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Apple kills Flash and Silverlight with HTTP Streaming


Apple just suggested to IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) the HTTP Streaming to replace the RTSP (Real Time Streaming Protocol) and even Flash and Silverlight.

HTTP Streaming

The purpose of this protocol is simple: allow audio and video streaming from a HTTP server using today's codecs (MPEG2, H.264, AAC & MP3). The idea is not new as Apple is talking about it since iPhone OS 3.0 & Quicktime X, however in order to really implement it Apple just submitted all the necessary documents to IETF, hoping for it to become a standard.

Using what already works

Apple hopes to replace RTSP developped by Real and Netscape in the late 90s. We have to acknowledge that there are several bugs inherent to this format, like the usage of a dedicated port (554 by default), which is often closed by routers and firewalls and the average user might not be able to open easily.

The usage of HTTP Streaming would allow to use the regular internet port (80 or 443). The idea of HTTP Streaming is simple, split a video file in 10 seconds blocks for example. The audio and video players use a playlist file .m3u8 to know what file and where to download. The player just has to search and aggregate the blocks in the order given by the playlist which is also giving updates to the player to let it know if new files are available, in case of a live broadcast.

The user can start playing the audio or video file while downloading the blocks. The last block contains a tag to let the player know the streaming is over.

The playlist allows to use several servers simultaneously and can change the type of file depending on the network (3G, Edge...) and thus adjust the quality.

An open source technology for everyone to replace flash and silverlight

The big asset of this technology is that is can work with any player and a regular MPEG2 encoder can create a stream for this type of platform.

Apple hopes, with this technology, to make people forget that the iPhone is not Flash or Silverlight compatible. Now time will tell if this new solution will be successful, but on the paper it really seems to have taken a good start.



Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 14 July, 2009, 12:39Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

We mucked around with a similar approach purely on a hobby basis, coincidentally to do with sharing music. What did occur to me was how a user's music, video, podcast etc tastes and habits could be monitored by any and all of the servers delivering the 'blocks' of content. Advertisers and marketers are bound to love that part. Coincidentally the antithesis of our hobby objectives.

Cedric Pariente

Cedric Pariente

Stanford Certified Project Manager

EFFI Consultants

Member since

20 Dec 2008



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