Destiny Media Technologies has provided an update on the development of its second generation playerless streaming video solution, which will eliminate the need for publishers to maintain separate streaming hardware and various video formats to reach their audience.
Destiny has developed a single video file format that acts like any other web object, streaming directly from a web server and rendering directly by the browser without a player plug-in. The technology is working well across a wide number of computers and smart phones, including Mac, Windows, Android, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and any other recent device that is standards compliant. Video playback is at twenty-four frames per second and at similar quality to competing offerings. The company is currently building out the prototype solution into a mass-market product. A soft launch of the commercial product for sale to select early customers is expected by April.
Unlike Destiny’s cross platform file format, which streams natively to a wide range of devices directly from the web server, other solutions require video files to be transcoded into a variety of formats and require different streaming servers to host each version of the video. When a visitor reaches the site, the web server must detect the type of smart phone or operating system, then direct them to the corresponding streaming server and the corresponding file. These streaming servers are often outsourced off site to third party providers at great cost. Each of those servers needs to be maintained, licenses have to be purchased and patent fees have to be paid. Although the process is seamless to the site visitor, behind the scenes, the digital alchemy is expected to cost the industry up to $1.6 billion annually by 2014 according to a 2007 report by Frost and Sullivan.
Popular video players such as Windows Media Player, Quicktime and Flash are implemented in different versions for each operating system and in the case of mobile, can require that they are explicitly supported ahead of time by the device. In a heartfelt letter posted to Apple’s website in April 2010, Steve Jobs explained why he will not allow the most popular video format, Flash, on iPhones and iPads. In November 2011, Adobe announced that Flash was completely abandoning mobile.
The industry attempted to standardize on a common format as part of the new HTML 5 browser standard, but their negotiations were unsuccessful and the standardization never came. The most likely candidate for a video standard, H.264 is subject to patent disputes. On February 22, 2012, Microsoft Deputy General Counsel accused Google of trying to kill video on the web by holding back proprietary patents.
The industry is in a complete state of flux, as content owners search for a cross platform standard that is safe and secure and protects their intellectual property, while reaching the widest possible audience. On February 23, the Register noted that the standards body is exploring DRM solutions that a Google employee called unethical.
The reason that the industry is pursuing such complicated, invasive solutions is that currently, streaming is treated as a non standard appendage to the elegant, standards based HTML web format and because it is on the outside of the content owner’s web server, it is difficult to control and protect. DRM is much less intrusive and more effective when the video file is located on the publisher’s own web server in a single format.
Demos are still not publicly available, but can be arranged privately on site at Destiny’s offices by request.