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Video Breakthroughs
Monitoring innovations in post-production, head-end, streaming, OTT, second-screen, UHDTV, multiscreen strategies & tools
Curated by Nicolas Weil
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Announcing PlayReady as a service and AES dynamic encryption with Azure Media Services

Announcing PlayReady as a service and AES dynamic encryption with Azure Media Services | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

Now Azure Media Services allow you to deliver Http-Live-Streaming (HLS) and Smooth Streams encrypted with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) (using 128-bit encryption keys). Media Services also provides the key delivery service that delivers encryption keys to authorized users. 


Azure Media Services also provides a Microsoft PlayReady license delivery service. PlayReady is a full-featured content access protection technology developed my Microsoft that uses Digital Rights Management (DRM). It protects a content media stream during playback by using a license server that provides the decryption key needed to decrypt the media stream. 

Firstly, you need to pre-encrypt Smooth Streaming file with PlayReady License, by providing us License Acquisition URL, Key ID and Content Key. You could follow this MSDN article to use Azure Media Encryptor to encrypt the Smooth Streaming file. As a output, you could further package the encrypted Smooth Streaming into HLS and DASH (See how here). You could also define how the license could be authorized to your user. Similar to AES dynamic encryption, we enable Token/IP/Open authentication service.


Which platform/devices that PlayReady SDK covers?

Azure Media Services can be used to encode, download, or stream Smooth Streaming or MPEG DASH content encrypted with PlayReady. For consuming PlayReady encrypted content, client SDKsand the PlayReady Porting Kit are available under commercial licensing terms. (PlayReady clients for Windows 8.1 Store Apps can be built using the free SDK located HERE). These client-side SDKs are not part of this preview.


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2014 – The year of open standards?

2014 – The year of open standards? | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

There is hope on the horizon. MPEG-DASH exists as an open alternative to these closed standards. Two of the three companies with proprietary closed standards have been actively involved in the formation and promotion of DASH. These efforts have been clearly successful, as DASH delivery of content is becoming more and more prevalent – for example, Netflix, Hulu and YouTube have all released versions of their content via DASH delivery. Through the efforts of Browser manufacturers, Media Source Extensions (another open standard), have become available in many browsers allowing delivery of DASH content without any additional plugins required.

 

Unfortunately, HLS remains the most common delivery format in the US, and Apple (the author/owner of HLS) has shown no interest in supporting MSE in their browser. A tipping point is clearly on the way, which will see a massive growth in DASH delivery. Eventually Apple will be forced to embrace the current open standard, or risk losing content which has made their platform so appealing. The irony of course is that Apple has done so much marketing touting themselves as leaders of the “open web” movement, and they are the long holdout stalling the success of this open standard.

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Client Ecosystem for Windows Azure Media Services

Client Ecosystem for Windows Azure Media Services | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

This blog gives an overview of what kind of client support Microsoft offers as part of Windows Azure media Services. On one side, you could create, manage, package and deliver media asset through Windows Azure media services. Many popular streaming formats are supported, such as Smooth Streaming, Http Llive Streaming and MPEG-dash. On the other hand, we provide various SDKs and frameworks for you to consume media asset by building rich media applications rapidly on many platforms, such as PC, XBox, mobile and etc.

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The Current State of Android and Video

The Current State of Android and Video | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

Android has limited support for HLS (Apple’s HTTP Live streaming protocol), and device support is not the same from one version or one device to the next. Android devices before 4.x (Gingerbread or Honeycomb), do not support HLS. Android tried to support HLS with Android 3.0, but excessive buffering often caused streams to crash. Devices running Android 4.x and above will support HLS, but there are still inconsistencies and problems.

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OSMF HLS Plugin

OSMF HLS Plugin | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

Having been involved in the Together project, I was assigned a task to enable Apple HLS video playback on the Flash platform. Video content delivery in a single format (HLS in this case) is usually very easy and offers many benefits. To process video, Flash has an open source OSMF framework that can be easily enhanced with various plugins. But there is one problem: the framework is absolutely HLS-agnostic. Adobe promoted RTMP first, and only then offered HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS) as an alternative to Apple HLS. In this post, we’ll cover a free HLS plugin that we have developed to run HLS in OSMF-enabled video players.

 

Github page : https://github.com/denivip/osmf-hls-plugin

Nicolas Weil's insight:

Excellent contribution : DENIVIPMedia once again positions itself as a major company in the streaming development space !

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Adobe to add HLS and DASH to Primetime

Adobe to add HLS and DASH to Primetime | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

Adobe's plans for Primetime highlight both the strengths and limitations of HLS and DASH, as well as the fact that Flash isn't going away anytime soon.

 

From a technology perspective, the Primetime player will support multiple existing streaming technologies, depending upon the platform. Not surprisingly, the iOS and Android SDKs support HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), with Android support provided by a full HLS (v4) video stack that will extend HLS compatibility back to Android 2.3, and avoid many of the problems reported with Google’s own HLS implementation.

 

The recent big news is that Adobe will add HLS support to the Primetime Player by this summer (2013), but not to the Flash Player itself. Though on the desktop, Primetime licensees could also use HTTP-based Dynamic Streaming (HDS), the only single technology that could address all platforms will be HLS.

 

Adobe plans to add DASH to Primetime (but not the Flash Player) by the end of 2013, but this will only extend to the desktop and Android versions of Primetime, not iOS--the Primetime SDK for iOS will only support HLS. According to Ashley Still, Adobe’s director of product management for video solutions, Adobe made this decision because DASH support on iOS would require client-side transmuxing from DASH to HLS, which could cause performance issues during some playback scenarios.

Nicolas Weil's insight:

"DASH to HLS transmuxing on iOS could cause performance issues" : isn't it the way everybody does right now or is Adobe searching for an excuse ?

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VisualOn and Discretix Offer SecurePlayer 2.0 for iOS and Android

VisualOn and Discretix Offer SecurePlayer 2.0 for iOS and Android | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

Just in time for NAB, VisualOn and Discretix are announcing the release of SecurePlayer 2.0, which provides publishers with iOS and Android playback protected with Microsoft PlayReady DRM (digital rights management).

 

The player works with MPEG-DASH, HLS, and Smooth Streaming content.

SecurePlayer 2.0 combines VisualOn's OnStream MediaPlayer+ with Discretix's DRM security.

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Adobe Primetime and the Single Publishing Workflow : HLS everywhere

Adobe Primetime and the Single Publishing Workflow : HLS everywhere | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

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 desktopHLS will be available on all Adobe Primetime Player mobile platformsSupport of  MPEG-Dash in the future
Nicolas Weil's insight:

HLS everywhere, DASH nowhere : is it a good sign for DASH support which is taking ages to come to life inside Adobe's product range ? Their first announcement for this upcoming support was more than one year ago now (http://goo.gl/EvqHK). Please, Adobe, help us get rid of HLS instead of pushing it as a standard of the future - it's a dead-end technology...

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Zencoder Offers API for Live Cloud Video Transcoding

Zencoder Offers API for Live Cloud Video Transcoding | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

In one of the first significant pre-NAB announcements, cloud encoding companyZencoder is releasing the Zencoder Live Cloud Transcoding service, an open API that offers simple and scalable encoding for live video.

 

Using the API, publishers upload an RTMP stream from a lightweight encoder on a laptop. Once uploaded, Zencoder creates adaptive bitrate HLS and RTMP streams for viewers.

Nicolas Weil's insight:

Might be interesting to test - maybe more similar offers to come during NAB...

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The State of Streaming Media Protocols 2013

The State of Streaming Media Protocols 2013 | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

It's all about DASH: Adoption is moving at a rapid pace, as industry insiders see a strong need to get DASH implemented in the field in the coming year.

 

The Pantos spec, as it is known in the industry, is a series of working drafts for HLS submitted by two Apple employees as an information draft for the Internet Engineering Task Force. As of the time of this article, the Pantos spec is currently at informational version 10.

 

Much has changed between the early versions and the most recent v10 draft, but one constant remains: HLS is based on the MPEG-2 Transport Streams (M2TS), has been in use for almost 2 decades, and is deployed widely for varied broadcast and physical media delivery solutions.

 

In that time frame, however, little has changed for basic M2TS transport stream capabilities. For instance, M2TS still lacks an integrated solution for digital rights management (DRM). As such, all HLS versions cannot use "plain vanilla" M2TS, and even the modified M2TS used by Apple lacks timed-text or closed-captioning features found in more recent fragmented elementary stream streaming formats.

 

Yet Apple has been making strides in addressing the shortcomings of both M2TS and the early versions of HLS: In recent drafts, the HLS informational draft allows for the use of elementary streams, which are segmented at the time of demand rather than beforehand. This use of elementary streams means that one Achilles' heel of HLS -- the need to store thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of small segments of long-form streaming content -- is now eliminated.

 

Google, with its Android mobile operating system platform, has adopted HLS for Android OS 4. Some enterprising companies have even gone back and created HLS playback for earlier versions of Android OS-based devices.

 

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HBB-Next : Demo of multi-source multimedia synchronisation [video]

The FP7 HBB-Next project (http://hbb-next.eu) presents a proof-of-concept of mutli-source multimedia synchronisation. The demo shows content from four sources.

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Dynamic Packaging and Encoding and Streaming Reserved Units

Dynamic Packaging and Encoding and Streaming Reserved Units | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

Does anyone have any information on the new ‘on the fly converting’ for media services?


Yes, that feature is shipping in the coming days, we refer to it as dynamic packaging, you could also call it just-in-time packaging, dynamic muxing, etc.

Specifically, it will offer the ability to:

Transmux from a single source format into two different streaming formats.


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Adobe Media Server – Setup PHLS live stream

Adobe Media Server – Setup PHLS live stream | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

Here is a How to, the objective is to demonstrate the setup of a PHLS live stream. PHLS means Protected HLS : the custom format of HLS by Adobe. The protection is realized with a AES-128 encryption on the content. To make this configuration, you need a streaming server which will push content via RTMP. Some live transcoders are available from ElementalLive to ffmpeg. And you need too a Adobe Media Server installed to complete this how to.  All I write in this post is available via the AMS documentation.

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Apple Changes Encoding Recommendations for HLS audio versions and segment size

Apple Changes Encoding Recommendations for HLS audio versions and segment size | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

First, and most significant, is that Apple now recommends using different audio bitrates for the different quality streams, starting at 64Kbps and scaling up to 128Kbps. In all previous versions of the Tech Note, Apple used 64Kbps across the board, which most authorities attributed to the potential for “popping” artifacts if a viewer switched to different rates during a stream switch. Adobe’s adaptive presets took the same approach, and most white papers on the subject advised the same. 


The other major change is the adjustment of the recommended segment size from ten seconds to nine seconds, which cleared up the most enduring mystery of the Tech Note. As I wrote in How to Encode Video for HLS Delivery: "In terms of segment duration, the most confusing aspect of TN2224 is the recommendation of a segment size of ten seconds, and a keyframe interval of three seconds, as this wouldn’t seem to produce a keyframe at the start of each segment. Interestingly, the new default settings in Apple Compressor 4.1 follow these recommendations, creating a segment duration of ten seconds, but using a keyframe interval of three seconds.

In contrast, most authorities recommend making sure that the keyframe interval divides evenly into the segment size. For example, cloud encoder Zencoder’s well-written Best Practices for Encoding HLS Video states, “keyframe rate should be an even interval of the segment size.”

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Distributing Adaptive to Android: Problems and Solutions

Distributing Adaptive to Android: Problems and Solutions | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

By way of background, Android’s initial streaming strategy centered around the Flash player, which worked acceptably well until Adobe pulled the plug on updating the Flash player for Android and other platforms. This left Google in the lurch, which it tried to fill by adding support for HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), starting officially with Android 3.0+. This approach, implemented well, would be very attractive to producers who are already serving HLS streams to iOS devices, which support HLS natively.

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Alternative audio tracks in HTML5 video

Alternative audio tracks in HTML5 video | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

A major advantage of HTTP Live Streaming, and it is still unbeaten by any other standard, is that you can use any technology to compose multimedia content. You don’t need expensive media servers to handle media streams. You can easily delegate media composition to some simple PHP / Python / Ruby / Node.js modules. As a long-time Flash lover I was somewhat prejudiced against the Apple’s video delivery standard. But as a developer, every day I use it to solve tasks which have been almost unattainable with the previous stack (or required expensive software). Adobe HDS playlists have been really hard to deal with. Just think of binary data in f4m playlists. They require much more time to develop & debug the solution. MPEG DASH is also far from being intuitive.

 

In this post, we are going to discuss how to make an alternative audio track for your video. Although HTTP Live Streaming can streamline this task, yet there are some limitations, so you need to make certain hacks on the client side. In our Togetherproject, we had to implement alternate sound tracks for user videos. Luckily, we use HTTP Live Streaming throughout the system.

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Intertrust offers ExpressPlay cloud-based content protection

Intertrust offers ExpressPlay cloud-based content protection | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

Intertrust Technologies has introduced an integrated content protection solution-as-a-service that it says is simple and cost-effective to implement by any service provider yet strong enough to protect high-value entertainment and media content including video, audio, ebooks and games.

 

Called ExpressPlay, it works with existing Marlin-enabled Smart TVs and set-top boxes and with iOS and Android apps. Intertrust also provides an embedded SDK for device manufacturers and a content packager for service providers to ingest content. ExpressPlay supports Marlin and media streaming standards such as DASH and HLS.

Nicolas Weil's insight:

One of the first standardized DRMs for DASH. Interesting announced upcoming support for SIlverlight & XBox...

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Commentary: HLS's Ubiquity May Be DASH's Gain

Commentary: HLS's Ubiquity May Be DASH's Gain | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

Now that virtually all major players support Apple's HLS, the shortcomings of that de facto standard may lead to more widespread implementation of MPEG-DASH.


Adobe made news several weeks ago, when it announced the impending inclusion of Apple's HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) in the Primetime player, part of Adobe's video publishing ecosystem for big media companies.

 

Yes, we all agree, it's a big deal for HLS, both from the standpoint of players—all major players, except the standalone Flash Player without the Primetime SDK on top, now have plans to include HLS—as well as a win for Apple in creating ade facto standard out of a proprietary solution.

 

But it may be too much too late, and could spell the beginning of the end of HLS as we know it. Wait, don't I mean too little too late? No, in this instance, I think HLS's popularity, as it is thrust out on to the global broadcast stage without yet fully putting on its costume (stabilized "recommendation" spec) may be its undoing.


Nicolas Weil's insight:

Hopefully HLS domination time is soon over.

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Bridgetech introduces digital media (HLS, HDS, HSS) monitoring on the iPhone

Bridgetech introduces digital media (HLS, HDS, HSS) monitoring on the iPhone | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

Bridge Technologies has launched PocketProbe, an iPhone app that enables objective analysis of real network performance of streaming media, in a simple to use, easy to understand tool that technical staff can carry anywhere.

 

PocketProbe contains the same OTT Engine found in the company’s VB1, VB2 and 10G VB3 series digital media monitoring probes, enabling confidence validation and analysis of http variable bit-rate streams from any location. 


PocketProbe is available in two versions: the free application can validate five HLS streams in round-robin mode, provide analysis and manifest consistency alarms, play back media in the various profile bit-rates, and graphically display the actual chunk download patterns and bit-rates. The full version also offers the ability to validate HDS and SmoothStream manifest files and store twenty-five streams with all profiles.

Nicolas Weil's insight:

Wicked ! Only DASH is missing :-(

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Adobe Announces General Availability of Adobe Primetime

Adobe Announces General Availability of Adobe Primetime | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

StreamingMedia.com readers first heard about Adobe Primetime in February 2012, when Adobe announced the project and made the first parts of it available at that year's Mobile World Congress. Fourteen months later, Adobe is announcing the general availability of Primetime at the NAB conference. Primetime is a comprehensive modular tool for broadcasters streaming content online, and it includes components for distribution, ad insertion, DRM (digital rights management), and analytics. Because the platform is modular, broadcasters are free to choose the elements they need. They can also connect Primetime to other ad servers or analytics tools, if they prefer.

 

Adobe's goal in creating Primetime was to help broadcasters further their reach, keep viewers engaged for longer, and help them monetize that reach and engagement. Adobe aims to keep distribution simple by letting one player and one workflow deliver video to all platforms. Primetime streams HLS video, which plays in a Flash player on the desktop. For now, Primetime supports live, linear, and on-demand video on Windows and Mac desktops, as well as iOS and Android mobile devices. Adobe announced that later this year it will expand support to include HTML5 on mobile devices, Roku, Xbox, and connected TVs. With this release, Adobe has also announced that Adobe Analytics (the new name for SiteCatalyst) is integrated with Primetime and offers granular data on individual viewer experiences right down to the 10-second level. Adobe Analytics is integrated into Primetime's media player.

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Manifest Destiny – The Dynamic Generation of Playlists

Manifest Destiny – The Dynamic Generation of Playlists | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

Things become more complicated when trying to extend the physical model to an online streaming world that includes HTTP-based streaming protocols such as HLS. HLS is based on many fragments of a video file linked together by a text file called a manifest. When implementing HLS, the most straightforward method is to simply add a URL that links to the manifest, or m3u8 file. This has the benefit of being extremely easy, basically fitting into the existing model.

 

The drawbacks are that HLS is not really like a static media item. For example, an MP4 is very much like a video track on a DVD; it’s a single video at a single resolution and bitrate.  The HLS manifest consists, most likely, of multiple bitrates, resolutions, and thousands of fragmented pieces of video. HLS has the capacity to do so much more than an MP4, so why treat it the same?

Nicolas Weil's insight:

Dynamic or static manifests : HLS is still a "dirty" technology which we hope DASH to make disappear on the long run...

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Nicolas Weil's comment, April 9, 2013 12:30 AM
Read also "Video Concatenation? HLS to the Rescue!" http://blog.zencoder.com/2013/01/18/concatenation-hls-to-the-rescue/
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Agama launches next-gen Analyzer OTT

Agama launches next-gen Analyzer OTT | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

Agama Technologies, the video service quality assurance expert, is introducing the next generation of its Analyzer OTT for adaptive bitrate (ABR) streaming services at TV Connect 2013.

 

The Analyzer OTT supports continuous 24/7 monitoring as well as testing and troubleshooting applications, making it ideal in all phases of deployment, operation and expansion. Both Microsoft Smooth Streaming services and Apple HTTP Live Streaming services can be analyzed in any combination. Sophisticated multi-dimensional presentation of QoE and QoS with timeline analytics provide a solid understanding of relevant technical quality parameters and how they affect the viewing experience.

Nicolas Weil's insight:

Product page : http://www.agama.tv/products/headend-and-network-analyzers/agama-analyzer-ott

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Isabelle Bourekeb's curator insight, March 20, 2013 4:42 PM

Bon bon reste à voir comment ils s'en sortent avec des flux chiffrés età quelle vitesse ils suivent les nouveaux formats.... 

 

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Rock Solid Live Streaming with HDS and HLS

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Varnish sample code for HDS and HLS failover

Varnish sample code for HDS and HLS failover | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

In a real deployment scenario, playback should be as robust as possible in the face of server-side problems. As our architecture stands today, playback can suffer from two problems regardless of the amount of backend redundancy that is deployed. Those problems are liveness, where a packager advertises a stale view of live, and dropout, where a packager has gaps in its fragment list.

 

HDS/HLS fail-over is the server side solution to solve the live-ness and dropout problems in HDS/HLS respectively.

 

This article describes a basic failover setup with redundant packagers and Varnish as a reverse proxy. The article further provides users a step-by-step guide to writing a basic varnish configuration script to configure Varnish for the failover solution.

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Google Needs a Strategy for Video on Android Devices

Google Needs a Strategy for Video on Android Devices | Video Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

Unlike Apple's iOS platform, Google has yet to provide an easy way to get live video to Android devices. Worse yet, it hasn't offered a strategy for fixing the situation.

 

Many content owners who want to get their live event-based streaming content on mobile phones and tablets quickly find out that getting it to Android devices is extremely challenging. Unlike Apple’s iOS platform, Google has yet to provide an easy way to get live video to Android devices, and to date, it hasn’t detailed any strategy for fixing the situation. Many content owners I have spoken with, as well as those who help these content owners encode and distribute their video, are now questioning why they should even continue to go through all the trouble of trying to support Android-based devices at all.

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DENIVIP Media's curator insight, December 22, 2012 7:59 AM

That's why developing video apps for Android is much more expensive and results are worse that in iOS!

Ludovic Bostral's comment, December 24, 2012 3:30 AM
desperatly needs. It's a mess and my love for Android is challenged