Flash Platform

Wallpaper by Kevin Suttle

Flash PlatformThe Adobe Flash Platform is a lightweight, cross-platform runtime that can be used not just for rich media, but also for enterprise applications, communications, and mobile applications.

Yesterday, Adobe announced the Flash Media Server 3 (FMS3) family of products, which provides a more efficient instant-on video experience virtually anytime, anywhere - to the Web, the desktop with Adobe Media Player and to mobile devices with Adobe Flash Lite 3.

The best part of the announcement was that of the new pricing options which gives the customers a wide array of choices for broadcasting of high quality streaming media experiences.

Besides the low cost pricing, some of the other awesome changes to FMS3 are;

* removal of bandwidth/connection restriction
* improved clustering support
* full content protection
* streaming support for H.264 (High Definition Video)
* support for dynamic Multiple Camera Angle Switching for both live and pre-recorded video

This announcements eliminate the barrier to scaling the server-side in terms of connections, bandwidth and licensing cost.

Ted have some good points when he noted;

The explosive growth of web video was ushered in through the use of progressive download and Flash Player. By leveraging the ubiquity of Flash Player, sites like YouTube, VideoEgg, and BrightCove made progressive download the standard for video delivery online. As this market matured so did the demand for higher quality video and content protection. FMS3 provides content protection through encrypting streaming and includes support for streaming HD video online. In lowering the cost of secure HD streaming we will see some amazing growth in the delivery of web video.

FMS3 and FMS2 CPU usage comparison chart

Here is another quote from Read/Write Web;

FMS3 also includes significant performance increases over the previous version. Internal Adobe benchmarks show that at 20% CPU usage, Flash Media Server 3 can support more than double the number of streams as version 2.0.4. At 95% CPU usage, the performance gains become even more pronounced.

Enhanced Features in Flash Media Server 3

* Improved performance -- FMS3 will increase its capacity for the number of concurrent streams by over 200% compared with the previous version. This improvement will help lower the cost per stream, because more streams can be delivered per server. The performance gains will be achieved in both Windows and Linux Red Hat 4 implementations.
* H.264 and AAC streaming support -- FMS3 will support streaming of industry-standard H.264 and HE-AAC video and audio content to Flash Player, Adobe AIR, and Adobe Media Player. FMS3 will also support enhanced seeking for H.264 content, which means you can seek to any point within the video and start streaming quickly.
* New security features -- Adobe's Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) will be enhanced with new, higher performance encryption to help secure streamed media and communication. This enhanced protocol is called RTMPE. Similar in strength to our current SSL protocol (RTMPS), this enhancement can be leveraged by content owners and communication developers to add additional protection to their content. Additionally, SWF verification will also help protect SWF files from being reused, modified, or hosted in alternate locations. Flash Media Server 3 will also support streaming of encrypted content to Adobe Media Player.
* Improved live video support -- FMS3 will introduce scalable live streaming support for high-quality video and audio streams from Adobe Flash Media Encoder. This will allow more live streams to be hosted from a single Flash Media Server.
* Adobe Media Player support -- FMS3 will introduce content measurement services for the upcoming release of Adobe Media Player. FMS3 can also be used to stream protected content to Adobe Media Player.
* Mobile video delivery to Flash Lite 3 -- FMS3 will support both prerecorded and live streaming to the Flash Lite 3 mobile platform. The same video experience in the browser can now be delivered to mobile devices supporting Flash Lite 3.
* Better out-of-the-box experience -- FMS3 will ship with special prebuilt services to make it easier to stream. The documentation and help systems have also been completely updated to support ActionScript 3 in Adobe Flex and Flash CS3 Professional.
* New plug-in architecture -- FMS3 will increase its extensibility by introducing powerful new C++ APIs to customize the built-in authentication and file access functionality. These plug-ins can be used to develop geo-filtered content or HTTP-based Origin services.
* Server-side republish -- This exciting new feature will let developers push either a live stream or a playlist to another Flash Media Server or content delivery network (CDN). A developer can inject cue-point messages into a live stream before it gets distributed, making it easier to develop applications that react to the video events.

Pricing and Availability

FMS3 is expected to be available in January 2008 and will ship with special pre-built services making it easier to stream Flash Player compatible video. Adobe Flash Media Interactive Server 3 (FMSIS 3) will be priced at $4,500. For single-server deployments, Adobe Flash Media Streaming Server 3 (FMSS 3) will be priced at just $995. FMS3 will also be available through select content distribution network providers for customers who prefer to outsource their media deployments.

Further Reading

* Flash Media Server Official Page
* Article and Podcast with Kevin Towes, FMS Product Manager