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Akamai: How MSE, EME, and WebCrypto Will Join to Kill Flash

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Flash is still a powerful web video platform, but it's also clearly on the way out. At the recent Streaming Media West conference in sunny Huntington Beach, California, an all-star panel explained the recent developments that make HTML5 video player development a lot simpler and fully-featured.

"The trouble is there's many devices arising—mobile phones and tablets specifically—which don't support Flash. The footprint of the Flash player is certainly declining," began Will Law, chief architect of the media division at Akamai. Replacing Flash is currently a complicated business. "You need a huge player team if you want to provide what we used to be able to do with a single Flash player in the past across the wide variety of hardware and operating systems that we need to deliver video through today."

However, replacing Flash is about to become a whole lot simpler.

"Where's the promise?" Law asked. "What if there was a single player development environment that could work across all of the devices that I mentioned that are sharing video, that could handle adaptive segmented playback of video (not just progressive), allowed you complete control over the bitrate switching logic, the buffering logic, and the failure recovery (not leaving it all into the browser's hands and allowing you to vary it per application or even per user)? What if it offered full DRM for protection of the content? What if you got all the richness of HTML5 and CSS which you're already using to build your user experience?"

That promise is coming from three technologies: MSE (media source extensions), EME (encrypted media extensions), and WebCrypto. When the three are used together, they're powerful tools for building video players.

After Law spoke, JW Player vice president of devices John Luther detailed how MSE and EME are currently implemented in browsers and devices, which dictates how soon these standards can be used. Next, BuyDRM CTO Andrew Popov detailed how EME will work and how it differs from player-based DRM technologies. Finally, David Hassoun, owner of RealEyes Media, provided an overview of how companies can best transition from Flash to MSE and EME, and when they should get started.

For more, watch the full panel below and download presentations from Andrew Popov, David Hassoun, and John Luther.


Replacing Flash: Adaptive Streaming and DRM in HTML5

The Media Source Extensions and Encrypted Media Extensions are the standardized toolsets that enable browsers to deliver adaptive streaming and digital rights management without plug-ins. This session details what these extensions are, how they’re being supported by the different browser and tools vendors, and how soon those delivering premium content will switch over from plug-in-based technologies to these standards. If you’re considering replacing Flash with HTML5 standards-based technologies, this session details how and when you can do it.

Jan Ozer, Principal - Doceo Publishing
Will Law, Chief Architect, Media Division - Akamai Technologies
John Luther, VP, Devices - JW Player
Andrew Popov, CTO - BuyDRM
David Hassoun, Principal - RealEyes

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