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Adobe and Wowza Partner on Olympic DASH

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When the 2012 Olympic Games closed earlier this week, a major focus for viewers from the United States was tallying the gold medals team U.S.A. brought home, followed closely by asking whether or not NBC will continue to cut out the cord cutters at the next Olympic games. In Europe, however, the end of the Olympics marked an intriguing collaboration around the recently ratified MPEG-DASH streaming video delivery standard.

The European Broadcast Union (EBU) initiated a real-world interoperability test around DASH, or dynamic adaptive streaming over HTTP, to deliver the games to a number of disparate devices using software and hardware components from a number of vendors.

DASH holds the promise of a single, generic delivery protocol -- the HTTP protocol has delivered web pages for decades -- coupled with standards-based audio and video codecs (AAC and H.264, respectively) that can be packaged in a way that can be delivered to any device. 

The "any device" term is thrown around quite a bit, and we've seen our share of both proprietary and standards-based content delivery systems that worked for some devices but not all. So we were intrigued to hear that the DASH Promoter's Group (DASH PG) was setting up a real-time interoperability test during the 2012 London games.

"The EBU strives for open, efficient, and interoperable broadcast services, and we believe MPEG-DASH is a means to these goals," said Lieven Vermaele, EBU's director of technology and development. "On a daily basis, our members face the challenge of distributing large libraries of audio and video to an audience that uses a multitude of devices and technologies. MPEG-DASH is a comprehensive solution for them."

The trial featured a live video stream encoded using the MPEG-DASH ISO Base Media File Format Live Profile, delivered through a European content delivery network to a range of device categories including tablets, smartphones, and PCs running iOS, Android, and Windows operating systems.

We'll cover the full spectrum of companies involved in the DASH PG demonstration in an article next week, but one of most noteworthy collaborations in the whole process is that of Wowza, a company that provides video server software, and Adobe, a company that provides both video server software and the ubiquitous Flash Player.

For the trial demonstration, Wowza provided server capabilities, along with Code Shop, while Adobe provided a stable version of its own "DASH-in-Flash" Flash Player for Windows-based machines.

It appears that no one covered Macintosh-based machines, which we will confirm in next week's conference call and article, but Adobe did also provide an Android-based, DASH-compliant player for the trial, in the form of an Android web browser that can play DASH content.

An example of DASH playing in Flash Player can be viewed at this test page.

With Adobe and Wowza locked in a lawsuit surrounding the technical aspects of the Wowza Media Server's ability to stream RMTP content, it's refreshing news to see the two companies working together to make next-generation ubiquitous content delivery a reality. 

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MPEG DASH is the latest hot topic in the online video space. Here we break down what it is, and what its implications might be for video delivery in the future.

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