Adobe's solution for streaming media has just received an update with the release of Flash Media Server 4.5, which packs in a number of new features and enhancements.
One of the major new features to come in this release is support for Apple iOS based devices such as the iPad, and iPhone. These devices use the same video encoding format (H.264) as Flash Player does, and now Flash Media Server supports reaching both users running the Flash Player and Apple iOS from the same video source.
This release is focused on improving HTTP Streaming support, and as such a number of improvements in the application are in that area. HTTP Dynamic streaming is being improved and is now a capable alternative to Adobe's own RTMP for streaming video.
A new Protected HTTP Dynamic Streaming (PHDS) feature has now been added that can provide Flash Access DRM-protected content via HTTP. Furthermore the licence for the video file being streamed is part of the video files itself. Protected playback is also possible for Apple iOS devices (with the possibility to bind playback only to iOS devices) as support for Apple's encryption scheme has been added.
Another feature for protecting playback of video is in the form of SWF Verification, which now works with HTTP streaming. This feature includes the signature of the SWF file, which is intended to play back the video being streamed, in the encryption so that only those SWFs can play back the video.
Other key new features in this release are:
- HTTP Media Origin services for Flash and Apple iOS streaming - Live and on-demand streams to both Flash-enabled and Apple iOS devices through standard HTTP caching and network infrastructures using the integrated HTTP server as an Origin service.
- Protected Flash HTTP Dynamic Streaming - Easily protect live or on demand video with scalable encryption and SWF verification providing protection across multiple screens supporting Adobe Flash or AIR.
- Multicast Ingest - Replicate live video more efficiently within your network. Multicast Ingest enables Flash Media Server to consume, record and republish multicast streams to additional multicast networks - or drop down to unicast, HTTP Dynamic Streaming or even HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) for Apple devices.
- Scalable and robust peer to peer server deployment - New capabilities to improve the robustness and resiliency of applications using peer assisted networking with distributed RTMFP introductions. This new functionality enables multiple servers to work together to facilitate large or distributed peer groups for high-volume streaming and interactive applications.
- IP Multicast Improvements - New support for Source Specific Multicast (SSM) reduces demand on network resources by giving Flash Media Server the ability to generate and consume both SSM and Any Source Multicast (ASM), enabling stream replication, server side recording, or rebroadcast over separate multicast channels or RTMFP groups. SSM support.
- More secure multiprotocol streaming - Choose to deliver live and on-demand streams using the industry-standard HTTP protocol with HTTP Dynamic Streaming support, industry-standard RTMP/RTMPE, or the new RTMFP for real-time, ultralow latency communication with SWF file verification support to add even more protection. Now deliver to Apple devices with new Apple HTTP Streaming support, with optional AES128 encryption.
- Simplified player development - Easily implement the latest player features such as HTTP Dynamic Streaming, multicast streaming, Flash Access protection, RTMP Dynamic Streaming, and DVR functionality with a choice of prebuilt player (Strobe Media Playback), a hosted player (Adobe Flash Media Playback), or the OSMF.
Flash Media Server comes in a number of different editions with different feature sets. The Flash Media Development Server is a free product that can be used for evaluating the product before purchasing; it is come with a connection limitation etc. but is not time-limited. You can find out more about Flash Media Server, and download the developer version for Linux or Windows from the Adobe website.