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Introduction to Windows Media Services 9 Series

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A player that connects through broadband networks starts playing the contentEasy-to-useadministration tools now simplify server administration tasks.

    Technical Overview of Windows Media Services 9 Series

Microsoft Corporation

    Published: March 2005

Abstract

    Microsoft? Windows Media? Services 9 Series is an optional component in Microsoft Windows

    Server 2003, Standard Edition, Enterprise Edition, and Datacenter Edition. This document describes the latest features of Windows Media Services 9 Series.

Microsoft? Windows? Server 2003 White Paper

    This is a preliminary document and may be changed substantially prior to final commercial release of the software described herein The information contained in this document represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation on the issues discussed as of the date of publication. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft, and Microsoft cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication.

    This document is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT.

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    ? 2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Microsoft, Windows, Windows Logo, Windows NT, Visual C++, Visual C#, Visual Basic, Jscript and PowerPoint are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

    The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

    Microsoft? Windows? Server 2003 White Paper

Contents

    Introduction ............................................................................................................................... 1 Deliver Streaming or Preexisting Content ................................................................................. 1 Included In This Document ...................................................................................................... 1 Fast Streaming .......................................................................................................................... 2 Fast Start ................................................................................................................................. 2

    Buffering Data ...................................................................................................................... 2

    The Fast Start Experience .................................................................................................... 2 Fast Cache .............................................................................................................................. 2 Fast Recovery ......................................................................................................................... 3 Fast Reconnect ....................................................................................................................... 3 Dynamic Content Delivery ........................................................................................................ 4 Server-Side Playlists ................................................................................................................ 4

    Using Server-side Playlists ................................................................................................... 4 Advertisements ........................................................................................................................ 4 Edge Delivery .......................................................................................................................... 5 Industrial Strength .................................................................................................................... 6 Built-in Security ........................................................................................................................ 6 Real-time Monitoring ................................................................................................................ 6 Administration .......................................................................................................................... 6 IPTV support .............................................................................................................................. 7 Extensible Platform ................................................................................................................... 8 Summary ................................................................................................................................... 9 Related Links ........................................................................................................................... 10

Introduction

    Microsoft Windows Media Services 9 Series is the server component of the Windows Media 9 Series platform, and works in conjunction with Windows Media Encoder and Windows Media Player to deliver audio and video content to clients over the Internet or an intranet. These clients might be other computers or devices that play back the content using a player, such as Windows Media Player, or they might be other computers running Windows Media Services (called Windows Media servers) that are proxying, caching, or redistributing content. Clients can also be custom applications that have been developed by using the Windows Media Software Development Kit (SDK).

    Deliver Streaming or Preexisting Content

    Windows Media Services can deliver a live stream or preexisting content, such as a digital media file. If you are planning to stream live content, you would configure a broadcast publishing point and then connect to encoding software, such as Windows Media Encoder, that is capable of compressing a live stream into a format supported by the server. You can also stream preexisting content that has been encoded by Windows Media Encoder, Microsoft Producer for PowerPoint? 2002, Windows Movie Maker, Windows Media Player, or many other third-party encoding programs. You stream preexisting content from an on-demand publishing point. Sample broadcast and on-demand publishing points are provided by default.

    Included In This Document

    This document introduces you to the latest features of Windows Media 9 Series in Windows Server 2003. It is arranged as follows:

    ; Fast Streaming

    ; Dynamic Content Delivery

    ; Industrial Strength

    ; Extensible Platform

    ; Related Links

    Technical Overview of Windows Media Services 9 Series 1

Fast Streaming

    Fast Streaming refers to a set of features in Windows Media Services that significantly improves the quality of the streaming experience. Fast Streaming is based on the latest technologies and delivers compelling audio and video content over a variety of networkseven when network connections are

    unreliable. Fast Streaming is possible because of these four components:

    ; Fast Start

    ; Fast Cache

    ; Fast Recovery

    ; Fast Reconnect

    Fast Start

    Fast Start provides an instant-on playback experience with no buffering delaywhether playing a single

    piece of content, or switching between on-demand clips or broadcast channels.

    Buffering Data

    Before it can start playing content, Windows Media Player must buffer a certain amount of data. When streaming to clients who use Windows Media Player for Windows XP or a later version of the player, you can use Fast Start to provide data directly to the buffer at speeds higher than the bit rate of the content requested. This enables users to start receiving content more quickly. After the initial buffer requirement is fulfilled, on-demand and broadcast content streams at the bit rate defined by the content stream.

    The Fast Start Experience

    Using Fast Start provides a better experience for users when playing back your content. Users can fast-forward and rewind content without additional delay and rebuffering. A player that connects through broadband networks starts playing the content more quickly, making the experience much more like viewing a television program or listening to a radio broadcast. Content delivered from your server by using server-side playlists switches smoothly and seamlessly between content items. Additionally, the pre-buffering of data makes the player resistant to playback errors due to lost packets or other network issues.

    Fast Cache

    Fast Cache provides an always-on playback experience by streaming content to the Windows Media Player cache as fast as the network will allow, reducing the likelihood of an interruption in play due to network issues.

    For example, using Fast Cache, the server can transmit a 128-kilobits-per-second (Kbps) stream at 700 Kbps. The stream is still rendered in Windows Media Player at the specified data rate, but the client is able to buffer a much larger portion of the content before rendering it. This allows the client to handle variable network conditions without a perceptible impact on the playback quality of either on-demand or broadcast content.

    This ability is useful in the following situations:

    Technical Overview of Windows Media Services 9 Series 2

; When the available network bandwidth of the client exceeds the required bandwidth of the contentfor

    example, clients that use a cable modem, DSL connection, or corporate intranets. ; When the network connectivity is intermittent or has high latencyfor example, wireless networks.

    ; When the quality of the content received is of paramount importancefor example, businesses that

    provide pay-per-view movies.

    Fast Recovery

    Fast Recovery works in conjunction with Forward Error Correction (FEC) to provide redundant packets of information to clients that are using wireless connections. Providing redundant packets ensures that no data is lost as a result of connectivity disruptions. Because of FEC, Windows Media Player can usually recover lost or damaged data packets without having to request that the data be resent by the Windows Media server.

    In environments that are subject to latency problems, such as satellite networks and other wireless networks, this process of receiving data is much more efficient. And it's easy to specify the amount of error correction data transmitted per span of data sent using the Windows Media Services user interface.

    Fast Reconnect

    Fast Reconnect automatically restores live or on-demand player-to-server and server-to-server connections if disconnected during a broadcast. This ensures an uninterrupted viewing experience. If the client was connected to an on-demand publishing point, the client restarts playback at the point at which the connection was lost by synchronizing itself with the content timeline. If the content includes video, the client estimates the approximate video frame at which the connection was lost. If the content is indexed, this estimate is more accurate. If the client is connected to a broadcast publishing point, the client reconnects to the broadcast in progress. Depending on the content, the user may experience a gap in the broadcast.

    Fast Reconnect can be used with clients that connect through any of the default connection protocols (MMS, HTTP, and RTSP). Fast Reconnect is available for both broadcast and on-demand streaming.

    Technical Ove