The IIS Media team has been plugging away for many months at new server and client technologies, and we are ready to start sharing some of them today! The Beta of IIS Media Services 4.0, which allows you to encode once and deliver to three screens across multiple file formats and protocols, is now available for download and testing.
What's New in IIS Media Services 4.0 Beta?
First used in the 2008 Summer Olympics, IIS Smooth Streaming (part of IIS Media Services) has become the primary HTTP adaptive streaming technology for delivering content online. The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) and Netflix have both adopted the published Protected Interoperable File Format (PIFF) and Microsoft PlayReady for content protection. Broadcasters worldwide have used it to deliver live events such as Sunday Night Football, the UEFA Super Cup, the Tour de France, and the 2010 Winter Olympics.
We had a great response to the release of IIS Media Services 3.0 last year, and received lots of feedback about what features customers needed next. From that feedback, key themes for this beta release are iPhone support, content conversion, content creation, rich player options, and new live streaming features. Let's look at how we've delivered on those themes.
One Encoding Format, One Server, Many Devices – including iPhone
IIS Media Services now has a checkbox option to allow live adaptive streaming delivery to Apple devices. Using the same live H.264 streams you encode for Silverlight players running on PCs, Macs, Linux, Nokia S60 and Windows Phone 7 mobile devices, Broadcom and Intel set-top-boxes, IIS Media Services can now transmux those in real time to streams for iPad, iPod, and iPhone.
Easy Content Conversion
If you already have content created in one format and you want to use Smooth Streaming, we can help. The new IIS Transform Manager (available today as a version 1.0 Alpha release) provides a full set of features for automatically converting content for use with IIS Media Services. It includes batch encoding of on-demand videos, job scheduling, and job management. Using predefined Tasks, you specify how content should be processed as it appears in specified Watch Folders. Transform Manager comes with Sample Job Templates to make getting started easy, including transmuxing of H.264 video content into Apple-device-compatible adaptive streaming files. Today, Transform Manager relies on the just-released Expression Encoder 4, but it also comes with a Task API for partners who wish to integrate their own encoders with IIS Media Services.
Also available today is the IIS Smooth Streaming Format SDK 1.0 Beta 2. This SDK enables developers and encoding partners to easily create live and on-demand PIFF-compliant files and manifests for adaptive streaming, apply PlayReady DRM encryption, and then deliver that content with IIS Live Smooth Streaming. Since Beta 1, we have added several new capabilities – see John Deutscher's excellent blog post about this release for more details. In the meantime, download the free version of Expression Encoder 4, which includes support for creating on-demand IIS Smooth Streaming content using the VC-1 codec.
Rich Player Options
Earlier releases of IIS Smooth Streaming included a client component known as the Smooth Streaming Media Element, or SSME. Today, we are formalizing this technology in the release of the IIS Smooth Streaming Client 1.0, which gives the media player the intelligence to play back live and on-demand Smooth Streaming content while providing rich analytics and advertising capabilities. This SDK is already used in the Silverlight Media Framework, a proven code base used in many of the high-visibility Smooth Streaming events of the last year. For folks using a different player framework or having unique player scenarios, this SDK provides the tools to easily implement IIS Smooth Streaming.
New Live Smooth Streaming Features
How do you make the primary live adaptive streaming technology better? You make it do more, and with better performance. At a high level, this release of Live Smooth Streaming adds new controls for caching in server memory. It also adds new support for making use of encoder event IDs and metadata. Stay tuned for more about new Live Smooth Streaming capabilities, including Low-Latency streaming support
Coming Up Next…
Are you looking for a feature you do not see listed above? Let us know! But first, let me tell you about what will be coming in the next release:
- A multicast version of IIS Smooth Streaming
- A no-cost PlayReady DRM integration in IIS Media Services for simple "play once" scenarios
- New AES encryption and DVR features for Apple devices
- A scale-out model and PlayReady DRM integration for IIS Transform Manager
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