Smooth Streaming – Integrated Media Platform on IIS 7

Streaming and the Internet

Advances in Internet technology have fundamentally changed the way we view video and hear audio on our computers. More and more, we are seeing media being presented to the user as it is being downloaded onto the computer – eliminating the need to wait for a file to download before playing it.

While this paradigm shift is taking place, there are many problems associated with streaming. The Integrated Media Platform of IIS, makes content delivery via Silverlight a cinch.

Problems with Streaming over the Internet

Due to the large size of the files, the fickle nature of the Internet, and the fact that not everyone has the same type of Internet connection, streaming content becomes heavily dependent on the unique characteristics of each person’s computer. This forces us to deal with the following problems.

Bandwidth Variation

Each person will be viewing your content with a different bandwidth. The road warrior with his wifi will probably have a lower bandwidth than a person sitting in an office. This means that content that makes full use of any one’s Internet connection is either too much or too little for the other.

What is needed, is to find a way to deliver different quality video and audio to each, while making the maximum use of bandwidth. This comes down to encoding. We need to deliver a higher encoded media to the office user whose connection can handle it, and a lower encoded (but maximum possible) media to the other.

IIS 7’s Integrated Media Platform performs this juggling feat and ensures the delivery of the best experience possible for each viewer.

Programming Difficulty

Can you imagine the complexity of writing the code to detect a user’s bandwidth and to deliver appropriately encoded media? If you’re using Microsoft’s Expression Suite, you can perform this miracle with just a few clicks!

Various encodings of each media file are created and the appropriate version is dynamically chosen at the time of delivery, with almost no code required. This makes site development easy, and you can set up the application within hours of completing an important press release or product announcement.

Summary

Microsoft’s Integrated Media Platform was used to deliver the video of the 2008 Summer Olympics to fans all over the world. Video which was on demand and appropriately scaled to each user’s bandwidth.

You can do this too, and reap the cost benefits of not having to stream extremely high video to those who can’t handle it, while at the same time ensuring that each user gets the best experience possible.

BOLA TANGKAS