Amazon Web Services LLC has announced streaming media delivery for Amazon CloudFront, the company's content delivery service.
Amazon Web Services has announced streaming media delivery for Amazon CloudFront, the company's content delivery service.
The new feature, announced Dec. 16, enables streaming delivery of
audio and video content, providing an alternative to progressive
download where end users download a full media file. Indeed, Amazon
officials said Amazon CloudFront streams content from a worldwide
network of 14 edge locations, ensuring low latencies and providing
cost-effective delivery. And as with all Amazon Web Services, Amazon
CloudFront requires no up-front investment, minimum fees or long-term
contracts, and customers only pay for what they use.
"Many customers have told us that an on-demand streaming media
service with low latency, high performance and reliability has been out
of reach - it was technically complex and required sales negotiations
and up-front commitments," said Tal Saraf, general manager of Amazon
CloudFront, in a statement. "We're excited to add streaming
functionality to Amazon CloudFront that is so easy, customers of any
size can start streaming content in minutes."
With streaming, content is delivered to end users in real time -
viewers watch the bytes as they are delivered, Amazon said. This gives
the end user more control over their viewing experience. It also lowers
costs for content owners by reducing the amount of data that is
transferred when end users don't watch an entire video.
Amazon officials said to stream content with Amazon CloudFront,
users need only to store the original copy of their media objects in
the Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and then enable those
files for distribution in Amazon CloudFront with a simple command using
the AWS Management Console or the Amazon CloudFront API. End users
requesting streaming content are automatically routed to the CloudFront
edge location best suited to serve the stream, so end users can get the
highest bit rate, lowest latency, and highest quality stream possible,
the company said. Multiple levels of redundancy built into Amazon
CloudFront ensure that customers' streams are served reliably and with
"In the five minutes it took us to implement Amazon CloudFront's
streaming service, Vidly was able to both cut costs and offer
additional features that significantly improved the in-video experience
for our worldwide audience," said Daniel Rhodes of Vidly, a video
sharing Website, in a statement. "Without any upfront capital, we are
able to side-step the purchase and administration of streaming servers
while still getting all the same benefits. Amazon CloudFront brings all
the benefits together in such a great tightly integrated way with
Amazon's other services we use and is reliably distributed worldwide,
all with barely any work on our part."
For its part, LongTail Video had added support for Amazon CloudFront
Streaming to their JW Player, a popular open source video player.
LongTail Video co-founder Jeroen "JW" Wijering said, "there was a great
fit between the JW player and Amazon CloudFront streaming: both focus
on making it as easy as possible for anyone to incorporate high quality
video into Websites."
Amazon CloudFront streaming uses Adobe's Flash Media Server 3.5.2
(FMS) and lets developers take advantage of many of FMS's features.
Customers can choose to deliver their content either using the Flash
standard Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) protocol, or using its
encrypted version, RTMPE, for additional security. Customers can take
advantage of advanced features like dynamic bit rate streaming, which
automatically adjusts the bit rate of the stream played to the end user
based on the quality of that user's connection. Amazon CloudFront
streaming currently supports on-demand media. Support for live events
is planned for 2010.
To learn more about Amazon CloudFront and to start streaming content, visit http://aws.amazon.com/cloudfront.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.