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Adobe Talks DASH Implementations at Streaming Media East

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Before he took part in a Streaming Media East 2014 panel on "DASH in the Real World," Kevin Streeter, senior software architect for Adobe, sat down for a one-on-one interview with StreamingMedia.com. First, he explained the current state of DASH deployment.

"The DASH standard has been available for almost two years now, and actually the second edition is about to be released out of MPEG. What that means is that the core technology is fairly mature," Streeter said. "But what we're still seeing is that there's been a lot of work getting both the publishing end of the infrastructure -- so packagers and encoders -- to implement it, and also the player end, where you've got a robust ecosystem of consumers that can actually play back DASH content."

Next, he explained some of the ways that DASH is being used now, starting with HTML5.

"One that is very interesting is the web platform, so HTML5.," Streeter said. "In HTML5, there's been a lot of work going on around a set of standards called the media source extensions. This is a mechanism for getting different types of content into the web browser. The DASH format is actually one of the formats that has been explicitly specified within the W3C as needing to be supported by a compliant browser. I think that's very interesting because you're going to see that DASH is going to be the most reliable way to get content to the web platform."

For more on DASH's future, including Adobe's plans, watch the full interview below.

 

Troy: Hi. This is Troy Dreier, Senior Associate Editor for StreamingMedia.com, coming to you almost live from Streaming Media East 2014, in New York City. I’m joined today by Kevin Streeter with Adobe. Kevin will be talking on a panel on DASH adoption later today. But right now I’ve got him here and we’re going to talk about DASH, just the two of us. Kevin, ease us into this. What is DASH, and how is it coming along?

Kevin: So MPEG-DASH is a streaming protocol that’s based on HNP, and it’s very similar to some of the other streaming protocols that are available right now. Apple’s HLS, Adobe’s HDS, in that it’s built around chunking up pieces of content, and delivering it over standard HDP infrastructure.

Troy: Mm-hm.

Kevin: Now, the reason that’s interesting is it lowers costs over more traditional streaming services, and where DASH really stands out is that it is an international standard, and so it was developed in an open way that allowed a lot of different organizations in the industry to participate and make sure that all their use cases are met.

Troy: Mm-hm. So what is the state of DASH today? Is it something that’s still being tested? Is it something that’s being put in use?

Kevin: Well, so the DASH standard has been available for almost two years now, and actually the second edition is about to be released out of MPEG. And what that means is that the core technology is fairly mature. But what we’re still seeing is that there’s been a lot of work getting both the publishing end of the infrastructure, so packagers and encoders, to implement it, and also the player end, where you’ve got a robust ecosystem of consumers that can actually play back DASH content.

Troy: Mm-hm. Well, tell me, what are some of the practical implementations of DASH that are being used today?

Kevin: Well, there’s a couple that I can talk about. One that is very interesting is the web platform. So HTML 5. In HTML 5 there’s been a lot of work going on around a set of standards called the media source extensions. And this is a mechanism for getting different types of content into the web browser. And the DASH format is actually one of the formats that has been explicitly specified within that, within the W3C as needing to be supported by a compliant browser. So I think that’s very interesting, because you’re going to see that DASH is going to be the most reliable way to get content to the web platform.

Troy: Mm-hm.

Kevin: Now, another thing that’s happening, and this is something we’re really involved in, is there’s a lot of work with different vendors implementing sort of cross platform implementations of DASH that solves the multi-screen sort of problem where you’re trying to get content to as many devices as possible.

Troy: Mm-hm.

Kevin: And so for example, Adobe has built a portable video engine that’s part of our primetime product offering. And so the primetime video stack is a portable stack that runs on Flash, it runs in Android, and it runs on set-top boxes, it runs on the Roku, and what that means is that we’re able to actually get DASH out to all of these different platforms simultaneously with a single implementation. So I think what we’re seeing right now is that there really is that acceleration of availability of players for DASH that’s really going to increase adoption and make it more deployable, more applicable to real-world use cases.

Troy: Could you give me like a guess how much it’s being used now for video stream to viewers online and maybe like the future? Is it inevitable? Is it going to be taking the majority?

Kevin: Well, it’s still early days.

Troy: Uh-huh.

Kevin: What we’re seeing is that there’s been a lot of different kind of trial usages of DASH, so sort of specific test events. And these are real-world events going out to real people, but it’s not at large scale.

Troy: Okay.

Kevin: And then the other thing that we’re seeing is that there’s a lot of different companies that are using the fact that you can use DASH to get to the web platform to actually distribute content to web browsers without using a plug-in like Flash. And that’s happening right now.

Troy: Mm-hm.

Kevin: Now, in the future I think what we’re going to see is that as the web platform becomes more mature, that there’s going to be more browsers out there that support it.

Troy: Sure.

Kevin: And that’s going to make it easier for people to get content to it. And like I said, we, Adobe primetime’s video player, we just released that as a beta. So as that matures and becomes available on all these platforms we support, it’s going to be that much easier. And so I do think that what we’re going to see is that DASH is going to become sort of the number one option to reach most of these video platforms. And then it’s only going to be those platforms that we can’t reach with sort of a third party video player or aren’t adopting a full web stack where you’ll need to use other protocols.

Troy: Mm-hm. Give me a guess. When will we see DASH become a majority use?

Kevin: You know, that’s definitely a tough question, Troy.

Troy: Mm-hm.

Kevin: You know, I definitely see, think we’re going to see 2014 is going to be a year where people are playing with it.

Troy: Sure.

Kevin: And trialing it; 2015 is probably where we’re going to see acceleration.

Troy: Mm-hm.

Kevin: And then 2016, you’ll probably be able to really look at and say, “Yeah, this thing’s really here right now.”

Troy: It feels like we’ve been talking about it for so long that it should be much more <laughs> in use by now. But standards don’t happen overnight, right?

Kevin: Yeah. You know, it’s standards don’t happen overnight, and then we also have to realize that in some ways DASH had to catch up to the other streaming protocols, right? It’s the Apple and Microsoft and Adobe put in a lot of time building out each of these streaming protocols. There’s a lot of functionality there. People, publishers, deployed on those platforms. And so it takes some time for the protocol to catch up.

Troy: Mm-hm.

Kevin: And for publishers to realize that they can, switching to this, saves them money or gives them better experiences. And so that transition will happen.

Troy: Mm-hm.

Kevin: So it think what we’ll see is there will be that wave where everybody says, “Okay. Well, I’ve done my deployment with existing protocols, and now my interest is to see what I can do on DASH. I’m ready to make that next level of investment,” and we’ll probably see it turn around very quickly at that point.

Troy: Very good. Well, thank you so much for joining me, Kevin. This is Troy Dreier coming to you almost live from Streaming Media East.

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