At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) 2012 conference, Microsoft announced new media services and guidance to better enable content providers and customers better tap into the power of cloud computing.
Microsoft's new cloud-based Windows Azure Media Services makes creating, managing and delivering media to any device easier by providing a comprehensive set of ready-to-use first- and third-party media technologies. Microsoft also published a new Broadcast Reference Architecture that offers prescriptive guidance on how media companies can architect their solutions to improve systems performance management as they move toward the cloud.
Leveraging the Windows Azure cloud infrastructure, Windows Azure Media Services gives content providers and media partners the broad capacity of the cloud service to handle huge volumes of digital media and make it available in the format that customers want, when they want it. Windows Azure Media Services enables users to create complex media workflows built on Microsoft Media Platform and third-party technologies.
"Our internal research shows that more than one-third of today's Internet traffic is devoted to video consumption, and we expect that to grow to 80 percent by the end of 2015,' said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of Windows Azure application platform, in a statement. "Not everyone has the expertise or capital required to build a media infrastructure, so Windows Azure Media Services enables companies everywhere to build custom media solutions that easily scale and adapt to meet consumers needs, wherever or however they consume it."
The Windows Azure Media Services ecosystem features several media partners that integrate their technologies for customers to use in their own media solutions. These include high-speed transfers from Aspera, content encoding from Digital Rapids, ATEME and Dolby Laboratories, content security from BuyDRM and Civolution, and video-on-demand streaming from Wowza Media Systems. In addition, Windows Azure Media Services enables full-service media companies such as iStreamPlanet Co. and Movideo Pty. Ltd. to host and offer complete workflow solutions to customers.
Windows Azure Media Services will also support an entire ecosystem of connected devices. With support for Microsoft Smooth Streaming, HTTP Live Streaming and Flash media formats, Windows Azure Media Services will enable customers to reach almost any connected device, from Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Windows-based PCs to non-Microsoft platforms such as smart TVs, set-top boxes, MacOS, iOS and Android.
To further enable true interoperability between media technologies from different vendors, Windows Azure Media Services will also include native support for MPEG-DASH (Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP), the International Organization for Standardization and Interoperability Executive Customer Council standards developed by Microsoft and other industry leaders that deliver an exceptional video experience for end users by automatically adapting to varying client and network conditions during playback.
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