All About the ‘Windows Azure Media Services’ by Microsoft

Posted on January 26, 2013 by Jake Anderson

Windows Azure Media Services is now on the general availability list, according to an announcement from Microsoft Corporation recently. It is a new service and registered users can use it to provide on-demand streaming video services to consumers. Streaming can be done on most devices and platforms, including Windows Phone, Windows 8, Android, iPhones, Flash and HTML5. Before it was made generally available, Windows Azure Media Services were available only to a selected few developers. The earliest use for Azure was for streaming the London 2012 Olympic Games, according to a Microsoft blog post.

Windows Azure Media Services

The different file-formats converters are all built into the services itself, so you don’t have to procure a different encoding software or infrastructure separately. Simply by sending REST you can make Azure automatically encode and scale it for you. This is unlike other software that needs the .NET or Java SKD. Some time back Microsoft had announced reserved capacity encoding which enables increased encoding tasks that can be done simultaneously, which they called SCALE. It was available within Windows Azure Portal. Azure has now increased capacity support to give customers on-demand streaming from the originating server.

A notable feature about Azure is doing away with the need for multiple format storage for different clients like iOS, PC and Xbox. The traditional way of doing it was to convert multi bit rate files like MP4 into multi bit rate HLS files and storing them for streaming them. As result of the new Azure services storage spaces can be reduced to one-third of normal requirement and resultant costs substantially. The advantage is streaming video providers now have to store their files in only format and the conversion is done on real-time basis when videos are streamed.

Those who are interested in developing unique players can visit this link . There are several players there that you can use it as it is or you can customize them to your requirements with SDK and player frame works.

Top on the benefits of using Azure is you can use it with full DVR for immediate replay during and after the end of a broadcast. The benefit is video watchers can watch a part of the broadcast that has since lapsed even as they keep a tab on current frames as they progress. It is also possible to have highlight markers so that videos can be replayed to have another look at key moments in the video. Still another use is the ability of Azure to archive just ended programs so that they can be made available on Video on demand services instantly on the server itself. This will ensure that no time for transition is lost.

As of now Windows Azure Media Service is in preview stage. You can find the intricate information on how to use it at WindowsAzure . The main topics they cover are:

  1. A definition on Azure Media Services and how they can help you build a robust system for delivering videos.
  2. The nitty-gritty of putting an Azure account for Media Service and start using it.
  3. The Art of setting up a Media Service Department.
  4. Methods on connecting to media services programmatically.
  5. Methods for encrypting video assets, uploading and storing them.
  6. Methods for checking work as they progress.
  7. Tips and tricks for encoding video assets.
  8. Tips for protecting ready-to-play assets and storing them safely on servers.
  9. Tips for delivering videos to customers.
  10. Methods for streaming videos to handheld devices.

You can try Azure for free now and it is available for 90 days. In the free trial are included: Compute, Websites, mobile services, relational database, SQL reporting, storage, data transfer, media service encoding, cdn, cache and service. To learn more about these freebies that come with the trial offer, visit here.

If you want a full comprehensive service you should visit this link . English language support is available 24/7, but for those who want it their native language it is restricted to business hours on normal working days. At the support page above you will also get information on different support plans. If you order service after January, 2013, you will have to pay 5% over and above the current billing rates.

About Jake Anderson

This is a guest post by Jake Anderson of, a site that offers savings and current information on services.

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