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Adobe Flash Media Server gets dynamic streaming

Version 3.5 being announced at Adobe Max

Adobe is adding dynamic streaming, which adjusts to the bandwidth rate on the desktop, and DVR capability to its Flash Media Server for streaming of Flash content.

Improvements are featured in version 3.5 of the product, which is being announced today at the Adobe Max conference in San Francisco. But version 3.5 will not be available until early 2009. Flash Media Server is applicable to content delivery networks, large IT organizations, and media and entertainment companies.

"Flash Media Sever is responsible for delivering video on the internet through streaming and this latest release will help improve the quality of delivery through a feature called dynamic streaming," said Kevin Towes, Adobe product manager for Flash Media Server. Dynamic streaming allows for adjustments to the delivery bit rates for video. It will adjust upward for higher quality bandwidth and downward for lower bandwidth.

This capability maintains the stream of video. "Without this, you have disruptions in the video flow," with video freezing or popping, Towes said.

When accommodating lower quality bit rates, video would degrade but not be disrupted. Audio would be maintained.

The DVR capability allows users to pause the live stream and resume later, or use capabilities like instant replay. The feature is particularly useful for live sporting events, which could be paused and resumed.

"This type of experience has never been seen before on the web," said Towes.

Flash Media Server competes with Microsoft's Silverlight and Windows Media Server technologies, Towes said. Adobe differentiates itself with higher quality of service and DVR capabilities, he said.

Flash Media Server 3.5 is offered in two variants: Flash Media Interactive Server, featuring DVR capabilities, customised streaming and enterprise-level scalablity, and Flash Media Streaming Server, for lower volume streaming. Perpetual licences are priced at $4,500 (£3,050) per server for Interactive Server and $995 (£675) for Streaming Sever. Upgrades cost $349 (240) for Interactive Server and $249 for Streaming Server.

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