Previously, we covered the differences between unicast and multicast video, but what about over the top (OTT) services and television broadcasters? These video programs are served over the public internet, so unicast delivery is the only option. We often hear about the changing video player landscape as there are periodic calls to the end of Flash as HTML5 usage increases. The problem with ending support for Flash is that currently HTML5 video players only support unicast playback. This points to the fact that HTML5 players are not ready for universal adoption, even though many news sites and streaming providers would have you believe it’s a silver bullet to everyone’s streaming challenges. This is just not the case, not yet anyway.
Taking this a step further, both Microsoft and Google have signaled that it’s time to change how video players are constructed. Google announced in 2014 it would end plugin support in Chrome 45 for a legacy browser plugin that many video players rely upon. In doing so, users of Chrome are left with either a special version of Flash or HTML5 video. This works great for YouTube, but corporate video streaming is different and multicast matters to internal video streaming.
Interestingly, Microsoft has also ended support for their own streaming products: Windows Media Servers and Silverlight. The Silverlight video player is Microsoft’s solution for multicast video playback from Windows Media Servers. Their new Edge browser delivered with Windows 10 has no support for the same plugin that Chrome deprecated, effectively rendering their Silverlight player useless going forward. Edge and Windows 10 are a long way from the adoption levels of Windows 7, but it shows that Microsoft is more concerned with internet delivery (read: unicast) and that corporate use of multicast is not their top priority. Microsoft has made a big investment in Azure Media Services, but corporate customers are largely left in the dark. On-premise, internal streaming is absolutely critical to effective live streaming webcast events. With Internet Explorer now on life support, it will be a hassle to ask employees to switch web browsers for one hour a few times a year. We all know that ease of use is paramount to user adoption.
For this reason, VBrick was excited to announce our support for Adobe’s Flash Multicast protocol. This is important to our customers for a variety of reasons, but one of the most important is that the Flash player is already installed on nearly everyone’s desktop computers. While Microsoft and Google may be driving users towards HTML5 video, their continued support for the Flash player highlights the importance of having a Flash option to successful video streaming.
One of the reasons VBrick has been successful in enabling large-scale, live webcast events is that we are able to successfully deliver video behind the firewall using a proprietary device, our Distributed Media Engine (DME). We have partnered with Adobe to deliver a solution that integrates the Flash multicast protocol directly into our streaming solution. This means our customers are not required to purchase and integrate an Adobe Media Server. Furthermore, users do not need to install a third party service to enable multicast delivery since Flash is already installed on the overwhelming majority of personal computers worldwide. VBrick is now even better positioned to deliver high definition video behind the firewall for the foreseeable future.
Flash multicast is available with our next software release in September for both our Rev enterprise video platform and our DME. Flash multicast is a great solution for the changing video streaming environment. We’re thrilled to be working with Adobe so we can continue to offer our enterprise, education and public sector customers a true multicast experience for efficient video streaming and to enable every executive to address their workforce with high-quality, efficient streaming video.
About Brian and VBrick Systems
Brian is the Director of Product Management at VBrick Systems – the pioneer in next generation enterprise video through its Rev® cloud-native platform. By converting video into bandwidth-efficient streams, Rev allows organizations to use their own networks to securely share video with thousands of online viewers, centrally integrate unified communications and other video sources, and deliver consumer-grade experience for employees.