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Useful resources for Windows Azure Media Services

This blog provides some information and links to learn Windows Azure Media Services and I hope you found it useful.

If you are new to Windows Azure Media Services, here is how you could get started:

  • • Read the major features and scenarios through Windows Azure website
  • • .NET tutorial for getting started with Media services (link)
  • • Please ask questions on Windows Azure Media Services Forum (link)
  • • Pricing detail for Windows Azure Media Services (link)

Read more here

Using Windows Azure Media Services .NET SDK with key concepts explained

This blog explains the demo of using .NET SDK to complete a typical video-on-demand workflow – upload, encode, package and stream.

1. Create a C# console application through Visual Studio and install Nuget package: windowsazure.mediaservices.

2. I upload a little sample video file for you to use: And I put this video file under “C:\tr\“. Therefore, I suggest you create the same folder under your C drive so you don’t need to change input video file path.

3. Here are two config XML you are going to use as video presents: Smooth Streaming Config xml and Http-live-streaming config xml. Similarly, I put them under “C:\ty\”. Certainly, you could get this config from MSDN but since it is a very long string, it is easy to just read from a xml file. Read more here

Announcing Windows Azure Media Services .NET SDK Extensions Version 2.0

I am excited to announce that our Windows Azure Media services Extension SDK version 2.0 just released! If you were using the first version of extension SDK, please pay attention because this version includes a few breaking changes – we had a round of redesign for our existing extension APIs.

What is extension SDK?

This extension SDK is a great initiative by developer Mariano Conveti from our partner Southworks. This SDK extension library contains a set of extension methods and helpers for the Windows Azure Media Services SDK for .NET. You could get the source code from Github repository or install Nuget package to start using it. Read more here

Introducing Extensions for Windows Azure Media Services .NET SDK

I am excited to introduce this great open source project – Extensions for Windows Azure Media Services by Mariano Converti from Southworks. Microsoft has been working with Southworks for many projects and as mentioned by Mariano in his blog, the motivation for this project is that “I wanted to have it <SDK> available in a more consumable and reusable way instead of having to search/copy/paste/tweak the code every time.”

This SDK extension library contains a set of extension methods and helpers for the Windows Azure Media Services SDK for .NET. Here are some major functions such as: Read more here

Windows Azure Media Services in Build 2013 – DASH preview through Dynamic Packaging, Win 8 client update, Live Streaming and more

It has been over 8 months since the last Build was held in Seattle. I am preparing my Build presentation and started to realize how much progress our services made. Here is some major new features I want to share with you. As I promised, all code demo are available here for download:

Dynamic Packaging with MPEG-DASH live profile streaming support

What is Dynamic packaging?

This is a feature we shipped since Feb this year, which enables you to reuse your encoded video (Mp4 or Smooth streaming) to delivery multiple adaptive streaming formats such as Http-live-streaming or Smooth Streaming, by simply changing the streaming URL. Therefore, you no longer need to go through an intermediate step which packages video asset into various streaming format. And you save costs for storing them – you just need to store the encoded video once. Below it’s a diagram that demonstrates the concepts I described above. And I have a separate blog on dynamic packaging feature.

dynamic packagingMPEG-DASH streaming format is what we just added as one of the output streaming format for dynamic packaging feature.

Read More here

Announcing Windows Azure Media Services .NET SDK open source on Github

This morning we released Windows Azure Media Services .NET SDK as a full open source project(Apache 2 license) on Github. Meanwhile, there are some new features and capabilities along with this release. These new capabilities include:

  • • Storage 2.0 upgrade: we make our SDK compatible with storage SDK 2.0 now
  • Last version for storage 1.7: we released the last version of storage 1.7 with notification API but in the future, we will iterate on Storage 2.0 and above dependency
  • Notification APIs: adding encoding notification APIs enables you to monitor your encoding progress

Here is five simple steps for using Windows Azure Media Services .NET SDK on Github:  Read More Here

Demo – how to create HLS and Smooth Streaming assets using dynamic packaging

This blog post is a walk-through on how to create HLS and Smooth Streaming assets using dynamic packaging with Windows Azure Media Services (WAMS), by using .NET SDK.

What is dynamic packing?

Before talking about dynamic packing, we have to mention what’s the traditional way of doing things. If you want to delivery both Http Live Streaming and Smooth Streaming, you have to store both of them. Therefore, you stream HLS content to iOS devices and Smooth Streaming content to Windows 8 for instance. However, by using dynamic packing feature in WAMS, You only need to store a Mp4 file in your storage, and we dynamically packaging Mp4 file into HLS or Smooth Streaming based on your client request. If it needs HLS stream, we will package Mp4 into HLS on the fly, and serve out to your client. In this case, you no longer need to store a copy of smooth streaming and HLS, hence, we help you save storage cost by half at least. This diagram below demonstrates what I just described: Read more here

My Experience of NAB Show 2013

This is my first time attending NAB show and this year, it was held at Vegas Convention center from April 6th to 11th. My team (Windows Azure Media Services) shared Microsoft booth area with other products such as Surface, Office 365 and Big Data. While setting up the booth on Sunday before the even started, I took a walk in the convention center and I saw booth setups with gigantic broadcast TV screens, pro-grade camera control panel, multi-angle cameras, it felt like being in Hollywood studios or Big News TV channels. When I joined the Windows Azure Media Services a year ago,it was to work on cloud computing technologies and I never thought I will end up being associated to the broadcasting industry. NAB Show, makes this association very tangible for me now, during these 4 days in Vegas, I felt the excitement of being part of such massive and fast moving industry. Broadcast business has its magic, it captivates its audience, it’s an art that I have witnessed in Vegas. Read more here

Windows Azure Media Services Pricing Details

This blog is credited to Program Manager Anton Kucer in our Media services team. I learnt a lot pricing detail from a email conversation with him. If you choose to use Windows Azure Media Services, here is a detail explanation of what you will need to pay. Also, it provides some guidance on how you choose right amount of services such as # of reserved units. If you have more questions, please put your comments below and I will pick them up into Q&A section in this blog.

These are pricing details posted on official Windows Azure home page. Please read the official post first and if you still have questions, read this blog which is my best effort for explaining pricing. As said, if you choose to go through general media workflow (encoding your content and host them for streaming purpose), you will incur 4 types of costs. Read More Here

Breaking changes for Windows Azure Media Services .NET SDK GA

On Dec 14th 2012, we update our .NET SDK to and you could download the latest SDK here. And starting from yesterday (Jan 14th, 2013), we drop the support for older version of .NET SDK, which we released in Preview. In another word, our server no longer recognizes some of your old APIs. If you find your older version of .NET SDK no longer works, don’t panic! Please read through this blog and see whether you could fix the code. 

If you still can’t find a clue, please bring your question to Windows Azure Media Services Forum and we will try our best to help you. Read more here

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