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Windows Azure Media Services Now in General Availability
Microsoft's platform is now ready for customers looking for a scalable end-to-end media solution that can upload, encode, and deliver content.

Windows Azure Media Services, Microsoft's end-to-end platform for creating video-centric online experiences for all types of audiences, has reached the general availability stage. Scott Guthrie, the Microsoft corporate vice president responsible for the Windows Azure platform, released details on his blog, and also offered examples of how Azure Media Services could be used. This release of Azure Media Services is backed by an enterprise service level agreement (SLA) and a new media services dev center.

The platform is targeted at a range of clients, including broadcasters, network operators, video-on-demand services, and enterprise developers, simplifying the process of creating a media solution that streams to a range of desktop, living room, and mobile devices. Developers can use REST APIs or .NET or Java SDKs to create automated workflows. Windows Azure Media Services handles the jobs of encoding and delivering the files.

The platform includes a space-saving new feature called dynamic packaging. Rather than encoding each asset in multiple versions for multiple end users, Windows Azure Media Services handles the task of converting multi-bitrate MP4 files into multi-bitrate HLS or Smooth Streaming assets in real-time on the origin server. The process saves storage and time, Guthrie notes.

"With today's release, you now have everything you need to quickly build great, extremely scalable, end-to-end media solutions for streaming on-demand video to consumers on any device," Guthrie says.

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