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.

What is MPEG-DASH and why it is significant?

MPEG-DASH is the first adaptive bit-rate HTTP-based streaming solution that is an international standard (ISO/IEC 23009-1). Before DASH, there are three major vendor-centric streaming formats: Microsoft’s smooth streaming(SS), Apple’s Http-Live-Streaming(HLS) and Adobe’s Http Dynamic Streaming (HDS). And these streaming formats are usually preferred on certain platform, for e.g Apple supports HLS playback in Safari and iOS devices. However, this formats fragmentation increases cost for content providers since they have to encode videos into multiple formats in order to deliver them into multiple platforms.

Therefore, DASH as a standard becomes significant for video streaming industry. All streaming sever or cloud providers could start to delivery content in DASH format. And for client side, W3C also introduced two important extension APIs for HTML5: Media Source Extension (MSE) APIs (to enable DASH playback) and Encrypted Media Extension (EME) APIs (to enable DRM License Acquisition). Moreover, there is a JavaScript library called DASH.JS implemented these interface which enables DASH playback in HTML5. Therefore, DASH is very likely to become a cross-platform, cross-browser video streaming solution in the future, if everyone starts to converge to standard.

Therefore, we are thrilled to announce that we the implementation of MPEG DASH comes to Windows Azure via Dynamic Packaging feature. This is available now for you to take for a test drive.  While the DASH feature is technically only at “preview” quality, you can access it from your on-demand streaming Origin server in Media Services. Our PM John Deutscher wrote a step-by-step blog to produce DASH content, please check out if you want to give it a try.

Windows 8 player framework and Client SDK adding support for MPEG-DASH

Our Windows 8 client is also adding support for MPEG-DASH. By using Microsoft Player Framework, you will be able to build a native store application in either HTML5 or XAML to enable DASH playback with DRM support. This is a sample application our lead developer Tim Greenfield has built as a demo of DASH playback. You could download it here:

DASH Playback

Live Streaming features and a sneak peek

I talked about Live streaming features and workflow in this presentation, BUT THE FEATURE IS NOT IN PREVIEW YET. So you won’t be able to get APIs and service to play with it yet. However, the feature is truly just around the corner. We will take Smooth Streaming as Ingest input and enable live streaming over public cloud. We will deploy live streaming all over the globe and you can scale up, scale down as time as you want. Please refer to the presentation video if you want to know more about live streaming features. Below is a snapshot of my live streaming demo remote with Redmond and you can catch that at 38:00 of my presentation video. Enjoy!


This is the presentation slide:

And you could catch the presentation video here:

3 Responses to Windows Azure Media Services in Build 2013 – DASH preview through Dynamic Packaging, Win 8 client update, Live Streaming and more
  1. [...] and HLS URL. Lastly, download the encoding output into local drive. This is a sample of using our dynami...
  2. [...] Azure Media Services: DASH through Dynamic Packaging, Win 8 client update (link) [...]...

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