Flash Media Server Spawns a Family

A companion podcast to this story, available at www.streamingmedia.com/podcasts, highlights a few of the sneak peak tools showcased at Adobe MAX 2007 that are now being rolled in to Flash Media Server 3.

At a CS3 pre-release training back in May, Adobe enticed the audience with a few tools that would be launching sometime in early 2008. Three among these—a new Flash Media Server, a new Flash Player and a new desktop video player called Adobe Media Player, powered by Flash technology—showed a glimpse into Adobe’s growth plan for one of its key Macromedia acquisitions. While AMP generated the most discussion, regarding Adobe’s role in aggregating viewer’s habits and serving up subsequent advertising, the consensus in the room was that the upgrades to Flash would create a much-needed push towards high-definition streaming video.

Two of the three were formally released today. First is the new Flash Player 9 Update 3, previously code-named Moviestar, which now supports the H.264 and VP6-S codecs, both capable of efficiently streaming high definition content via the second product, the new Flash Media Server (FMS).

The Flash Media Server 3 has split into several servers: one free, one focused strictly on video, and one focused on more efficient delivery of interactive content. All of the servers, though, center on delivering the best video experience to end users. Part of Adobe’s pitch with Flash Media Server 3 is that a performance increase, combined with new pricing, will make streaming with Flash Media Server competitive with progressive download.

The high-end server, now named Flash Media Interactive Server 3, is geared toward supporting what Adobe calls "multi-way applications" which might have also been called bi-directional video (a term previously used to describe videoconferencing) as the server allows VoIP, webcam video chat and streaming of online multi-party games.

One of the benefits of the new Interactive Server (FMIS) is that it’s actually three servers rolled into one: FMIS combines the capabilities of the FMS2 Professional version along with the Edge and Origin versions, which were used to place Flash Media Servers at the edge. The new FMIS now can serve in either capacity: It can operate as an origin server or an edge server, allowing for scaleable distribution of traffic load.

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