, and to discover and be inspired by the talents of our developer community who combine our products to produce truly creative works that drive their businesses. You can also learn about the latest tools and products from Adobe and get sneak peaks what we are working on.
Jeff Tapper + Nathan Weber (Digital Primates) – Wednesday @9:30am – Jeff and Nathan are veterans at MAX, and have spoken year over year on topics for developers of Flash and Flex. Their company has developed some of the most compelling video applications for major US Broadcasters – and they will show you some of the magic how to develop video applications for multiple devices.
Rob Roskin (MTV) and Ben Rolling (AEG Digital Media) – 5:00pm on Monday – Rob and Ben have been working together for many years to produce major live events for MTV, Grammy Awards, Teen Choice awards. They will share their experiences how they get video to multiple devices using major broadcast production systems.
David Hassoun + John Crosby (Real Eyes) – Tuesday @12:30, Wednesday@1:30 – David and John have been in the community for a very long time – Real Eyes manages the Flash Media Server world wide user group, and both are incredible trainers for Flash developers. They will be using their teaching talents to instruct attendees on how to develop robust video applications using Open Source Media Framework. The lab is hands on, and there are spaces for 200 people over 2 separate days.
Arjun Saksena (Yahoo) – Tuesday@1:00 – Arjun is the product manager responsible for Yahoo’s “Atlas” CDN and is charged with the ultimate challenge of delivering video globally and consistently across multiple devices including Smartphones, tablets, feature phones and everything in between. Join Arjun as he peels back the day to day at Yahoo’s video delivery hub.
Tal Saraf (Amazon Web Services) – Tuesday @2:30 – Tal is responsible for the CloudFront CDN at Amazon, and together with Adobe will show you how you can leverage Flash Media Server on Amazon Web Services to operate and run your own origin to deliver through the Amazon Cloudfront CDN.
Hasan Otuome – Tuesday @12:30, Wednesday @3pm – Hasan is part of AlmerBlank training and is a staple of the Flash Developer community. Hasan will be drawing on his trainer skills to teach you how to develop face to face chat using P2P technology with your mobile device. You will walk out of this class with a fully functional app using front-facing cameras that you can use to extend your mobile application with video chat.
Ryan Monger + Brad Outlaw (Adobe) – Tuesday @8:30am – Ryan and Brad have partnered inside Adobe to develop and deploy a fully functional global deployment for Multicast and P2P so Adobe Employees can meet and communicate with each other. Today this system is used to support the entire Adobe population for company meetings and global team meetings. Ryan and Brad will give you deep inside knowledge how they designed and deployed the system to help attendees replicate within their corporate environment. NOT TO BE MISSED!
Michael Thornburgh (Adobe) – Wednesday @11am – P2P Guru and RTMFP co-Inventor will move into a lecture role this year informing attendees how to get the most out of p2p functionality using Project CIRRUS and Flash Media Server with RTMFP tips and tricks. NOT TO BE MISSED!
Cathi Kwon + Kevin Towes (Adobe) – Tuesday @4pm – Video Solutions is a new group name that consolidates the products, “Flash Media Server” “OSMF” “Adobe Pass” “Flash Media Gateway” and much more. Cathi and I are responsible for product management inside of Video solutions and will walk you through all the new products, or product positioning and give you some hints what we’re thinking of next. This is a great opportunity to learn from the source where Video solutions is going and provide some feedback and ideas.
Now the session Line up
(aka your schedule at MAX – if you’re interested in Video)
MONDAY (October 3)
3:30pm – Encoding for Performance on Multiple Devices – Room 514
5:00pm – MTV Networks: Behind the Scenes on World-Class Broadcast Events – Room 510
5:00pm – Streaming Video to HTML5, Apple, and Flash Enabled Devices – Room 513
6:00pm – Sponsor Reception
8:00pm – Meet the Flash Media Server and Video Solutions Team
TUESDAY (October 4)
8:30am – Enterprise Live Video Strategies with Multicast and P2P – Room 513
11:00am – (LAB) Developing Scalable Mobile Video Chat Applications – Room 406B
12:30pm – (LAB) Video Player Development for Multiple Devices – Room 404A
1:00pm – Yahoo!: Scalable and Consistent Video Delivery to All Devices – Room 510
2:30pm – Flash Media Server on Amazon Web Services with CloudFront CDN – Room 513
4:00pm – Adobe Video Solutions Roadmap – Room 513
Evening – MAX Awards / MAX Bash
WEDNESDAY (October 5)
9:30am – Digital Primates: Honing In on Multiple Targets with a Single Codebase – Room 510
11:00am – Advanced P2P with RTMFP: Tips and Tricks – Room 514
1:30pm – (LAB) Video Player Development for Multiple Devices – Room 404A
3:00pm – (LAB) Developing Scalable Mobile Video Chat Applications – Room 406B
We hope to see you all at MAX, and that you all travel safely to Los Angeles. If you see me, please do not hesitate pulling me aside and saying hello – and talking about video!
Today we released Adobe Flash Media Server 4.5 that will set the stage to expand online content libraries and give audiences more choice and access to the content they want. This release enables traditional broadcasters and publishers to drive new revenue channels by accelerating video delivery to more devices with better quality, and quality of service in an era of change. Devices able to play video well are changing at a pace faster than any other technology we’ve seen – the rate of change also makes it difficult to even know what device to target. Today, mobile delivery only accounts for small percentange of total video consumption growing quickly and positioning it to take over both desktop and traditional TV broadcast.
RTMP delivery through Flash Media Server has supported the largest live events in the world such as Obama’s Presidential Inauguration, World Cup of Soccer and the Royal Wedding. HTTP streaming will help network operators, service providers and ISPs scale to meet the demands of more video online – and that is why HTTP Streaming is the focus for this release. Broadcasters such as the BBC have been actively testing HTTP delivery to Flash through events such as Wimbledon. Broadcasters such as AEG Digital Media who are responsible for some of the biggest events on the web have also indicated that HTTP delivery is an absolute requirement to meet global capacity concerns. (note: you can watch
Our goal at Adobe is to help broadcasters change the world through their digital experiences with video. Flash Media Server is an important part of a greater video solution to reach larger, more global audiences with technology providing consistency in a world of player and device fragmentation – this release marks a significant step forward to access more opportunities and to create these new experiences that entertain and engage audiences. FMS4.5 extends online delivery both through Adobe Flash Player and to the Apple device with one simple broadcast workflow and a tremendous opportunity to create something really special.
Video publishing and protection is now simpler so broadcasters can embrace the change and increase audiences on more screens and platforms with a very easy and resilient workflow for HLS, HDS, RTMP and Multicast through innovation and scalable video protection to ensure content plays where it is suppose to over more networks using HTTP streaming technology.
Consistent Video Experiences– Adobe has created consistency with Adobe Flash and Adobe AIR running on more devices than any other platform. With Flash, publishers are assured that protection, transport and quality is consistent across MAC, PC, Linux, Android and Blackberry Tablet OS. Apple iPhone and iPad have had a significant impact how consumers experience and engage with video and have changed the industry. Publishers are now faced with a challenge and forced to prepare content for delivery through HTML5 to play in the Apple Safari browser or native Apps. Now publishers can simplify their video publishing and protection workflows with Adobe Flash Media Server 4.5 with protected HLS support, audio channel extraction, DVR/PVR live, on demand and variant playlists. One set of content without any preparation or additional storage and deliver safely to both Adobe Flash with HDS and to Apple devices using HLS.
Yes, you can use the same assets (if they are encoded to Apple Specs) and the same server to prepare, protect and deliver both to HLS to Apple devices and HDS (HTTP Dynamic Streaming) to Adobe Flash Player.
Key New Features inside Flash Media Server 4.5
–Same Source Video delivery to Apple Devices and Adobe Flash (single workflows to reach both platforms)
–On Demand video packaging / segmenting for HTTP video delivery (no need to pre-package your content)
–Set-level F4M Manifests and Variant M3u8 playlist support
–Simple and robust content protection workflows for HTTP streaming (as easy as saying on or off)
–Live PVR/DVR support for Apple Devices and Adobe Flash with Disk Management (don’t miss that special moment in live)
–Support for Studio-approved DRM with Adobe Flash Access 3 (robust DRM that exceeds your requirements on Desktop and Android)
–Multicast SSM and ASM, with Multicast re-broadcast
–SIP Device support for communication
–P2P support in Flash Media Interactive Server
HTTP Dynamic Streaming(HDS) (introduced last year) has been significantly updated with new features including Protected HTTP Dynamic Streaming (PHDS), simple and robust video protection built on Adobe Flash Access (DRM) technology. With PHDS, publishers can easily encrypt and delivery over HTTP, which increases capacity and quality over constrained networks.
HDS functionality now exceeds the functionality found in our traditional RTMP delivery system – trusted globally today by the majority of top tier broadcasters such as ESPN. To use this feature, server operators simply enable it in the HTTP server configuration with options to enable server wide or target just the file. Flash Access is not required and there are no DRM license servers needed. When a Flash player client requests the stream over HTTP, FMS will encrypt the fragments as they leave, server and create the required license.What is unique about Flash Media Server, is that the license is part of the video itself. The keys are delivered and cached over HTTP which makes it a very scalable solution.
SWF Verificationis used today in conjunction with RTMPe, and we have made it very easy to use with HTTP streaming. SWF file signatures are integrated into the encryption. This guarantees that video is playing back only within the experiences and web sites they were intended for. PHDS is perfect for content supported by advertising or live content and can be used both on the Desktop and on Android devices supporting Adobe Flash Player 11 (coming out soon). If your content requires additional DRM rules, you can also use Adobe Flash Access 3.
Protection for Apple devices is just as simple. Configure the server to encrypt, and FMS will encrypt the HLS .ts segments using Apple-supported AES128 bit encryption. The key delivery is served using SSL, and FMS can bind playback only to Apple devices to add further protection.
My favorite new feature is the on demand packaging of content for HTTP delivery. This takes the pain out of preparing your content ahead of time, storing it, protecting it and uploading it to your CDN for delivery. Flash Media Server 4.5 will let you use a single set of encoded content and deliver with encryption to both Flash and Apple devices using HTTP. This will save time and money, and we hope reduce the complexity to reach multiple platforms.
Adobe is committed to making it easy to publish video experiences across all devices. This release follows innovation in the server and Flash Player that today is used all over the world. Flash Media Server 4.5 responds to the changing landscape of video delivery, devices and requirements to publish great content in more places.
There is a lot more in this release that I will talk about in the days to come. So give it a try – you can download it for free right now athttp://www.adobe.com/go/fms/
You can also visit us and see demos at our IBC stand in Amsterdam this week through September 13th (Hall 7 Stand 7.G27) .
Video encoding is a black art and for those of you who have done it, or have even looked at an encoder and the variety of settings would agree with me. The increase in the number of devices, smart TVs, desktops and networks that publishers push video through is increasing at a rate faster than we can keep up.
So we put together a crack team to simplify the recommendations so you can create really great looking video that will play well on multiple devices through the Adobe Flash Player or Adobe AIR run times.
The paper is very short and to the point focusing on H.264 encoding and the networks you need to support from 2G through 4G.
For those of you who want to know even more about optimizing video encoding for Flash, we also have a very detailed video encoding cookbook (white paper) available. For even more information on H.264 encoding for mobile, you can also review Apple’s HLS encoding recommendations.
Adobe server technology is the delivery foundation for much of the video content you experience today online.
We are looking for organizations to help test project code named “TIGERCAT”, the next generation media streaming technology including significant enhancements to Adobe’s HTTP Dynamic Streaming, Content Protection, Communications and the much anticipated support for HLS to Apple iOS devices previewed in April 2011.
If you have video libraries, or live events or want to deliver video to multiple devices using HTTP, you are invited to help us test and provide feedback.
Please visit our Adobe Beta registration site, and tell us a little about you.