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Flash Video 101: Streaming Flash Video from a Reliable Content Delivery Network

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If you're interested in gaining all the benefits of streaming your Flash video from a dedicated media server, but are concerned about all the costs and time involved, this article is for you. Author James Gonzalez reviews how to employ Flash Video Streaming Services (FVSS), hosted by a variety of content delivery networks, to do the hard work for you.
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In a previous article in this series, I covered how to stream Flash video using Flash Media Server 2 software installed on a dedicated media server. That article covered a variety of server hosting and maintenance issues and also provided a summary of the processes involved in deploying a typical Flash Media Server application.

Now, if all this talk about setting up and maintaining a Flash Media Server sounds too expensive, time-consuming, or troublesome, Adobe has partnered with leading content delivery network (CDN) providers to offer hosted Flash Video Streaming Services (FVSS) to do all this work for you.

These FVSS service providers deliver on-demand Flash video across high-performance, reliable networks. Built with the Flash Media Server and integrated directly into the delivery, tracking, and reporting infrastructure of the CDN network, FVSS providers are an efficient, effective way to deliver Flash video to the largest possible audience without the hassle of setting up and maintaining your own streaming server hardware and network.

Many high-traffic sites such as Comcast, CNet, Disney, and others are currently using FVSS to deliver Flash video streams to large global audiences and are easily able to scale their content delivery network to achieve a true international reach (see Figure 1).

Figure 01

Figure 1 Many high-traffic sites, such as the Disney Motion video site shown here, are using FVSS to deliver on-demand Flash video streams.

Flash Video Gallery

If you’re still not sure about the benefits of serving video content online or need to see some down-to-earth examples of this video delivery in action, Adobe maintains a Flash customer video gallery, where you can view a large selection of streaming video examples.

This Flash video gallery is an interactive showcase of customer videos produced by the Marketing team at Adobe. The team built the gallery using Macromedia Flash MX Professional 2004.

Figure 2

Figure 2 Flash video gallery showcase

One of the features of the gallery is that it enables visitors to filter the videos and preview a site in which they are interested. You can roll over a thumbnail of a video, and a short preview video clip then plays.

The video gallery is composed of three primary features: the video thumbnails on the left, the video filter controls below the thumbnails, and the video detail view on the right (See Figure 3).

Figure 3

Figure 3 Flash video gallery on the Adobe website

Clicking the filter buttons activates video choices by industry or region. Clicking a video thumbnail reveals details about that site and the opportunity to view the full video clip.

Adobe provides the source files for the video gallery, giving you the opportunity to investigate the code and structure of both the FLA and all supporting files. To get a guided tour of the code, read the excellent article "Deconstructing the Flash Video Gallery" at the Adobe Flash Developer Center.

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