Adobe Demonstrates Flash Media Server 3, Adobe Media Player, and Cisco Integration at IBC

With the advent of the Moviestar Flash Media Player, which was released in beta in late August, Adobe now supports multiple video formats: H.264 and AAC Plus, in addition to Sorenson Spark and On2’s VP6 (FlashVideo and FlashVideo 8, respectively). But while according to one Adobe engineer’s blog, files created by the new codecs can be played directly from a website without the need for Flash Media Server, Adobe needed a way to provide true streaming of the content its new version of Flash CS3 was capable of creating. On a recent phone briefing, Adobe created a compelling case for the new server.

"Flash Media Server 3 will be twice as efficient as the current version of Flash Media Server," said Jim Guerard, VP and general manager of Adobe’s Dynamic Media division. "Our customers are continually asking for ways to improve server stream ratios, and we’re helping to meet the challenge by continuing to optimize the server."

While Guerard wouldn’t detail pricing on the new server, when asked by another reporter if twice the performance meant twice the price, he did point out that Adobe is looking to drive total cost of ownership (TCO) down for its customers—something that’s always been considered Flash Media Server’s Achilles’ heel.

"When the Flash Media Server 3 is released to our CDN partners in late fourth quarter, they’ll see a dramatic drop in TCO," said Guerard. "We expect the same thing for the end user, when we ship Flash Media Server 3 to them in first quarter of 2008."

Guerard also pointed out several other benefits of the upcoming Flash Media Server 3, including two that should be welcome additions to the streaming world. The first is simultaneous transcoding and streaming of Flash Video to both desktops and Flash Lite 3-enabled devices, allowing one common infrastructure to stream to both desktops and mobile devices. The second is more robust live streaming capabilities. Guerard pointed out that live streaming capabilities had been in beta release for some time, in the form of Flash Live Streaming, but the company wanted to bulletproof live streaming for use in a 24/7 environment.

Adobe Media Player
Adobe plans to leverage the Moviestar version of Flash Media Player as the engine for its upcoming desktop player, the Adobe Media Player. This player, according to Guerard, will be based on Adobe’s Apollo technology, recently renamed Adobe AIR. Designed to allow web applications to be used on the desktop, AIR provides underpinnings for web developers to expand their audience without having to port applications to multiple, platform-specific code.

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