CAMBRIDGE, MA--Akamai Technologies announced support for Adobe Flash Media Server 3.5 on the Akamai streaming network, adding dynamic streaming and other key enhancements to its Flash streaming capabilities. These features are designed to allow publishers and content owners to deliver significantly higher quality video experiences and embrace long-form content distribution, as more consumers are watching online video offered in higher quality when given a choice.
Dynamic streaming is a new feature in Adobe Flash Media Server 3.5 that seamlessly switches between different quality versions of a single video stream to deliver the optimal viewing experience for the consumer. The new dynamic streaming capabilities will allow Flash-based video players to dynamically shift to end-user machines with different capabilities, such as lower processing power, or slower Internet connections. This solution enables delivery of a true High Definition (HD) Internet experience for users whose local environments can support it, while offering a dynamic, buffer-free experience that delivers the best picture quality possible when conditions are less than ideal. These breakthroughs improve the quality of video delivered over the Web and offer richer interactive experiences for users, encouraging viewers to spend more time online and enabling publishers to more effectively monetize content. Akamai's unique combination of technology and network scale, with the largest streaming network capacity in the world for the Adobe Flash Platform, is designed to enable global consumers a consistently high-quality video experience.
Akamai recently worked with IDC Research on a whitepaper that outlines the HD video online tipping point. One of the key findings in the whitepaper is that it is imperative for publishers to introduce variable bit rate streaming in order to ensure an optimal experience for users. Content owners and publishers noted in the report that when video is offered in HD, they see user retention time and time spent per user on a site increase, allowing for more monetization opportunities. Effectively, variable bit rates create custom video experiences that allow publishers to reach the widest possible audience with HD without degrading delivery quality for users who access the Internet through slower broadband connections.
“Video quality is emerging as a competitive battleground for online publishers and a variable bit rate streaming solution is critical to help them navigate the diverse terrain of the Internet to deliver on the promise of High Definition video online,” said Tim Napoleon, chief strategist for Digital Media at Akamai. “Media companies have increasingly turned to Akamai for support as they look to create premium experiences around their valuable online assets. Uninterrupted HD video over a standard Internet connection is a key piece of those experiences. HD video online is at its tipping point and a mission critical element for media companies to stay competitive and open up new revenue streams.”
“EPIX has the unique advantage of partnering with three of the leading Hollywood studios which gives us exclusive access to their blockbuster movies, original series and special events programming on-air and online,” said Emil Rensing, Chief Digital Officer, EPIX. “The EPIX approach of providing commercial free, uninterrupted current Hollywood movies in HD, will set a new online content bar. Akamai's dynamic streaming solution enables us to be one of the first to provide the accessibility, HD quality and convenience which today's digital consumers demand. We're excited to partner with a company who is delivering tomorrow's technology today, which ensures that our online experience will be the best for consumers, studios and our distribution partners.”
“We are pleased to see Akamai’s commitment to providing customers with the state-of-the-art online video solutions,” said Bill Rusitzky, senior director of global media alliances for Adobe. “Akamai’s adoption of Adobe Flash Media Server 3.5 will provide the best possible user experience for their audiences worldwide.”
Akamai and Adobe have a Web site that demonstrates the new dynamic streaming technology at http://www.streamflashhd.com/. The solution is expected to be commercially available by the end of the second quarter of 2009.