Over the past six months, the Media Services team has aggressively added innovative new capabilities to enable content owners and partners to prepare, protect, distribute and monetize media in the cloud. We are seeing great momentum with our customers and partners, including the record-breaking successful stream of the 2015 Super Stream Sunday, the launch of Next Generation Sports Network (NGSN), F1 car racing on FujiTV’s NextSmart service, and Telenet’s new interactive “Play Sports” app.
Today at IBC in Amsterdam, we are thrilled to announce key new services, certifications and partnerships that further enable end-to-end cloud based media workflows, from camera to viewer. These include:
Live Encoding general availability
Live Encoding allows you to send a single bitrate live feed to Azure Media Services, have it encoded into an adaptive bitrate stream and deliver it to a wide variety of clients for delivery in MPEG-DASH, Microsoft Smooth Streaming, Apple HLS, or Adobe HDS formats. Generally available in the coming weeks, Live Encoding can be combined with dynamic packaging, dynamic encryption, sub-clipping, dynamic manifest manipulation, ad-marker insertion, and near-seamless live/on-demand capabilities to build comprehensive live and cloud DVR workflows.
Introducing Live sub-clipping and archive extraction
Building on the recent availability of our industry proven Media Encoder Standard and Premium, today we are excited to announce important new features to our live streaming platform. Media Encoder Standard now includes support for extracting sub-clips, i.e. taking a portion of the live stream and producing a new on-demand asset. Media Encoder Standard now also has the ability to extract live archives as MP4s for subsequent syndication. Click here for more information about how to get started with these new live asset editing features.
Google Widevine now supported for Content Protection
In addition to AES 128-bit clear key encryption and Microsoft PlayReady DRM content protection services, we are now adding support for Google Widevine Modular DRM dynamic packaging. Additionally, our new partnerships with EZDRM and Axinom enable you to deliver Widevine licenses to your devices and browsers and you can deliver a dynamically packaged multi-DRM stream that uses Common Encryption (CENC). Click here for more information.
Expanded reach for Azure Media Player
We launched Azure Media Player in April at NAB and we are seeing a phenomenal response and uptake. Over 4 million streams have already been served to websites and mobile apps using an embedded and customized Azure Media Player. With new support for Widevine DRM, the Azure Media Player can now playback encrypted video content in Google Chrome with Widevine through HTML5 and Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer browsers with PlayReady or AES. And yes, that means Chrome running on desktops, Android devices, and Macs! Additionally, Azure Media Player now has the capability to playback multi-language audio and continues to support WebVTT captions, screen readers and tabbing control.
Azure Media Indexer adds Custom Language Models
Our powerful speech-to-text engine, takes in an audio or video media asset, and returns the caption/index/keyword files. For example, broadcasters looking to make their catalogs available on the internet can use Indexer to automatically generate TTML subtitles. A new capability of Indexer, Custom Language Models, lets you use relevant text documents to augment the internal dictionary (language model) for the duration of your job. This will be extremely useful if you are indexing content with lots of non-standard words or technical jargon (i.e. scientific, law enforcement, industry) or specific brand names or proper nouns.
Imagine Communications integration for Broadcast Channel Cloud Playout
Visitors to the Microsoft booth at IBC can see a demonstration of how to setup and deploy a fully featured ‘pop-up’ channel solution and channels for disaster recovery. What would have formerly taken a broadcaster weeks to deploy can now be accomplished in minutes on Azure with all of the traditional integrated channel playout functions now cloud-enabled, including automation, branding, graphics, and file server capabilities.
With the Content Delivery and Security Association’s (CDSA) Content Protection and Security Program (CPS) certification, Azure Media Services is the only hyper-scale cloud media solution provider in the market offering encryption on the fly for both video-on-demand and live streaming broadcasts. With the validation of CDSA certification, asset owners on the Azure Media Services platform can rest assured that their content is protected with enterprise-grade security. Stop by the Microsoft IBC booth to pick up a copy of our CDSA CPS Implementation Guide.
The services, partnerships and certifications we are announcing this week in Amsterdam are helping us move the needle when it comes to scalable, secure, and cost-effective media workflows in the cloud. Combined with our rich ecosystem of partners, some of which are presenting within the Microsoft Booth at IBC, we offer a differentiated platform to enable your end-to-end media solution needs. Click here to learn more about Azure Media Services, and come visit us at IBC in Hall 13, MS1 and MS2.