Author Archive: Rick Wisher

Major Dynamic Ad Insertion Advancements in MPEG-DASH

Today at Mobile World Congress, we announced how recent enhancements to Adobe Primetime will enable dynamic ad insertion (DAI) in MPEG-DASH streams using the same workflows and business rules that they’ve used to insert ads into HLS streams. The end result is a high-quality, stitched stream of ads and content that can reach viewers across the wide range of devices and browsers that support MPEG-DASH — including all HTML5-compliant browsers.

For consumers, this means they can access more high-quality content (including HD and 4K) with lower data and bandwidth usage, and media companies can deliver it with lower content delivery network (CDN) costs. Adobe Primetime is the only DAI technology available in both client- and server-side configurations, allowing for maximum reach and deployment flexibility.

We’ve made DAI in MPEG-DASH almost exactly the same as using HLS, with some significant advancements. Here’s a summary of Adobe Primetime’s use of MPEG-DASH and HLS for ad insertion:

  • Creative Repackaging Service - Our creative repackaging works for MPEG-DASH just like it works for HLS. It takes all the same input formats and transcodes them to MPEG-DASH for smooth transitions between content and ads.
    • Compliance with Ad Insertion Rules — Adobe Primetime follows the same rules that a customer has for inserting ads into MPEG-DASH streams as it does for inserting ads into HLS streams. This includes honoring trick play settings, seek settings, and ad forgiveness settings, which specify the timeframes around which viewers should not be exposed to ads.
  • Response to Ad Cues — MPEG-DASH has a unique method of specifying ad cues, which Adobe Primetime supports. The method is different from HLS because it requires parsing out custom ad cues from a manifest. Adobe Primetime manages that complexity.

Getting started with DAI in MPEG-DASH streams

Adobe Primetime is excited to help customers effectively monetize their programming by combining the power of the open MPEG-DASH standard with Adobe Primetime’s advanced ad insertion capabilities. For example, M6 (the largest broadcaster in France), is leveraging these capabilities to help stream this summer’s UEFA European Football Championship across screens. Please contact the Adobe Primetime team to get started with DAI into MPEG-DASH streams.

Adobe Primetime & HTML5 for OTT Television and Film

As we announced at IBC this past September, Adobe Primetime supports the deployment of live, linear and on-demand OTT experiences to HTML5 environments across screens. Our TVSDK for HTML5 applies Adobe’s expertise in video solutions to the open HTML5 standard. It extends reach and monetization of premium video experiences across the mobile web, including to mobile web browsers on iOS and Android devices. This enables engaging video experiences on mobile devices without forcing viewers into apps. In turn, this allows mobile publishers to deliver more of what people want on the mobile web and increase the amount of time viewers spend on their mobile websites. TVSDK for HTML5 also works with HTML5-compliant desktop browsers and over-the-top (OTT) devices.

There are several advantages to leveraging Adobe’s support for HTML5. First, TVSDK for HTML5 supports all the same streamlined workflows that are part of Adobe Primetime. Second, Adobe Primetime customers still get TVSDK 2.0, with our latest enhancements to the TVSDK, as a fallback solution where HTML5 is not supported and TVSDK 2.0 is supported.

By leveraging TVSDK 2.0 and TVSDK for HTML5, Adobe Primetime customers can achieve the greatest possible reach across screens available anywhere.

Delivering OTT TV and Film Experiences with TVSDK for HTML5

TVSDK for HTML5 controls access to premium video content by invoking the digital rights management (DRM) of the browser or platform that the consumer is using. For Mozilla Firefox version 38 and up, this means invoking the Adobe Primetime Content Decryption Module (CDM), which is an implementation of the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) specification, and can be used in conjunction with the Media Source Extensions (MSE) specification. For other browsers and platforms, TVSDK for HTML5 invokes whichever CDM is available to playback encrypted media, whether that is Google’s Widevine in Chrome, Microsoft PlayReady in Internet Explorer or Edge, or Apple’s FairPlay Streaming in Safari.

Browser support for the playback of protected video content in an HTML5 environment is at an all time high. According to December 2015 data from netmarketshare.com, 68% of monthly active desktop browsers already support HTML5 through EME and MSE implementations. However, this still means that 32% of desktop browsers can’t play protected video content in an HTML5 environment. So, it’s crucial to have the desktop fallback solution that’s provided by TVSDK 2.0.

Deploying to more screens in the future

In the future, HTML5 through EME and MSE will open up new possibilities for operators and programmers to get on even more screens. It provides a generic specification for browser manufacturers to build APIs that allow premium video experiences to be delivered in their browsers. Most consumer electronics manufacturers, traditional browser manufacturers, and content creators are now working towards HTML5 through EME and MSE as a standard means of delivery. For instance, both Chromecast and late model Samsung TVs use HTML5 through EME and MSE. Stay tuned as Adobe Primetime certifies these devices and others like them.

How Adobe Primetime is Incorporating DASH

In March, I wrote about how Adobe Primetime is transitioning to MPEG-DASH, or DASH for short, which is a standard for adaptive bitrate (ABR) delivery of media to any device. This month, Abhinav Kapoor, Sr. Manager of Software Development at Adobe Primetime, shared the latest update at IBC 2015 regarding our plans to incorporate DASH and expand the use of DASH for streaming video.

In his presentation, Abhinav talks about Adobe Primetime’s support for DASH on HTML5, on our native clients across all the devices that we support, and about how we’re using DASH on both the client- and server-side. For example, Adobe Primetime has several server-side components that are ready for DASH, which has several benefits, including reducing the complexities around inserting ads on the server side. He also covers how we’re working on extensions to the standard in order to bring in support for features like WebVTT and common encryption for the rotation of licenses and keys.

Adobe Primetime looks forward to actively pursuing to integrate standards like DASH to engage audiences with premium TV experiences online. Interested in the full story? Watch Abhinav’s presentation in this video.  

TVSDK 2.0 Improves Engagement and Monetization Across Devices

Starting today, Adobe Primetime customers can deploy the latest TVSDK across devices with ease. Our goal with Adobe Primetime TVSDK has always been to help TV providers and media companies build and deliver premium video experiences across IP-connected screens. This upgrade continues to serve this goal by helping developers achieve greater performance for their TV experiences, deploy with greater consistency to all the different screens and reach more screens in total.

Key improvements include:

  • Faster startup time for live streams by up to 500%
  • A unified architecture that will enable faster deployments to new devices and more synchronized access to new features across devices
  • Extended delivery to new OTT devices including Xbox One.

TVSDK 2.0 improvements

As a result of these improvements, Adobe Primetime customers are more equipped than ever to engage and monetize audiences across devices.

Achieve greater performance

Video apps and experiences must quickly respond to increase viewer engagement. To meet this expectation, Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0 includes many new features that are designed to speed up response times. One exciting feature called Instant On allows app developers to pre-fetch video content in order to start its playback in under a second.

In tests, Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0 sped up a wide range of performance measures. In comparison to TVSDK 1.3, it had startup times for premium VOD content that were 3000% faster, startup times for premium live content that were 500% faster, a 300% improvement on the time it takes to insert ad breaks and a 250% improvement to the fast-forward and fast-rewind functionalities.

Deploy with greater consistency across more devices

Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0 has a new, unified architecture that makes it easier for TV and video app developers to deploy premium video experiences consistently across devices. The architecture includes a C++ core with a thin, platform-specific API surface that talks directly to the core. That API surface is consistent across devices. The architecture also includes a single JavaScript interface for talking to browsers.

This unified architecture offers two key benefits. First, it makes porting Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0 to new devices faster. Already, this ease of porting has extended the reach of Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0 to Xbox One devices. Second, it makes the release of new features more synchronized across devices. Together, these benefits provide faster access to new devices and new features for Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0 users.

Figure 2. Unified architecture of Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0

TVSDK 2.0 devices

Prepare to deploy to HTML5 environments

Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0 paves the way to deploying premium TV experiences across HTML5 environments because it will serve as the fallback solution to TVSDK for HTML5. For example, if a customer deploys to desktop browsers with Adobe Primetime TVSDK for HTML5 but a viewer accesses it from a browser that does not support HTML5, TVSDK 2.0 will come in and provide the premium experience that the viewer expects to see.

Getting started

We’re excited to see Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0 improve reach and monetization across devices. We’d like to help all our existing customers upgrade to Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0 as soon as possible. To get started, reach out to your Adobe Primetime account manager.

Expanding High Quality Viewing Experiences with MPEG-DASH

The digital TV industry is embracing MPEG-DASH, or DASH for short, in a big way, and Adobe Primetime is fully onboard with it. DASH is a standard for over-the-top (OTT) adaptive bitrate (ABR) delivery of media to any device. It is similar to other HTTP delivery specs like HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) and HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS). Proponents of DASH love it because it’s an open standard, and really flexible, too. The standard is supported by Adobe and other members of the DASH Industry Forum (DASH-IF), a who’s who of streaming video industry participants. We’re proud of being able to contribute to the DASH specification, as it paves the way for higher-quality content formats, like 4K and Ultra HD, to be made available across desktops and devices.

Transitioning to DASH

DASH support aligns with a key goal for Adobe Primetime to help customers reach all platforms and devices with a single stream from their publishing workflow. At NAB 2014, we announced DASH support within our core video engine layer. We’re working right now with customers to build DASH implementations in live production environments to support millions of concurrent viewers, with full DRM and ad insertion capabilities. Over the course of 2015, we plan to incorporate DASH into all the different clients we support, with Xbox One and HTML5 player deployments at the top of the list. We’re also excited to include DASH in our latest TVSDKs.

We’re also working to ensure that there is a robust transition plan in place for customers that are interested in DASH. Our DASH support includes work to maintain the same feature sets and workflows that customers have today in the HLS world. This includes maintaining analytics, ad insertion and consistent captioning across devices in order to make life easier for customers as they begin to deploy DASH. There will also be no need to invest in new servers, as the transition should mostly involve deploying new software and making use of existing equipment.

Getting More with DASH

Adobe Primetime’s support for DASH is entirely additive. It doesn’t replace any other standards we support. It simply offers more flexibility in how our customers can approach media delivery.

We foresee customers targeting DASH to some platforms and HLS to others. By supporting both specs, DASH and HLS, Adobe Primetime will offer consistency in features and workflows no matter what our customers choose to use.

What are your plans for DASH? Let us know in the comments.