IIS Media Services 4.0 Released

IIS Media Services 4.0 was released yesterday, just in time for Streaming Media West. Coming just one year after the previous major release, IIS Media Services 4.0 allows you to encode once and deliver adaptive streaming content to three screens across multiple file formats and protocols.

What's Included
This IIS Media Services release centers on new functionality for the live and on-demand IIS Smooth Streaming components. Building on over two years of industry usage, IIS Smooth Streaming has become the primary HTTP adaptive streaming technology for delivering content online. Broadcasters worldwide have used it to deliver on-demand content and live events, such as the World Cup, Sunday Night Football, the Tour de France, and the 2010 Winter Olympics.

With another year of customer wins and input on what would make it even better, the feature set in IIS Media Services 4.0 addresses some specific themes, focusing primarily on expanded iPhone support and a broad set of new live streaming features.

One Encoding Format, One Server, Many Devices – including iPhone
Using the same live H.264 streams you encode for Silverlight and other Smooth Streaming players running on PCs, Macs, Linux, Nokia S60 phones, Windows Phone 7, and set-top-boxes, IIS Media Services can now re-package those streams in real time for delivery to iPhone, iPad, and other Apple iOS devices. It's as simple as clicking a checkbox. Under the hood, IIS Media Services re-packages (transmuxes) the H.264 and AAC content into the Apple HTTP Live Streaming format, which iOS devices natively understand.

New advanced capabilities are also available for iOS devices, including:

  • Live DVR – Pause, Rewind, Seek
  • Archiving – saves the live content for DVR use or later on-demand playback
  • Archive Segmentation – breaks a long broadcast archive into shorter clips for storage purposes
  • AES Encryption – keeps your content safe while streaming
  • B-frame support – provides better picture quality
  • Phrase 1
  • Compatibility mode for iOS3 devices

Low-Latency Live Streaming and More
There are times when you need to see video in near real-time, such as for financial market news, surveillance video, and on-line gaming (gambling) sites. With low-latency (sometimes referred to as low-delay) streaming, you can reduce the time it takes from when an event actually occurs to when a viewer sees it from a typical latency of 15 seconds to under 2 seconds.

Other new live Smooth Streaming features help improve manageability and increase performance, including:
  • Publishing point runtime status – provides real-time stats via APIs and the UI
  • Manifest compression – reduces the size of the manifest sent to clients
  • Metadata delivery support – delivers RDF format metadata from encoder to the client
  • Reduced memory usage – handles even higher server loads
  • Smarter disk access – provides higher consistency server performance
  • Dedicated fragment caching – reduces disk access during live sessions

By Chris Knowlton, Microsoft