CDNs Rush to Add High-Definition Flash Streaming

At MAX 2007, Adobe announced that it would deliver Flash Media Server 3 first to its content delivery network (CDN) partners in December and then to the general public in first quarter 2008. While that rollout schedule's been a bit muddled, with all formal products being shipped simultaneously in January 2008, those CDN partners are already rolling out their new service offerings in anticipation of the formal launch. The timing, almost a month before the official release, positions the CDNs to woo customers who might be putting together next year’s budget or have a few dollars to spend during the Christmas season.

Some CDNs, in fact, are already using an enhanced beta now that the release of Flash Media Player 9 Update 3 (the first version that supports H.264 and VP6-S high definition streaming) is out in the wild. Limelight made its announcement of Flash Media Server 3 support earlier last week, Level 3 made its announcement last month as part of a larger announcement that its CDN now supports streaming, and Swarmcast announced today it will bring high-definition Flash streaming to peer to peer networks.

For Level 3, which bills itself as a "colocation, VoIP and internet backbone company," the rollout of its streaming service, formerly in beta, is a chance to showcase its rapid CDN deployment.

"From a standing start in May of 2007, Level 3 has already deployed 700 Gbps of CDN capacity," the company noted in its press release. "Capacity is expected to exceed one terabit per second by the end of the first quarter of 2008, less than one year after launching CDN services. . . . Level 3 plans to complete the full integration of the video management platform it acquired as part of its acquisition of Servecast in the first quarter of 2008."

Level 3, which also says it brings consistent pricing and some of the shortest hops to any IP address in the world, has already had several successful beta partners, including Move Networks, whose CEO John Edwards pointed to company's ability to scale to "meet the growing demands that increased adoption of HD streaming places on networks".

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