I’ve seen the future and the future is… Smooth!

Posted: Oct 28, 2008  21 comments  

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Now playing at SmoothHD.com – a preview of video delivery using IIS Smooth Streaming.

Announced this morning in a joint press release by Microsoft and Akamai, IIS Smooth Streaming enables video delivery at the best quality each viewer’s network and hardware will allow. Smooth Streaming builds on the Adaptive Streaming technology developed, tested, and proven by Microsoft in delivering the 2008 Beijing Olympics to the Web.  By using standard HTTP requests and responses instead of proprietary streaming protocols requiring proprietary edge servers, IIS is able to offer tremendous cost savings and scalability advantages relative to competing solutions.  Finally, IIS simplifies management on the server by minimizing the number of files required.

We’ve put a great deal of work into getting this technology right, so I would encourage you to go to SmoothHD.com, try the experience for yourself, and tell us what you think! So let’s take a look at what IIS Smooth Streaming means…

From a Technical Perspective

Smooth Streaming is a new IIS 7.0 extension that delivers fragments of media content designed for Silverlight-based players, powering the same great Adaptive Streaming user experience seen throughout the NBC Olympics. The upcoming release of Expression Encoder 2 Service Pack 1 (SP1) is used to encode media at a spectrum of bit rates, and publish it directly to the IIS server. The player requests fragments from IIS by using RESTful URLs like…
http://SmoothHD.com/Media.ism/QualityLevels(1024000)/Fragments(video=20000000)
and the IIS server efficiently locates and delivers the corresponding media fragment to the player. Previous iterations of the technology provided a great user experience but proved difficult to manage. IIS greatly simplifies management by reducing the number of files on disk by several orders of magnitude without compromising the quality of playback.

From a Content Delivery Perspective

IIS Smooth Streaming provides industry-leading Total Cost of Ownership by using standard HTTP requests and responses. This allows it to align naturally with existing HTTP delivery and scale-out infrastructures as requests and responses can be proxied and cached by existing edge servers and HTTP appliances. Unlike competing streaming solutions, delivering Smooth Streaming to clients does not require investing in deploying, configuring, and managing a swarm of proprietary distribution servers. IIS Smooth Streaming was created with scalability and HTTP cacheability as first-class design goals, to help our customers minimize the cost per megabyte delivered.

From a Content Producer’s Perspective

Customers will be able to use a new encoding option in Expression Encoder 2 SP1 to author media content ready for Smooth Streaming. Expression Encoder 2 will also include a plug-in that allows customers to publish the media directly to IIS server with a single click, and Akamai has announced plans for a similar plug-in that allows users to publish content directly to the Akamai network. Expression Encoder also allows customer to apply templates that provide both visual styles and Silverlight heuristics algorithms that power the user experience. In short, the products work together to make authoring the content and delivering it to viewers easy and accessible to everyone.

From a Developer’s Perspective

Silverlight and Expression Encoder give developers the power to tune the end-user playback experience for their target audience, and to integrate Smooth Streaming playback into their Silverlight applications. Akamai’s Open Video Player initiative will also made it easy for developers to integrate Smooth Streaming video delivery with value-added services such as advertising and analytics.

Once again, please try the technology for yourself at SmoothHD.com, and also by checking out Expression Encoder 2 SP1 when it becomes available. We’d love to hear what your experience is, and how we can make it better.

--John A. Bocharov

Program Manager, IIS Smooth Streaming

Comments

how is this different from movenetworks.com technology? I thought you guys were an investor in movenetworks...

Oct 29 2008 by Anonymous

It is a competing offering to Move Networks. Microsoft invested in Move as a way to get Move to distribute Silverlight to a bunch of big name media companies who have wide reach.

Microsoft will compete with companies they invest in. Actually, this whole situation is a lot like what happened with RealNetworks and Microsoft. Microsoft invested in Real, licensed Real's technology, and then killed Real.

Still, it is pretty good technology. Move must have known what they were getting into. One can argue that this type of technology really belongs at the OS/networking layer anyway and companies like Move should really focus on the application layer of managing video like BrightCove and Delve Networks.

Oct 29 2008 by Anonymous

How does this compare to MBR for WMV files. I appreciate the simplicity and broad penetrations and accessibility of serving media over http, and glad to see byte offset requests for pseudo-streaming, but where does this leave the MBR files one has created for our Windows Media Service 9 environments?

Oct 31 2008 by Anonymous

Uhmm, well, it won't work in Linux, so going to SmoothHD.com was a waste of time for me. Perhaps you could snag it and youtube it.

1d10t_too

Feb 07 2009 by Anonymous

salut , je travaille avec le smooth streaming media ,mais ya rien qui affiche au niveau de ma page web

est que vos poouvez m'aider.

je travaille avec:

vs 08 et silverlight 3.0, encoder exp 3.0

server iis 7.0

Apr 23 2010 by khaled75

Is this project still running?  We are undertaking a large project and I don't want to bet the world on a dead horse.  

Are there any Javascript/Flash/HTML5 players available for this?

Have anyone managed to get SmoothStreaming to work with JW Player? Doesn't seem to support streaming?

Is there anything still happening with IIS Smooth Streaming or is the project dead?

Aug 31 2011 by Johannds

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