Advantages of Streaming video from Flash Media Server
In addition to the advanced features outlined above, the advantages of streaming Flash video from Flash Communication Server are numerous:
- Fast start: Streaming FLV files is the fastest way to start playing any video on the Web.
- Advanced video control: Features such as bandwidth detection, quality-of-service monitoring, automatic thumbnail creation, and server-side playlists can be achieved only with streaming video.
- More efficient use of network resources: Customers who pay for their video hosting or bandwidth by the amount that is transferred benefit from streaming video because only the bits that the client views are transferred.
- Secure media delivery: Flash Communication Server supports SSL encryption of streams, providing the tightest security possible. Also, because the streamed media is not saved to the client’s cache, users cannot access previously viewed media files through their temporary Internet files folder.
- Minimal use of client resources: Streaming reduces memory and disk space because the client does not need to download the entire file.
- Tracking, reporting, and logging capabilities: Streaming enables you to capture valuable statistics about video usage, such as how long the video was viewed; how many times the user played the video; whether the user left the web page before the video completed playing; whether the user navigated backward, forward, or paused the video; and much, much more.
- Full seek and navigation: Viewers can seek to any point in the video and have it start playing immediately. The streaming server immediately delivers the requested video, and the user doesn’t have to wait until the entire video is downloaded before navigating to a particular mark. This makes streaming a great solution for longer-playing videos or applications such as video blogging, in which you might want to jump into the video at a specific point instead of requiring the viewer to watch it from the beginning.
In all these applications, the Flash Player is the end user’s interface. Flash Media Server is part of Adobe’s complete solution for database connectivity, directory systems, and presence services, and is currently the only server that can deliver audio and video to the popular Flash Player.
This integration makes possible Flash Media Server’s more unique capabilities such as quality of service metrics, detailed tracking and reporting statistics, and a range of powerful interactive features that can, when applied intelligently, lead to a much-enhanced video experience.
The video content (FLV file) is always kept external to the other Flash content and the video playback controls, enabling you to easily add or change content without having to republish the SWF file.
The Flash Media Server is composed of several development elements. I’ll provide more details of these elements next.