HTTP Dynamic Streaming

GravityLab is pleased to offer HTTP Dynamic Streaming for all accounts. This is a technical reference and FAQ to this streaming video hosting announcement.

What is HTTP Dynamic Streaming?

HTTP Dynamic Streaming enables high-quality (H.264 or VP6), network-efficient HTTP streaming for media delivery that is tightly integrated with Adobe® Flash® Access® software for robust content protection in the Flash Adobe Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe AIR® 2 runtimes. This open format solution allows online publishers to leverage existing network and cache infrastructures to efficiently deliver media content to the Adobe Flash Platform. Flash Media Server will continue to be a great option for streaming, multiway communication, as well as advanced interactive experiences such as quick start times and quick seeking. Like Flash Media Server 4, HTTP Dynamic Streaming will support quality of service (QoS) monitoring, adaptive bitrate streaming, and DVR functionality. The HTTP Dynamic Streaming workflow will include content preparation tools, fragmented MP4 files that are HTTP cache‐friendly, a playback framework (Open Source Media Framework, or OSMF), and options for protected streaming powered by Flash Access, continuing to make the Adobe Flash Platform the choice for reliable delivery of protected, high-quality playback experiences.

What is the difference between HTTP Dynamic Streaming and regular progressive download over HTTP?

HTTP Dynamic Streaming utilizes the same HTTP server technology used to delivery progressive downloaded video. The new technology is different because it adds:

  • Multibitrate support — ability to shift quality depending on bandwidth and computer power. HTTP progressive delivery consumes more bandwidth because it’s not intelligent enough to throttle the delivery (for example, a 30-minute video will be fully downloaded whether the user watches it or not).
  • Seeking within the video — ability to move around within a long-format video without downloading it first
  • Bandwidth control — ability to manage download bandwidth to not disrupt other applications
  • Support for live streaming with DVR and real-time protection

To deliver a streaming experience over HTTP, media assets need to go through a fragmentation process that can also apply DRM protection (called fragmenting).

Will the viewing experience be different for end users?

No — unless they’re in a location outside the reach of Flash Media Server, or behind a firewall that doesn’t allow RTMP delivery, then they should receive a significantly improved experience. Multibitrate switching will respond just as it does with Dynamic Streaming on Flash Media Server (triggered by expected frame rate and/or bandwidth changes (good or bad).

Will the workflow be different for video on demand publishers/content owners?

A new file format is required (F4F). This new file format is based on the standards-based MP4 fragment format. Re-encoding is required only for adaptive bit-rate experiences where key frames are not aligned. Recorded content delivered with HTTP Dynamic Streaming will need to go through a new packaging and protection process.

Who will use HTTP Dynamic Streaming?

HTTP Dynamic Streaming is designed for online publishers that deliver to large audiences requiring high capacity and scalability to meet traffic peaks or those customers with high-quality video leveraging the benefits and reach of the Adobe Flash Platform.

Why would I consider HTTP Dynamic Streaming?

HTTP Dynamic Streaming expands the capacity available to media publishers because content delivery networks (CDNs) can leverage more of their network to bring the content closer to the end user, which will help reduce disruptions due to network performance. HTTP delivery also enables content to be cached outside the CDN, helping to reduce delivery costs.

What are the key benefits of HTTP Dynamic Streaming?

GravityLab Multimedia provides a full-featured HTTP delivery solution with the greatest reach of any media delivery platform.

  • Reach — GravityLab CDN is a cross platform universal distribution vehicle that delivers breakthrough online experiences to over 99% of Internet users.
  • Open standards — HTTP Dynamic Streaming is built on standards and deployed using standard HTTP servers (Apache), standard media format (MP4 fragment) using standard codecs (H.264/AAC), open APIs (Flash Player), and an open source framework for building media players (OSMF). The file format will also be published, enabling advanced use cases of the format.
  • Live publishing options — HTTP Dynamic Streaming supports a separate process for packaging and protecting live content — allowing any RTMP stream to be easily converted to a file format that can be delivered through HTTP.
  • Interactivity — On the Flash Platform, media delivery can be synchronized with real-time interactivity and robust logging, all within the same application, Flash Player is also used by over 70 percent of web games, making it easy add even more social and interactive experiences to media.
  • Content protection — With Flash Access support in Flash Player 10.1, Adobe can offer a robust, protected solution for content delivery and monetization.

Does HTTP Dynamic Streaming support HD video?

Yes, you can deliver video up to 1080p to the Adobe Flash Platform. HD video can be delivered with bitrates from 700kbps up to and beyond 6Mbps. Like other Flash Player supported delivery methods, HTTP Dynamic Streaming supports H.264 video and VP6 codecs required for the highest quality video on the platform.

How can I get started?

The VOD File Packager is available as a free download. To download the tools, click here.

Take a look at our video hosting plans that feature HTTP Dynamic Streaming.