DEMO Windows Azure Media Services – how to convert .mp4 to smooth streaming format

This blog will walk-through how you could access Windows Azure Media Services programmatically, and convert a .MP4 file into Smooth Streaming format. Before getting started, you should have the following items prepared:

    • • Create a Media Services account in a new or existing Windows Azure subscription. If you don’t have one, you could check out my blog Getting started with Windows Azure Media Services.
    • • Windows Azure SDK 1.6 (November 2011): [link]
    • • Windows Azure Media Services SDK (June 2012 Preview): [link]
    • • WCF Data Services 5.0 for OData V3: [link]
    • • Visual Studio 2010 SP1 and .NET framework 3.5 SP1 and 4

Now, after installing all these, we could start coding. And you could download the finished code in case you couldn’t follow.

  • 1. Create a console application in Visual Studio, fill in Name, location and click on OK.
  • 2. Import all the references into your application:
  • (1) You will need Windows Azure SDK from the following path C:\Program Files\Windows Azure SDK\v1.6\bin\
    • • Microsoft.WindowsAzure.StorageClient.dll
  • (2) And you will need WCF Data Services from C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft WCF Data Services\5.0\bin\.NETFramework\
    • • Microsoft.Data.Edm.dll
    • • Microsoft.Data.OData.dll
    • • Microsoft.Data.Services.Client.dll
    • • Microsoft.Data.Services.dll
    • • System.Spatial.dll
  • (3) Add Reference under .NET tab for
    • • System.configuration
  • (4) Add Media Service SDK from C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows Azure Media Services\Services SDK\v1.0\
    • • Microsoft.WindowsAzure.MediaServices.Client.dll

3. Adding namespace in Program.cs file: using Microsoft.WindowsAzure.MediaSerivces.Client;

4. Prepare account name and account key to be used to connect to media services later. You should have the following code in program.cs file.

You will need to substitute accName and accKey with what you seen in your portal (Manage Keys section). If you couldn’t find it, please refer to the last step of my another blog.

5. Connect to Windows Azure Media Services using CloudMediaContext by adding in another parameter under accKey.

Connect to media services inside Main method. After doing this, you could put a break line on the code blow and press F5 to compile this file. If you see mediaContext gets returned successfully, it means you have connected to Azure Media Services. Congrats!

6. Now we will need to upload asset from input folder onto the cloud. Currently, we only support uploading asset from a local folder. We will adding support for uploading asset from a URL in the future.

Add in a name space called System.IO;

Add in two more global variables called inputPath and outputPath. inputPath indicates where you put your .MP4 file. For instance, if you put .Mp4 file into C:\input, your inputPath will be “C:\input\demo.mp4”, which points to the file. And outputPath is used to contain files you wish to download later after the encoding. If you don’t want to download any encoded files, you could skip this. Here is a sample .Mp4 file you could use. Below is the sample for my file path:

7. Now we could create an asset from the inputPath you just defined. By adding the following line inside Main Method.

8. The next step is to encode the asset. We will create a method called CreateEncodingJob with the following signature.

9. Create a Job to encode your asset and get a Media processor. For our demo, we are going to encode Mp4 into Smooth Streaming format, so we will use MP4 to Smooth Streams Task. There are many other types of processors and you could read more on MSDN.

Here, we query processor based on String name using LINQ. And you could see the name we use here is “MP4 to Smooth Streams Task”.

10. You will also need a configuration file for Mp4 to Smooth Streams Task. This could be obtained here: Task Preset for MP4 to Smooth Streams Conversion. And Save the preset file locally and then load it into configuration data when you create a task. To save your time, I have upload the file here and you could put it into the same folder as input folder.

Add in a global variable configFilePath under outputPath:

11. Adding a string configuration file to get a string format representation of the configuration XML you just used, inside CreateEncodingJob method as the following and create a task based on all parameters we just created.

12. Lastly, specify InputMediaAsset and OutputMediaAsset in the task and submit your job for processing. The whole method should look like this:

13. We will need to call CreateEncodingJob from Main method in order to use this method:

14. We will also want to track job process after the job getting submitted. You could add the following code after job.submit() in CreateEncodingJob Method.

And add the CheckJobProgress method in program.cs file. This method basiclaly keeps tracking the job progress, whether its queue, scheduled or getting processed.

15. Lastly, we will get the streaming URL for the asset we just converted. For nimbus, we provide two types of URL: one is called SAS URL, which shows where your media file physically stored, and the other is called Origin URL, which represents where you could stream video from. You could either download assets from SAS URL and streaming it from your own server, or leverage on the power of cloud computing to stream video from Origin URL.

Adding the following code into CreateEncodingJob method after CheckJobProgress method. It should be like this:

And here is the code for get updated Job reference by Job ID:

16. Adding GetStreamingOriginLocator method in program.cs.

17. Lastly, adding WriteToFile method in program.cs in order to capture the streaming url in a text file format. So we could use it to stream video later on.

18. Then press F5 and run this project. If you couldn’t follow, you could download the project here. And remember to prepare the following:

  • • Put wldemo.mp4 and MP4 to Smooth Streams.xml these two files into C:\tr\input folder
  • • Create a output folder under C:\tr so that you will have C:\tr\output. 
  • • Substitute accKey and accName from the beginning of the file and you could check them in your media service windows azure portal. Here is the blog to help you find it (scroll to the last step). 

19. After running it, you could see a StreamingUrl.txt file inside of the output folder. You will get a url ends with /manifest. If you have a existing Smooth Streaming player, you could use it to test. Otherwise, we have a free player hosted in the cloud to help you test: If you have questions on how to use it, you could check my blog here.

This is the print screen of my working demo:

2 Responses to DEMO Windows Azure Media Services – how to convert .mp4 to smooth streaming format
  1. [...] If you want to check more on how to use Windows Azure using .NET SDK, check out my other blog here. If y...
  2. [...] (Remember to replace the accKey and accName inside the file.) Detail explanation through my other blog...

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