At the IBC trade show in Amsterdam today, Adobe announced version 4.5 of its Flash Media Server and Flash Access 3.0. The $4,500 media server will stream video to Flash-enabled devices, and also to Flash-less iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad. The transcoding is done on the server's end and is streamed to the iOS device using HTTP live streaming. The server product comes in four flavors for various deployment sizes, including a version built to run on the Amazon Web Services cloud platform.
Adobe's move isn't a surprise. During the National Association of Broadcasters' trade show in April, the company revealed its plans to include HTTP live streaming in the Flash Media Server, which in turn enables the iOS support. Don't be confused, however: these server products don't add up to "Flash is coming to iOS!" as some headlines would have it. They stream video, but they don't permit Flash animations, games or other interactive content to work in Mobile Safari.
As Kelly Hodgkins wrote in April, HTTP live streaming is an HTTP-based media streaming protocol developed by Apple. It uses H.264 video and AAC or MP3 audio to deliver its media stream. The protocol is supported by QuickTime on Mac OS X and is compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
At the time, this was seen as a win on Apple's part in the Flash vs. HTML 5 war. Adobe knows full well that even though Steve Jobs is no longer at the helm, it doesn't mean Apple will suddenly become Flash-friendly.
In principle, streams delivered by the new 4.5 servers should be viewable in Mobile Safari, although they can also be integrated directly into iOS apps. It'll be interesting to see whether or not the big video players (Hulu, ABC, HBO) decide to simplify their back-end environments for iOS streaming with Adobe's offerings.
The full press release can be read below.
New Ways to Deliver and Protect High-Quality Video Online and On-device Simplify Streaming Media and Content Protection for Superior Video Experiences Across Desktops and Devices Including iOS, Android and Playbook
September 08, 2011 10:12 AM Eastern Daylight Time
SAN JOSE, Calif. & AMSTERDAM--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced at the IBC 2011 Conference and Exhibition significant new releases of industry-leading streaming video solutions, including Adobe® Flash® Media Server 4.5 and Flash Access® 3.0 software. With Flash Media Server 4.5, media publishers can extend their already broad mobile reach via Flash-enabled devices, with the new ability to deliver video content to Apple's iPad and iPhone devices, enabling them to reach the widest audience possible. Adobe Flash Access 3.0, a robust content protection and monetization solution, will enable content owners to deliver on-demand content with massive scale and strict studio-level security across a broad range of devices, following the upcoming release of Flash Player 11 and Adobe AIR® 3.
At the IBC 2011 Exhibition, Adobe will demonstrate its streaming video solutions including the Flash Media Server family, Flash Access, the Open Source Media Framework (OSMF) and Adobe Pass, Adobe's content authentication solution for TV Everywhere, at its stand (Hall 7 Stand 7.G27) in the RAI Convention Center, Sept. 9-13 in Amsterdam.
"Adobe has a deep heritage in providing video solutions for delivering content online and on-device. With Flash Media Server 4.5 and Flash Access 3.0, we're enabling businesses to reach more customers and more devices, helping them increase the impact of video experiences, enhance their brands and ultimately, drive business success," said Pritham Shetty, vice president, Video Solutions, Adobe.
"When your business is based on delivering live, broadcast-quality video streams for high-profile events to massive audiences across the world, having strong technology backing you is vital," said Ben Rolling, vice president of development for AEG Digital Media, the leading provider of complete webcast management and media services for live streaming events and online video. "Adobe Flash Media Server 4.5 improves the stability of our video streams, decreases load times, and helps us better manage encoding and bitrates for an improved end-user experience on mobile devices and online. We can trust that it will deliver rock solid video streams and please our clients, advertisers and viewers, whether we're streaming the royal wedding or the Grammy Awards."
Premium Video Streaming with Flash Media Server 4.5
Flash Media Server 4.5 expands on its mobile delivery options with the addition of iOS support and enables content owners to create HTTP content on the fly to reduce costs brought on by device proliferation. New features of Flash Media Server 4.5:
Delivery to iPad and iPhone enables businesses to use the same media and live streams to deliver full adaptive bit-rate experiences to platforms supporting Flash, as well as Apple devices, including iPad and iPhone.
Integrated Content Protection simplifies deployment and reduces infrastructure cost, enabling seamless streaming for advertising-funded online video.
On-demand Stream Packaging eliminates the need to prepare and protect assets ahead of time, reducing complexity and storage costs and simplifying publishing for businesses so they can use one set of source video to reach multiple downstream devices.
Premium Video Monetization and Content Protection with Flash Access 3.0
Flash Access 3.0 builds on Adobe's strong traction in video delivery by extending support to reach mobile devices. This allows content providers to securely deliver and monetize content with a single back-end workflow, delivering rich, engaging experiences on desktop, connected TVs, Blu-ray players, tablets and smartphones. New features of Flash Access 3.0:
Support on Mobile Devices will include Android tablets and smartphones, as well as other mobile devices, allowing video programmers to leverage the same content delivery, protection and monetization infrastructure to target mobile devices, following the upcoming release of Adobe Flash Player 11 and Adobe AIR 3 (set to be available later this quarter).
Scalable License Delivery and in-band Key Rotation enables Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs) and programmers to offer television experiences over IP, whether over the open Internet or on a managed network, at massive scale. With Flash Access 3.0, it is now possible to securely deliver multiple TV "channels" to millions of subscribers with a cost-effective premium content protection solution.
Compatibility with Industry Standards including UltraViolet, an industry-standard, cloud-based digital rights locker system that will allow consumers to create personal virtual video libraries and access them across multiple devices. Flash Access has been approved for use with UltraViolet, set to be released this fall. Flash Access 3.0 and the upcoming versions of Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 will be able to be leveraged by content retailers, service providers and device manufacturers to create full UltraViolet experiences, including playback for the UVVU Common File Format.
Pricing and Availability
Adobe Flash Access 3.0 is offered at per unit CPM pricing. Adobe Flash Media Streaming Server 4.5 is offered at US$995. Adobe Flash Media Interactive Server 4.5 is offered at US$4,500. Adobe Flash Media Enterprise Server 4.5 pricing can be quoted by contacting Adobe. Products can be ordered today at www.adobe.com/go/fms and are available immediately.
About Adobe Systems Incorporated
Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. For more information, visit www.adobe.com.
© 2011 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Adobe, the Adobe logo, Flash, Access, and AIR are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries. Apple, iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Android is a trademark of Google Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.