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2016
nhoch

IBC Has it All

Posted by nhoch Sep 23, 2016

In the beginning of this month we’ve travelled to Amsterdam to attend the biggest broadcast and media show in Europe: IBC.

 

With bags of team spirit we started IBC on Friday morning, Sept 9 at our brand new stand, all in lime green.

 

 

Talking to visitors and walking through the massive exhibition with 14 different halls we could definitely see some consistent themes:

 

Long live OTT

Broadcasters and video providers of all shapes and sizes are launching hybrid platforms with some element of OTT/streaming delivery, whether live or on-demand/catch-up.
Everyone wants to be close(r) to the consumer, which is driving the growth in OTT platforms. Combined with more mature technology and business models, direct-to-consumer services are proliferating, even though there are still many challenges to resolve.

 

Security 

It was apparent that OTT provides a great opportunity for broadcasters and multi-channel TV providers reach a broader audience who want to watch video on a wider and wider variety of devices. However, digital video has to be protected from piracy and theft. People visiting our stand were keen to know not only how to protect websites from incoming attacks, but also how to protect video streams from unauthorized use.

 

Transcoding

OTT providers know they need to reach the wide variety of devices that their audience use to consume content. Creating workflows to transcode video to all the necessary formats can be complex to configure and manage. Providers are looking to companies such as Limelight to simplify the transcoding and delivery of these necessary formats.


From speaking with other exhibitors, it appears there’s a continued lack of standardisation of video formats across multiple devices. This is not just a short term issue, but will continue to be relevant in the future. Solutions to challenge of transcoding (MMD-OD and MMD-Live) were positively well received by companies we spoke to.

 

HTML Players

There’s a movement by browsers to manage a slow deprecation of Flash. OTT providers who have used primarily Flash encoded videos are seeking out an alternative for their websites. An HTML5 player is the path forward for providers to deliver their content to all browsers and all devices. 

 

Virtual Reality 

It was hard to escape virtual and augmented reality and 360 degree video, both across most halls and especially in the Future Zone, where users strapped into VR glasses were screaming over excitedly at a rides simulator.

That said, trends like 8k, VR, Green Screen (specifically for Virtual Studios) were exciting to see, whereas the real buzz was around 4k and 360° videos.

 

 

And we must not forget to mention, our prize draw to win a GoPro camera, this got lots of attention:  slip on one of our lime green T-shirts, smile and upload the photo to your Twitter account #LLNW. Yesterday we announced the lucky winner. He was thrilled and tweeted: “That smile was easy, facing the magnificent team of llnw!”

 

In total there were over 55,700 attendees over six IBC days from more than 160 countries. It was a new IBC record. The exhibition featured over 1,800 exhibitors, including 249 companies at their first IBC.


Our guys loved the show and we are already planning for next year.

You might have heard talk about the demise of Flash for video playback, and wonder how that affects your video content hosted on the Limelight Video Platform. As a valued Limelight customer, we want you to have the most up to date information so you can plan and act in preparation for what’s to come.

 

First, some facts. If you have heard rumors that Chrome and Firefox will block all Flash content, to paraphrase Mark Twain, “the report of Flash’s death was an exaggeration.” The Chrome and Firefox blogs (references below) describe how Flash will be phased out of the browsers over a planned schedule, not cut off dramatically.

 

In the Google Chrome blog, the change in Google Chrome regarding the Flash plugin will take place in two phases. Chrome version 53, out in September 2016, will block Flash content that does not show video. This kind of Flash content is generally used for advertising tracking, and is not related to video playback.

 

Some time in December, Chrome version 55 will be released. This version will block Flash content of all kinds, except on websites that are primarily Flash content. That’s good news for users of the LVP Media Library, which is primarily Flash. However, on sites that mix HTML and Flash, end users will be asked to click to load the content. Firefox is following the same path and roughly the same timeline. Internet Explore and Microsoft Edge both continue to support Flash.

 

If you have a site that is not “primarily Flash content,” your player and your content will continue to be playable at least until December 2016. Beyond that it will at a minimum require a click from users to play your content.

 

 

In anticipation of these changes, we highly recommend you begin your migration planning away from the Flash player. Limelight has all the encoding tools you need plus a brand new video player designed specifically to work using the modern HTML5 media playback standards.

 

Here’s a recommended series of steps you can take to ensure a smooth transition to a post-Flash world:

 

  1. Set your encoding profile to include HLS and DASH, in addition to Flash, for your new content. If you are only encoding your content in Flash, eventually you will need to change strategy and we recommend changing now. A combination of HLS and DASH encodings at different bitrates will give you the broadest coverage of browsers and devices. Your users will be able to view your content on whatever device they happen to be on. (Note: if you don’t know how to set your encoding profile, contact your Account Manager for assistance.)
  2. Plan the conversion of your existing content to HLS and DASH. If you have a library of content that is encoded for Flash playback, you will need to convert it to HLS and DASH for the post-Flash world. Large libraries will take time to convert, so plan and start early. Work with your Account Manager to determine the best method to convert your content.
  3. Begin the conversion of your player to an HTML5 compatible player. There are several popular players on the market to choose from. Some are free to use, open source players, and others are available to enhanced features and support from commercial companies. And of course, you can use Limelight’s new Smart Embed (coming soon). You want to be sure your content is ready (see steps 1 and 2) before changing your player.
  4. Plan to start testing the new Limelight Smart Embed when it becomes available. The new version of the Smart Embed skips Flash altogether, instead calling for DASH and HLS encodings depending on the user’s browser and device. We will continue to support our Flash based embed in the foreseeable future, for those who need it. You will find both in the Media Library under the “Embed Code” tab.

 

December may seem far away, but given how fast the browsers automatically update their user base, it is best to start planning now for your move away from Flash. Thank you for being a Limelight customer – let us know how we can make this transition smooth for you.

 

References: 

Chrome Blog – “Flash and Chrome” Tuesday, August 9, 2016

https://chrome.googleblog.com/2016/08/flash-and-chrome.html

 

Mozilla Blog – “Reducing Adobe Flash Usage in Firefox”, July 20, 2016

https://blog.mozilla.org/futurereleases/2016/07/20/reducing-adobe-flash-usage-in-firefox/

 

Microsoft Edge Developer Blog – “Putting Users in Control of Flash” April 7, 2016

https://blogs.windows.com/msedgedev/2016/04/07/putting-users-in-control-of-flash/#XpiW6LE7Dsk5G7fx.97

athompson

HTTP/2 and You

Posted by athompson Sep 20, 2016

There’s been a new iPhone released every year since 2007, sometimes two per year. In that same timeframe, there’ve been 17 iOS releases. This has enabled us to be connected to the web 24/7/365. Forever. I wonder what my phone is doing as I’m typing this…sigh.

 

Yet the protocol used to exchange communications over the web, HTTP, didn't change one bit from 1997 to 2015. Last year HTTP/2 was standardized and it brought a much-needed facelift to how we communicate on the Internet. However, it's adoption has been slow (for reasons we'll get to in another post).

 

HTTP/2 aims to help improve the performance of our web. For people who live their life down to the millisecond, you can rejoice. Here are a couple of ways it’s making things quicker for us.

 

HTTP/2 removes the need for front-end acceleration/optimization technologies

 

In 2012 there were a number of companies (Strangeloop, Aptimize, Blaze & AcceloWeb) that all focused on optimizing the loading of web pages to get content to end users more quickly. Google open-sourced a now-deprecated protocol, SPDY that had the same goal. It was a hot market at the time and each one them got acquired (Strangeloop was acquired by Radware, Aptimize by Riverbed, Blaze by Akamai, and AcceloWeb by Limelight Networks). Native to HTTP/2 is a lot of the core functionality of these front-end acceleration products like Image Spriting, Concatenating Java script & CSS files, Domain Sharding, and Inlining Assets.

 

Multiple assets can use a single TCP connection

 

In HTTP, it was a 1:1 relationship. For web pages that have 100+ assets per page that means 100+ TCP connections needed to be opened. With images, java script and CSS all being used more, latency will go down as you can access that content over 1 TCP connection shaving milliseconds off load times.

 

As more and more sites are built on top of HTTP/2 I’m excited to see the potential performance gains we experience in the clicks to come. 

 

This post was originally published by Andrew on LinkedIn. 

We are excited to share with you that today we announced our new Limelight Web Application Firewall (WAF), a cloud-based security service that detects and stops application attacks in real time, protecting websites and web applications from common threats and specialized attacks. The service is integrated with our global CDN, providing a secure, distributed architecture that delivers cost-effective protection for web applications without sacrificing performance for security.

For more details you can read a datasheet here or press release herehttp://investors.limelightnetworks.com/press-release/limelight-networks-adds-web-application-firewall-service-security-solutions-portfolio