FAQs on using IIS Smooth Streaming with the Apple iPhone

Posted: Dec 01, 2009  8 comments  

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At the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) on November 18th, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Scott Guthrie announced support for adaptive streaming to the iPhone from the next release of IIS Media Services.  Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about this announcement:

Q: What did you announce at PDC about streaming to the Apple iPhone?
A: At PDC, Scott Guthrie announced that the next version of IIS Media Services will provide an option to take video content in the format for IIS Smooth Streaming (also known as the Protected Interoperable File Format, or PIFF) and provide an output option that will deliver the content in a format optimized for the Apple iPhone.

Q: Where can I see this for myself?
A: To see the iPhone adaptive streaming demo, use your iPhone browser to navigate to www.iis.net/iPhone

Q: Do I need to encode new video content twice?
A: No. After you publish H.264 Baseline video content created in the IIS Smooth Streaming format, IIS Media Services takes care of any format conversions necessary to target both the Apple iPhone and clients that are able to directly consume the IIS Smooth Streaming Transport Protocol, such as Microsoft Silverlight.

Q: Do I need to re-encode my existing Smooth Streaming content?
A: Not necessarily. IIS Media Services 4 will use existing IIS Smooth Streaming content encoded with the H.264 Baseline video codec (for example, content created with Expression Encoder 3) and deliver it in a format optimized for the Apple iPhone.

Q: How does PIFF content differ from Smooth Streaming content?
A:  There is no difference between PIFF (Protected Interoperable File Format) content and IIS Smooth Streaming content.  The PIFF specification simply describes the file format used for IIS Smooth Streaming content.

Q: Will this feature have support for both Live and On-Demand video streaming?
A: Yes, support for streaming to the Apple iPhone will be incorporated in IIS Smooth Streaming for both live and on-demand content.

Q: Does this mean that the Apple iPhone now has Microsoft Silverlight support?
A: No. We are using the native H.264 video playback capabilities of Apple iPhone to enable this feature, and are not putting additional code or interpretive runtimes on the device.

Q: When can I get it?
A: This new feature will be included in the upcoming IIS Media Services 4 release. Release timelines will be announced at a later date.

Q: What are IIS Smooth Streaming and IIS Media Services?
A: IIS Smooth Streaming is a new HTTP-based streaming technology that adapts video quality for each end user in near-real-time to match their local bandwidth and video rendering capabilities.  Because it uses HTTP, it scales massively across existing content delivery networks, and avoids common firewall issues.  IIS Smooth Streaming is one of the features in IIS Media Services, a set of media extensions for Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.x, the Web server role in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Q: Where can I learn more?
A: See the Web sites for IIS Media Services and Microsoft Silverlight.

Comments

Normally I encode content for Smooth Streaming using B-Frames and Cabac encoding. Would I have to disable these options when I want to target the iPhone platform next to Silverlight?

Dec 02 2009 by arjenw

"Scott Guthrie announced support for adaptive streaming to the iPhone" is different to "IIS Smooth Streaming with the Apple iPhone". The argenw's question is relevant since iPhone doesn't support VC-1 and probably all the toughest features from H264. Also you don't have the same heuristic behavior in the iPhone and the Silverlight Smooth Streaming component. What about PlayReady DRM and iPhone?

Dec 02 2009 by aldenml

If I have more questions what would be the best way to get them answered? I've tried the blog, the forum and the contact form, but get no response on any of them.

Dec 17 2009 by arjenw

@aklenml - Your point is well taken.  I've tweaked two of the FAQs to clearly call out the H.264 Baseline requirement.

@arjenw - Yes, you'd have to choose H.264 Baseline as the video codec, which automatically disables the B-Frame and CABAC options.

Feb 03 2010 by chriskno

@Anonymous - IIS Media Services 4, releasing later this year, will provide an iPhone adaptive streaming output from Smooth Streaming.

Feb 25 2010 by chriskno

IIS Media Services 4 was published on October 29th, with announcements going out on November 1st.  Please see http://www.iis.net/media to install it directly with Web Platform Installer, or visit one of the extension pages, such as www.iis.net/SmoothStreaming, to download the 32- and 64-bit installers.

Dec 11 2010 by chriskno

Hi.

 not sure if this is the right place to post questions, but I give it a try.

 according to this:

"Q: Do I need to re-encode my existing Smooth Streaming content?

A: Not necessarily. IIS Media Services 4 will use existing IIS Smooth Streaming content encoded with the H.264 Baseline video codec (for example, content created with Expression Encoder 3) and deliver it in a format optimized for the Apple iPhone."

is this still true for Vod content? if I understand correctly IIS MS4 only convert live streaming on the fly to Mpeg 2-TS appe http live format. but when it comes to Vod content, I will have to go through Transform Manager and convert the encoded smooth content to Mpeg 2-TS files.

is tehre anyway to deliver vod content to Iphone by converting the encodec smooth vod content on the fly like Live stream without having extra set of mpeg 2-ts files converted and stored on the server?

best ergards

Steve

Jan 10 2011 by robo_tec

Hi Steve,

IIS Media Services does not yet support on-the-fly conversion of on-demand Smooth Streaming files to the Apple HLS format.  It has been a popular feature request.  :-)  

For now, you are correct - you can use the IIS Transform Manager and the built-in On-Demand Smooth Streaming to MPEG-2 TS task to serve content to both Silverlight players and HLS devices.

-Chris

Jan 10 2011 by chriskno

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