This is the third in a series of three articles on media streaming. See the first article, Using Streaming Media With Digital Asset Management Systems. and Streaming Video Formats For Digital Asset Management exclusively on Digital Asset Management News.
In the last article in this series, Naresh Sarwan, digital asset management consultant & software engineer, examines the streaming media players available. See his other articles for an introduction to streamed media and details on streaming video formats.
Having read the other articles it is apparent that in addition to the format, the playback technology used to deliver streaming media is also important. Although there are numerous formats and associated players, for practical purposes there are three that are either adequately supported now or will be in the very near future:
- Adobe Flash Player
- Microsoft Windows Media Player
- Microsoft Silverlight
Of the choices above, most online video is delivered via the Flash Player as it has widespread support – even in corporate environments. The Flash Player supports Flash Video and the newer MPEG/H.264 format.
The Microsoft Windows Media Player is usually available as standard with all Windows PCs, as a result it is ubiquitous in corporate IT environments. The player is more difficult to adapt and for marketing oriented uses, controlling the design & branding of the controller is a slightly more involved process (although it is possible).
The Flash player has acquired mass-acceptance because it is bundled with most web browsers as a standard plug-in. Now that Microsoft are directly competing with Adobe (the developers of Flash), there is a possibility that the player will no longer get included with Microsoft browsers. This is a massive share of the market and a significant potential risk for anyone planning Video Digital Asset Management or video on the web.