Adobe Flash Video To Soon Challenge Windows Media For Live Streaming

At the Streaming Media West show last year, I did a presentation entitled "Flash Versus Windows Media: How to Choose the Right Format". One of the purposes of my presentation was to compare the two formats on a factual basis. Not which format has better codecs or compression but rather highlighting what each format did or did not support, like live streaming, DRM and other platform functionality.

One of the strong points about the Windows Media format is that it is the dominant format for webcasting. When it comes to live broadcasting, Windows Media is the format that is used hands-down. But this year, Adobe seems to be making progress in giving Windows Media a run for it’s money. More and more I am hearing from customers who want to try out Flash for live broadcasting and content delivery networks are actively working to build out their networks to support live Flash. Add that to the recent release by Adobe of their live Flash encoding tool, and the Adobe Flash format is quickly starting to pique webcasters interest. Yes, the quality of live Flash at high bitrates is still not as good as Windows Media and the Adobe live Flash Media Encoder is missing some features, but it’s expected Adobe will work quickly on fixing those issues.

It’s an exciting time in the industry as both Adobe and Microsoft are really stepping up to the plate this year with new announcements and product offerings for their video platforms. Later in the year, it’s going to shape up to be a real platform battle and round two is just getting underway.