Microsoft Raises the Bar for Delivery of Live HD Online Video Using HTTP
Live Smooth Streaming and Silverlight tools and resources enable broadcasters worldwide to deliver the highest quality video.
REDMOND, Wash. — Bolstering its ability to provide the richest user experiences to consumers, Microsoft Corp. today announced plans to release Internet Information Services (IIS) Media Services 3.0, which enables delivery of interactive, high-definition-quality Live Smooth Streaming, along with new tools to simplify the process of delivering online experiences with Microsoft Silverlight. At the International Broadcasting Conference (IBC), Sept.11–15 in Amsterdam, Microsoft also will preview the latest media feature developments in Microsoft Silverlight 4, including native multicast support and support for offline digital rights management (DRM) powered by Microsoft PlayReady technology. In addition, the company announced the release of its IIS Smooth Streaming Transport Protocol and Protected Interoperable File Format (PIFF) specification under the Microsoft Community Promise, helping to ensure openness and industry interoperability.
At the company’s booth at IBC, Microsoft and key partners, Envivio Inc., iStreamPlanet Co., Level 3 Communications, and TwoFour Digital, will showcase these developments, as well as highlight how a growing number of customers, including Canal+, France 24, NBC Sports, Sat. 1, ProSieben and TV 2, are adopting IIS Smooth Streaming to enable rich and compelling video experiences globally.
“Microsoft Silverlight allows us to extend our investment in Windows Media Player and provide more accessibility and simplicity to our users. With Silverlight and PlayReady, we can run our Web TV services such as Foot+ on most Internet browsers, as well as PCs and Macs, while maintaining a high level of content security,” said Frederic Vincent, business development manager of Canal+. “Canal+ is also very excited about Microsoft’s innovative IIS Smooth Streaming technology, which will allow us to deliver an incredible video experience on the Web to our customers.”
Since May 2009, key broadcasters around the world have used beta versions of Live Smooth Streaming, a new feature of IIS Media Services 3.0, to successfully broadcast some of the world’s premier live events. These include the Tour de France and the Roland Garros 2009 International French Open Tennis Tournament on France Télévisions; the IAAF Athletics World Championships, FINA Swimming World Championships on both France Télévisions and RAI; the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 on RAI; and Champions League Soccer on BSkyB; as well as events such as the Michael Jackson Memorial on Sympatico/MSN inMusic and SKY News. In a combined effort with Microsoft, NBC Sports and others, Wimbledon Live delivered more than 6,500 minutes of live and on-demand Smooth Streaming video via a high-definition (HD), interactive online video experience.
“With technologies such as Live Smooth Streaming, we are furthering our commitment to provide cost-effective, scalable solutions to deliver the latest in high-quality, true HD and enhance the way audiences experience online video via Silverlight-based media players,” said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Platform at Microsoft.
IIS Media Services 3.0 and Silverlight 3 together provide the innovative platform that enables customers to deliver high-quality online media experiences that savvy online consumers have come to expect. IIS Media Services 3.0 is an integrated HTTP-based media delivery platform that delivers full HD streaming up to 1080p and provides real-time logging for data analysis. The platform also enables delivery of PlayReady-protected content for both on-demand and Live Smooth Streaming scenarios. Delivery of H.264 and Advanced Audio Coding formats over IIS Smooth Streaming is also enabled in IIS Media Services 3.0.
Continuing Commitment to the Developer Community
Furthering its commitment to provide developers with the open access and resources they need, Microsoft also announced today that has published its IIS Smooth Streaming Transport Protocol under the Microsoft Community Promise. This will help third parties who wish to build their own client implementations that interoperate with IIS Media Services. In addition, Microsoft announced the publication of the PIFF specification under the Microsoft Community Promise. The PIFF specification defines a standards-based file format that supports DRM interoperability (with PlayReady and other third-party DRM technologies), and provides a single standards-based encoding format appropriate for Smooth Streaming of audio and video content. In publishing PIFF and the IIS Smooth Streaming Transport Protocol, Microsoft intends to promote industry adoption of a video format optimized for Internet delivery, interoperable among a wide range of consumer devices, and openly available for use by all publishers to enable secure distribution and playback of high-value video.
In an early preview of Silverlight 4 media-specific features, at IBC Microsoft will showcase the next generation of movie experiences enabled by advanced offline PlayReady DRM and out of browser capabilities. These features will enable movie studios and retailers to provide the same rich interactive experiences via digital copy and Internet distribution as consumers get with DVD or Blu-ray. Silverlight 4 will enable movie studios to go beyond these experiences and also offer network-delivered updates, special offers and live events, and extend their relationship with consumers past the single movie purchase.
Microsoft also announced additional tools that deliver on the company’s commitment to support the developer community. A beta version of a Smooth Streaming player development kit, which makes it easier for developers to build custom players using templates, will be available with the release of IIS Media Services 3.0. Developers can simplify the production of Silverlight video by taking advantage of the encoding and publishing capabilities in Microsoft Expression Encoder 3, now available as a standalone product from the Microsoft Expression Studio suite.
Industry Partners Demonstrate Support for Smooth Streaming
To ensure the availability of a broad range of end-to-end Smooth Streaming solutions, Microsoft has worked closely with content delivery networks, encoding vendors and DRM application service providers who announced their support for Smooth Streaming in April 2009. At IBC, Level3 Communications LLC, Twofour Digital, Envivio Inc. and iStreamPlanet Co. will accompany Microsoft in its booth to demonstrate recent work to implement and deliver Smooth Streaming and Silverlight solutions.
Product Information and Availability
IIS Media Services with Live Smooth Streaming and the Smooth Streaming player development kit will be released within the next 30 days. More information about IIS Media Services and making the switch to Smooth Streaming is available at http://iis.net/media.
More information on the Microsoft Community Promise is available at http://www.microsoft.com/interop/cp/default.mspx.
The Smooth Streaming player development kit is available for download at http://www.iis.net/media. More information about Microsoft Expression Encoder 3, including availability and pricing, is available at http://www.microsoft.com/expression/products/Encoder_Overview.aspx.
More information about Silverlight can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight or at the Microsoft Silverlight and Expression Studio Virtual Press Room at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/silverlight/default.mspx.
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