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Microsoft Announces Support for MPEG-DASH in Microsoft Media Platform

Redmond, WA(17 Apr 2012)

Microsoft Media Platform will support MPEG-DASH, a recently ratified ISO/IEC standard for dynamic adaptive streaming over HTTP. Microsoft plans to support DASH and other open standards as part of an industry-wide initiative to establish reliable video delivery to Internet connected devices and enable true interoperability between adaptive streaming technologies from different vendors.

Microsoft was a key contributor in the development of MPEG-DASH. Microsoft chaired the MPEG working group that developed the DASH specification, and made significant technical contributions based on extensive experience with Microsoft Smooth Streaming.  Much like Smooth Streaming, DASH uses Extensible Markup Language (XML) to describe media presentations in a manifest file which references media streams stored in ISO Base Media File Format. Combined with the standard HTTP protocol and existing Web content delivery networks, the DASH standard enables a better video experience for end users by automatically adapting to varying client and network conditions during playback. 

Taking advantage of similarities between Smooth Streaming and DASH, Windows Azure Media Services will add support for DASH Live Profile later this year so that both Smooth Streaming and DASH devices can access the same live and on-demand video presentations using either manifest format.  This will enable a smooth (pun intended) transition to DASH for millions of devices and services currently using Smooth Streaming. 

In addition to server-side support, Microsoft will also add support for DASH to all its Smooth Streaming client development kits. The first step will be to enable DASH support in the Smooth Streaming Client for Silverlight, followed by support in Smooth Streaming Client SDKs for Windows 8, iOS, Xbox, Windows Phone and Smooth Streaming Client Porting Kit for embedded devices.

Microsoft is also contributing to W3C efforts to standardize adaptive streaming APIs in HTML5 so that DASH Web applications may also be written in HTML5 and ECMAScript (JavaScript) in the future without requiring browser plug-ins such as Silverlight and Flash to enable advanced streaming media scenarios.

Microsoft has contributed to the development of the DECE UltraViolet® video format which enables download and adaptive streaming of premium movie and TV content; and to various international broadcast standards and consortia so that a common protected video format based on DECE Common File Format, MPEG Common Encryption, and MPEG-DASH specifications will be supported by all adaptive streaming services and devices to enable reliable interoperability for consumers, just like broadcast TV and DVD.

Finally, Microsoft along with a few other key companies founded the DASH Promoters Group, whose 50 members work to catalyze DASH adoption by providing implementation guidelines, performing interoperability tests, and harmonizing various consortia activates around DASH.