Archive for April, 2013

Adobe Primetime Wins “Best of NAB” Award

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We’ve been busy at NAB this week speak­ing with part­ners and cus­tomers about the future of tele­vi­sion and the gen­eral avail­abil­ity of Adobe Prime­time – our TV pub­lish­ing and mon­e­ti­za­tion plat­form for pro­gram­mers and pay-TV ser­vice providers. Fresh off our announce­ment, we’re excited that Adobe Prime­time has been pre­sented with a “Best of NAB” award by Stream­ing Media. The award rec­og­nizes inno­v­a­tive online video tech­nolo­gies shown and demon­strated at the con­fer­ence. Judges from the Stream­ing Media staff selected the five most inno­v­a­tive and best equipped tech­nolo­gies (no speci­fic cat­e­gories) that solve major indus­try chal­lenges. We’re thrilled to be hon­ored alongside four other com­pa­nies  – Canon, Envivio, Matrox and vMix.

Adobe VP of Video Solutions Jeremy Helfand (right) and Adobe's Jens Loeffler (left) with Streaming Media's "Best of NAB" Award for Adobe Primetime

Adobe VP of Video Solu­tions Jeremy Helfand (right) and Adobe’s Jens Loef­fler (left) with Stream­ing Media’s “Best of NAB” Award for Adobe Prime­time

We believe 2013 will trans­form how con­sumers view and engage with TV con­tent online and across devices, and how pro­gram­mers and pay-TV providers respond to that shift. This award val­i­dates our work and the belief that the next big indus­try trans­for­ma­tion since the intro­duc­tion of cable tele­vi­sion 30 years ago is upon us. We’re con­vinced that Adobe Prime­time will play a major role in turn­ing every screen into a TV.

Watch the video below of Adobe’s Jeremy Helfand, VP of video solu­tions, accept­ing the “Best of NAB” award from Stream­ing Media edi­tor Eric Schu­macher-Ras­mussen.

 

Video stream­ing by Ustream

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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_Elemental1Vision­ary 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.

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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.

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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 24x7 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.

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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.

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Adobe Primetime Ad Serving with IAB VAST 3.0 and VMAP 1.0 Support

Adobe is con­tin­u­ing to invest heav­ily in our core ad serv­ing capa­bil­i­ties with the gen­eral avail­abil­ity launch of Adobe Prime­time. As part of our ongo­ing efforts to lead the indus­try in video mon­e­ti­za­tion for con­tent pro­gram­mers and dis­trib­u­tors, we’re rolling out sig­nif­i­cant enhance­ments to Adobe Prime­time Ad Serv­ing (fka Adobe Audi­tude) to com­ply with the lat­est VAST 3.0 and VMAP 1.0 stan­dards. We’re excited to be the only video ad server in the mar­ket today that’s capa­ble of both gen­er­at­ing and read­ing VAST 3.0 and VMAP 1.0 ad calls.

The IAB’s Video Ad Serv­ing Tem­plate, or VAST, was devel­oped to provide pub­lish­ers and adver­tis­ers with a com­mon lan­guage for video player tech­nol­ogy. In par­al­lel, the Dig­i­tal Video Mul­ti­ple Ad Playlist, or VMAP, was cre­ated to detail ad inser­tion pos­si­bil­i­ties in instances where a pro­gram­mer doesn’t con­trol the video player or end-point dis­tri­b­u­tion chan­nel for con­tent it owns.

The pur­pose of these two stan­dards is to make video adver­tis­ing more scal­able and straight­for­ward for indus­try par­tic­i­pants, and Adobe is happy to announce that our Adobe Prime­time Ad Serv­ing is fully VAST 3.0 and VMAP 1.0 com­pli­ant. It is capa­ble of both gen­er­at­ing and read­ing VAST 3.0 ad calls, and allow­ing for inven­tory rights shar­ing among pro­gram­mers and dis­trib­u­tors with VMAP 1.0.

Before the intro­duc­tion of VAST and VMAP, pub­lish­ers using dif­fer­ent play­ers for dif­fer­ent play­back envi­ron­ments required adver­tis­ers to cre­ate unique ad responses for each site or device they wished to tar­get. This cre­ated sig­nif­i­cant oper­a­tional headaches, and lim­ited the amount of money that media buy­ers were will­ing to spend on dig­i­tal video. While ear­lier ver­sions of VAST allowed adver­tis­ers to address these chal­lenges, the stan­dard also laid the ground­work to enable con­tent pro­gram­mers and dis­trib­u­tors to com­mu­ni­cate among them­selves more effi­ciently. VAST 3.0 builds fur­ther on this foun­da­tion.

The lat­est ver­sions, VAST 3.0 and VMAP 1.0, add a num­ber of fea­tures and enhance­ments, includ­ing new details for the ad response for­mat and how video play­ers inter­pret and return sig­nals to and from an ad server. Accord­ing to the IAB:

With VAST 3.0, video play­ers now have the abil­ity to declare which ad for­mats they sup­port. Five for­mats are pro­vided as options: Lin­ear Ads, Non­Lin­ear Ads, Skip­pable Lin­ear Ads, Lin­ear Ads with Com­pan­ions, and Ad Pods (a sequenced group of ads). Skip­pable Lin­ear Ads and Ad Pods are new for­mats offered with this release. Some video play­ers choose to only sup­port cer­tain VAST ad for­mats in accor­dance with their pub­lish­ing busi­ness model. With VAST 3.0, the guess­work of which VAST ad for­mat a player sup­ports is elim­i­nated.

The VAST ad-­serving process when ads are served directly from a publisher’s system to the video player (Image credit: IAB)

The VAST ad-­serving process when ads are served directly from a publisher’s sys­tem to the video player (Image credit: IAB)

And:

With VMAP, video con­tent own­ers can exer­cise con­trol over the ad inven­tory dis­played in their con­tent when they can’t con­trol the video player, to cap­i­tal­ize on adver­tis­ing while main­tain­ing the integrity of their pro­gram con­tent. VMAP enables the con­tent owner to define the ad breaks within their con­tent, includ­ing the tim­ing for each break, how many breaks are avail­able, what type of ads and how many are allowed in each break.

A simplified example of the VMAP serving process (Image credit: IAB)

A sim­pli­fied exam­ple of the VMAP serv­ing process (Image credit: IAB)

The pri­mary advan­tage of VAST 3.0 is that it enables mon­e­ti­za­tion of breaks with mul­ti­ple ads via a sin­gle ad call. This third-party ad server can con­trol the entire ad expe­ri­ence for the break. In com­bi­na­tion with VMAP 1.0, this is ideal for full-length TV episodes, which typ­i­cally have sev­eral breaks with more than one ad, and for which inven­tory splits between the pro­gram­mer and the dis­trib­u­tor are com­mon. With the prior ver­sions of VAST, the ad server could only request and respond to one ad at a time – it wasn’t pos­si­ble to effi­ciently sup­port breaks with more than one ad. VAST 2.0 was built for short clips, but VAST 3.0 has been designed for true broad­cast-to-IP TV.

With­out a VAST 3.0-compliant ad server, a broad­caster will typ­i­cally have to man­u­ally traf­fic ads against indi­vid­ual ad posi­tions in a sin­gle com­mer­cial break to pre­vent an ad from appear­ing more than once. Imple­ment­ing com­pet­i­tive block­ing and enabling robust ana­lyt­ics and fore­cast­ing are sim­i­larly labor-inten­sive. This presents a traf­fick­ing night­mare for ad oper­a­tions – and doesn’t scale.

VAST 3.0 and VMAP 1.0 are espe­cially impor­tant for dri­ving broader adop­tion of TV Every­where because these pro­to­cols enable shared inven­tory rights between pro­gram­mers and dis­trib­u­tors. Inven­tory rights shar­ing requires inter­op­er­abil­ity between part­ners’ video play­ers and ad servers, which VAST 3.0 and VMAP 1.0 provide. A dis­trib­u­tor who deploys and con­trols the video player typ­i­cally has to call a programmer’s ad server to insert ads that the con­tent part­ner has sold. For exam­ple, a pro­gram­mer may give two of every 20 min­utes of ad space to a cable oper­a­tor for local spots; this type of inven­tory shar­ing is made pos­si­ble with VAST 3.0 and VMAP 1.0 redi­rects between the con­tent pro­gram­mer and distributor’s ad servers.

Global broad­cast­ers and dis­trib­u­tors like NBC and Com­cast are increas­ingly turn­ing to Adobe Prime­time for its uni­fied work­flow across pub­lish­ing, adver­tis­ing and ana­lyt­ics. Adobe Prime­time now fea­tures the industry’s only video ad server that can both gen­er­ate and read VAST 3.0 and VMAP 1.0 ad calls, mak­ing the process of fully mon­e­tiz­ing broad­cast video even sim­pler for both con­tent pro­gram­mers and dis­trib­u­tors.