What is Adobe Media Server?

Adobe Media Server 5 is a software-based streaming server that enables companies to deliver video and customised communications applications across desktops, connected TVs, tablets and iOS and Android™ devices.

What are the differences between the various Adobe Media Server editions?

Adobe Media Server comes in three different editions or versions: Standard, Professional and Extended. The Standard edition is the lowest priced version, providing functionality for smaller video streaming applications. The Professional edition is provides functionality for larger scale video streaming and communications applications. The Extended edition, the premium version of the software contains advanced communications features and no licence capacity limits. See the buying guide for a detailed comparison.

What are the system requirements needed to run Adobe Media Server?

Windows

  • 3.2 GHz Intel® Pentium® 4 processor (Dual processor Intel Xeon® or faster recommended)
  • Microsoft® Windows Server® 2008 R2 (64 bit) and 2012 R2 (64 bit)
  • 64-bit operating systems: 4 GB of RAM (8 GB recommended)
  • 1 Gbps Ethernet card recommended (multiple network cards and 10 Gbps card also supported)

Intel® Pentium®, Intel Centrino®, Intel Xeon® or Intel Core™ Duo processor
Intel® Pentium®, Intel Centrino®, Intel Xeon® or Intel Core™ Duo processor

Microsoft® Windows® 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista® or Windows 7
16 MB of RAM (32 MB recommended)

Intel® Pentium®, Intel Centrino®, Intel Xeon® or Intel Core™ Duo processor

Microsoft® Windows® 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista® or Windows 7
16 MB of RAM (32 MB recommended)

Linux

  • 3.2 GHz Intel® Pentium® 4 processor (Dual processor Intel Xeon® or faster recommended)
  • Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® Server 6.6 (64 bit) or CentOS Linux 6.6 (64 bit)
  • 64 bit operating systems: 4 GB of RAM (8 GB recommended)
  • 1 Gbps Ethernet card recommended (multiple network cards and 10 Gbps card also supported)

Is Adobe Media Server available as a hosted or cloud based service?

Yes, the server is available from many of the leading Content Delivery Networks as well as available via Amazon Web Services.

Who will be interested in Adobe Media Server?

Adobe Media Server will appeal to enterprises, broadcasters and media distribution companies with large video libraries that need to be published across a diverse device landscape, as well as enterprises that have a desired for bespoke interactive communications applications. Adobe Media Server also supports the FCC's requirements for closed captions and extends the protection options for native iOS apps.


Product configuration

Why would I host my own Adobe Media Server vs. using a CDN for premium video streaming?

Streaming from within your network infrastructure is potentially more cost effective. You can control access and delivery channels, plus manage the load on your network with the origin/edge configuration of Adobe Media Server. You can also deploy deep authentication and interactive solutions that content delivery networks (CDNs) do not support. In addition, you can support more advanced media delivery options including multicast and multicast fusion using encrypted RTMFP.

Does Adobe Media Server support IPV6?

Yes, IPV6 has been supported since Flash Media Server version 3 (2008).

Why would I choose Adobe Media Server over clone servers?

  • On-demand HTTP Dynamic Streaming — You can package F4F files in real time from existing MP4 or FLV video files, simplifying the workflow for HTTP delivery and eliminating the need for prepackaging content for Flash Player.
  • Easy-to-use content protection — More than 20 CDNs worldwide push over 800 petabytes of video data through Adobe Media Server each year.
  • Stronger protection — You can protect adaptive bitrate video on-demand and live streams at the same time to Flash Player-compatible and iOS devices. Add even more digital rights management (DRM) protection with Adobe Access, with consistent support across desktops, devices and select connected TVs.
  • More secure multicast, including multicast fusion — You can support higher quality video in your enterprise without affecting your network, now with enhancements such as stream replication, server-side recording and rebroadcast.
  • A more robust experience — With applications like Adobe Connect™ and partners like Akamai constantly driving the technology, Adobe Media Server has real-world deployments that are robust and difficult to duplicate.
  • Live video — Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder supports H.264 live streaming and DVR functionality. Streaming via clone servers is not supported with Flash Media Live Encoder.
  • Peer-assisted networking — You can reduce your bandwidth costs by using Flash Player to help distribute video and data.
  • UDP communication — This feature provides lower latency for real-time communication applications.
  • Absolute timecode — This feature enables improved synchronisation options.
  • SWF file verification — An important part of protected content and communication delivery is to make sure your SWF files are not compromised.

Are CDNs required to support Adobe Media Server?

No. Adobe Media Server can be configured as a remote origin server for HTTP delivery. If you don't want to run your own origin, Adobe is working closely with CDN partners to enable HTTP and RTMP services. Contact individual partners to learn more about their plans.

Does Adobe Media Server support HTML5?

Yes. Adobe Media Server can deliver content to HTML5 on iOS devices using the HLS streaming format. For other browsers supporting HTML5, you can use Adobe Media Server to deliver progressively.

How many servers do I need for HTTP streaming?

On-demand packaging in Adobe Media Server can support the packaging of hundreds of files at the same time. Once a file has been packaged, it will remain in the HTTP cache for the next person. When used with HTTP caching technologies (such as Varnish or SQUID) and CDNs, scalability increases dramatically. If you are streaming only a few files to a large audience, the demand on Adobe Media Server is low. If you are streaming a large number of different files to an audience, the impact on the server increases. For iOS streaming, there is no additional impact on the server capacity. For streaming with encryption, there is an impact on the number of concurrent files that can be packaged.

Is Adobe Media Server scalable?

Yes, Adobe Media Server supports RTMP edge caching configurations. The origin and edge architecture provides the caching services required for large and distributed installations. You can also use both of these editions to split live streams to multiple locations to improve load balancing.

RTMFP applications are now more easily scalable with the new introduction forwarding features that allow multiple servers to be used to manage your P2P group.

Are Adobe Media Server applications and configurations compatible with Flash Media Server 3, 3.5, 4 or 4.5?

Adobe Media Server has full backward compatibility with versions 3, 3.5, 4 and 4.5. Customised C++ plug-ins that were written for 3 or 3.5 will need to be recompiled for deployment in 64 bit:

  • Client-side ActionScript®: You should test your application to help ensure compatibility.
  • Server-side ActionScript: Limited changes have been made to the server-side APIs.
  • Configuration files: Configuration files have had significant changes. Back up your previous-version configuration files and transfer to version 4.5 configurations.
  • RTMP origin/edge: Mixed version 3.x and version 4.5 origin/edge servers are not supported.

Where can I get support and maintenance upgrades?

Adobe has an agreement with Veriskope, a provider of video streaming solutions for the broadcast and entertainment industries, to provide continued sales and support for Adobe Media Server, Real-Time Messaging Protocol SDK and Flash Media Live Encoder.

Veriskope is the exclusive reseller of these products and will service customers who have purchased them from Veriskope, Adobe or any other party. Customers who want to purchase, renew or upgrade Adobe Media Server, Real-Time Messaging Protocol SDK, Flash Media Live Encoder and/or support for these products should use this link to contact Veriskope.


Video streaming

What options do I have to stream video with Adobe Media Server?

Adobe Media Server offers multiple ways to deliver video. Each method has unique benefits.

Streaming method

Description

RTMP Dynamic Streaming (Unicast)

High-quality, low-latency media streaming with support for live and on-demand and full adaptive bitrate

RTMPE (encrypted RTMP)

Real-time encryption of RTMP

RTMFP (multicast)

IP multicast encrypted with support for both ASM or SSM multicast for multicast-enabled network

RTMFP (P2P)

P2P live video delivery between Flash Player clients

RTMFP (multicast fusion)

IP and P2P working together to support higher QoS within enterprise networks

HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS)

Enabling on-demand and live adaptive bitrate video streaming of standards-based MP4 media over regular HTTP connections

Protected HTTP Dynamic Streaming (PHDS)

Real-time encryption of HDS

HTTP Live Streaming (HLS)

HTTP streaming to iOS devices or devices that support the HLS format; optional encryption with AES128

Does Adobe Media Server support HD streaming?

Yes. High-definition video can be delivered via Flash Player using either the VP6 or the H.264 codec. H.264 can deliver great quality at lower bitrates. HD delivery is supported in both live and on-demand over all protocols. HD video delivery is best used with dynamic streaming (RTMP or HTTP). HD video is streamed with either a 480 p or 720 p frame size with bitrates as high as 2-3Mbps.

What is dynamic streaming?

Adobe Media Server supports dynamic streaming with media encoded in multiple bitrates. Dynamic streaming lets you switch smoothly between these video files to help ensure a high-quality experience for the video consumer. Dynamic streaming can be used with RTMP or HTTP to Flash Player or HLS delivery to Apple iOS.

What is multicast?

Adobe Media Server supports IP multicast streaming and recording for live video to Flash Player 10.1 or later. Multicast is a highly optimised method to deliver high-quality video to a very large audience with virtually no impact on the server as demand increases.

Adobe Media Server can generate a multicast broadcast from any live RTMP stream or a linear stream from a server-side playlist. Flash Player 10.1 and later clients do not need a server connection to receive the stream. Multicast is very useful for large-scale broadcasts within enterprise networks.

Video players developed with OSMF will have full support for IP multicast.

Source-specific multicast (SSM) lets you generate and consume both SSM and any-source multicast (ASM), enabling stream replication, server-side recording or rebroadcast over separate multicast channels or RTMFP groups. SSM support reduces the demand on the network resources while also improving the security of the streams.

Standard progressive delivery over HTTP seems cheaper. Is this true?

Streaming video through Adobe Media Server can support more concurrent high-quality streams per server than progressive download because streaming serves only the portion of the video that's requested. This can potentially save you substantial bandwidth charges — which could more than offset the cost of Adobe Media Server licensing. Adobe Media Server can also determine the most efficient stream to deliver to a client — either before streaming even starts with native bandwidth detection or during playback using RTMP Dynamic Streaming.

What are the benefits of HTTP Dynamic Streaming?

HTTP Dynamic Streaming enables you to leverage existing caching infrastructures (for example, CDNs, ISPs, office caching, home networking). This format enables broadcasters to operate a remote origin to delivery through multiple CDNs and optimise delivery to mobile devices.

How do I prepare my content for HTTP Dynamic Streaming?

Adobe Media Server supports real time packaging for HTTP Dynamic Streaming. No prepackaging is required for existing MP4 assets.

For the optimal user experience, dynamic streaming (both HTTP and RTMP) requires that:

  • The different versions or pieces of content are synchronised (the video timelines must match)
  • Audio or other data in each content stream is synchronised with the video data in that stream

To provide users with the smoothest experience, when you encode the content, follow these recommendations:

  • Ensure that the video keyframe interval (keyframe frequency) and frame rate are consistent across the different versions of content. A shorter keyframe interval lets the server switch streams more quickly, which means the client can have a smaller playback buffer.
  • Use a consistent audio bitrate.
  • Use a consistent audio sample rate as much as possible. For low-end encodings, you can save bandwidth by using mono audio rather than stereo.

Can I stream to mobile devices?

Adobe Media Server offers full support for all streaming and communication protocols including application-level multicast using peer-assisted networking and Protected HTTP Dynamic Streaming. It also supports protected adaptive bitrate streaming to Apple iOS using the HLS format.

What's the difference between RTMP and HTTP streaming?

RTMP streaming establishes an encrypted session between the Flash Player client and Adobe Media Server to deliver video and real-time communications. RTMP requires a server connection for every stream being delivered. RTMP scaling is achieved by chaining multiple servers together to cache video content. RTMP is compatible with applications developed using Flash Player or AIR.

HTTP streaming does not maintain a persistent connection. Video is delivered by a series of HTTP requests from the player that is controlled by manifest files. Video is broken up into a series of smaller files (called segments or fragments) that are cached in the network to reach large scale. Protection is applied when files are packaged into the smaller fragments or segments.

Adobe Media Server supports two HTTP file formats: HLS for iOS devices and HDS for Flash Player compatible devices. HTTP streaming is optimised for mobile delivery because of its caching features.

What's the difference between HLS and HDS?

HLS is a file container format optimised for Apple devices. The container supports H.264/AAC-encoded video/audio and is based on MPEG-2 transport stream (TS). All video delivered to iOS (including AIR for IOS) must use this format.

HDS is a file container format optimised for applications that run in Flash Player. The container also supports H.264/AAC-encoded video/audio and is based on MPEG-4 TS. HDS is not supported on AIR for iOS.

Why are H.264 and AAC+ codecs so important?

Adobe provides one of the leading online digital media delivery platforms with full support for standards-based H.264. Flash Player supports all encoding profiles of H.264; the codec is also built into the hardware of many mobile devices and can provide optimal viewing experiences without draining the battery.

You can leverage the same video and audio assets across multiple devices including iOS and those compatible with Flash Player, which helps reduce your storage and content management. Flash Player 9 and later supports the playback of formats derived from the MPEG-4 container such as F4V, MP4, M4A, MOV, MP4V, 3GP and 3G2 if they contain H.264 video and/or HE-AAC audio. iOS and the HLS format support MPEG-2 TS with H.264/AAC codecs.

How many servers do I need for RTMP (Unicast)?

There is no software limit set on the number of simultaneous RTMP streams you can serve on Adobe Media Server, but your configuration, server hardware and infrastructure may cause limitations in capacity.

What can the embedded HTTP server do?

By default, Adobe Media Server installs an embedded HTTP server. This allows you to deploy SWF and HTML files from the same computer on which it is installed. You can also deploy JPEG, GIF and many other file types. The HTTP server can also be used to deliver video and audio content via HTTP if RTMP fails. The Apache server has been preconfigured as an origin server for HTTP Dynamic Streaming, allowing you to deliver video on-demand or live adaptive bitrate video using the embedded server.

Why does Adobe Media Server use RTMP and not Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP)?

RTMP enables multidirectional communication from Flash Player to Adobe Media Server. This protocol allows the client to control the stream delivery quality and security. RTMP has different modes that include two real-time encryption modes: SSL (RTMPS) and RTMPE. It also allows multiway interactive applications to send data back and forth. RTSP is an insecure, one-way protocol. With RTSP, alternate solutions and workflows are needed to protect your content (such as digital rights management). In addition, multidirectional communication is not possible with RTSP. For multicast delivery, RTMFP is fully encrypted transport over UDP and will operate in the same network configurations as RTSP.

How can I support multicast over wide area network (WAN) connections?

You can deliver multicast to multiple offices that are not connected with a multicast-enabled WAN link. This can be done using the multipoint publishing feature, enabling Adobe Media Server to subscribe to an RTMP stream from the ingest server and rebroadcast in the local area network (LAN). For networks with a multicast-enabled WAN connection, no additional servers are required.

What is multicast ingest?

Multicast ingest enables Adobe Media Server to consume, record and republish multicast streams to additional multicast networks — or drop down to Unicast, HTTP Dynamic Streaming or even HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) for Apple devices. This feature supports IP multicast, peer-assisted networking and multicast fusion and allows you to replicate live video more efficiently within your network.

Does Adobe Media Server support multiple camera angle switching?

Yes, you can develop solutions that dynamically switch live or prerecorded video streams.

How does Adobe's P2P support firewall traversal?

Adobe Media Server can negotiate port blocking, either by “tunneling” streams via RTMPT or by automatically defaulting to HTTP delivery if streaming is not permitted by the client's connection. The result is a smooth viewing experience for all clients. For peer-assisted networking, RTMFP has the ability to traverse most firewalls and network address translations (NATs).

Can I stream to Apple devices as well as Flash Player compatible devices?

Yes, Adobe Media Server enables delivery of adaptive bitrate streams at the same time to iOS. You can stream to the Safari browser using an HTML5 player or an Objective C ("native") application. You can also use Adobe AIR for iOS to develop a rich video experience on iOS. HLS streams delivered to iOS devices can be protected with AES128 encryption. Both live and on-demand streaming to iOS can use the integrated HTTP origin.

Can I stream to Adobe AIR for iOS?

Yes, you can stream video from Adobe Media Server to AIR for iOS with full hardware acceleration support for optimal battery life. Video must be streamed using Apple's HLS format to use the hardware acceleration feature.

How do I integrate advertising with my video?

There are many ways to integrate advertising with your video content. If you have a customised player, you can use ActionScript to intersperse ads in any way you like. You can even integrate with an ad server to use its tracking and management features. Easily integrate with third-party ad networks and APIs by utilising the OSMF plug-in architecture.

Real-time ad insertions or synchronised data cues can also be added to customised video players using the customisable HTTP packaging APIs in Adobe Media Server, enhancing the delivery and monetisation of video to Flash Player compatible and iOS devices.

How do I deliver live video?

The best way to deliver live video is by broadcasting through Flash Media Live Encoder, free software that allows you to stream and archive video from almost any source, ranging from webcams to high-end capture cards. It supports VP6 or H.264 codecs and connects to Adobe Media Server, which then broadcasts your stream to connected clients. Alternatively, you can broadcast directly from Flash Player, which is ideal for videoconferencing. Flash Player 11 now supports higher quality video with H.264 encode. Download Flash Media Live Encoder for Mac OS and Windows®.

Can I use dynamic streaming with live video?

Yes. Dynamic streaming supports live video for both RTMP and HTTP streaming. Flash Media Live Encoder 3.2 can be used to create multiple-bitrate encoding.

I have existing Windows Media content. Can I stream that to Flash Player?

Yes. You will need to convert your Windows Media content to one of the formats supported by Flash Player and Adobe AIR. Numerous third-party providers support such formats.


Content protection

How does Adobe Media Server protect from stream theft?

Streaming media using RTMP or RTMFP, including multicast, helps protect your content because media is not cached by the client. Streaming media using HTTP progressive, HTTP Dynamic Streaming or HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) can be cached and requires additional protection measures.

Stream encryption is enabled with RTMPE and RTMFP protocols.

HTTP Dynamic Streaming can also be encrypted in real time using either Adobe Access or Protected HTTP Dynamic Streaming with a simple configuration.

SWF file verification (with RTMP) helps ensure that the video player accessing your video is actually your video player and not a modified or spoofed version of it. SWF file verification is also supported with content protected by Adobe Access.

HLS streaming to iOS devices can use protected HLS streaming and key delivery over SSL. For more information, see the white paper.

How do I implement encryption and SWF file verification to help protect my content?

Implementing RTMPE is easy — you only need to specify it in your connection string (for example, rtmpe://myFMSserver.com/vod). You can also choose SSL, which requires a certificate. RTMPE does not require a certificate.

To implement SWF file verification for RTMP connections, place a copy of the SWF or Adobe AIR file on Adobe Media Server. Easy configuration options, including support inside the C++ plug-ins, help you to integrate with your network environment.

To implement SWF file verification for Protected HTTP Dynamic Streaming , use the SWFHasher tool installed with Adobe Media Server and place the SWF hash into the same directory as your video files. For more information, see the white paper.

RTMFP used for peer-assisted networking is always encrypted.

Does Adobe Media Server support domain checking?

Yes, you can use domain whitelists/blacklists to further protect your content from unauthorised access. Multicast streams do not require server connections, so more advanced access controls will be required in the network or at the client.

What other content protection does Adobe Media Server offer?

Using Adobe Media Server with server-side ActionScript, you can verify that the client is authorised to play the video through a variety of metrics, including referrer, domain, IP address or even Flash Player version. ActionScript can be used to manage requests made to Adobe Media Server. You can protect SWF files from being reuse or modified when using RTMP and help prevent unauthorised connections with SWF file verification.

C++ can also be used to manage authorisation by creating customised plug-ins for Adobe Media Server. Plug-ins can be used to closely integrate into your network. You can also leverage databases or user management services such as LDAP using plug-ins. With Adobe Media Server, you can create C++ access plug-ins (such as the Authentication plug-in for Flash Media Live Encoder).

Media packaged with Adobe Access protection can also be streamed with Adobe Media Server.

Where can I read more about content protection features?

For more details about these and other methods for protecting your streams, read the security white paper or find out more about Adobe Access protection by visiting the Adobe Access product page.


Media communication developer

Can I develop communication applications for iOS?

Yes. Using AIR for IOS, you can develop video chat and voice chat applications that interact with Flash Player or AIR clients running on other devices or desktops. You can use RTMP or RTMFP protocols for communication and you can use the built-in camera on iOS devices.

Does Adobe Media Server support video chat on mobile devices?

Yes, Adobe Media Server can be used to enable rich video chat applications with Flash Player 10.1 on devices that support camera and microphone. You can build apps to enable communication with desktop players or integrated communication solutions. Video chat is enabled with the multidirectional RTMP or the new peer-assisted networking protocol, RTMFP.

What protocols support communication?

Communication protocols supported with Adobe Media Server include RTMP, RTMFP and SIP. For SIP communication, you will need to install the add-on Adobe Media Gateway.

Can I stream video from the same server as my interactive application?

Yes, Adobe Media Server supports both simple streaming and customised interactive applications over multiple protocols simultaneously.

What do I need to know to build interactive applications?

If you program for Adobe Flash Professional or Adobe Flash Builder® software and know ActionScript 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0, getting started with Adobe Media Server is easy. You'll use some additional communication classes utilised in both client-side and server-side code in your interactive applications. Explore an extensive list of helpful articles and documentation on the resources page.

What are some examples of communication applications?

Interactive applications can range from simple streaming video or audio playlists to full-featured, multiway videoconferencing applications with access control, multiple rooms, text chat, shared whiteboards and more. Other examples include:

  • Video chat applications
  • Video messaging applications
  • VoIP applications
  • Multiplayer games
  • Guest books
  • Video messaging
  • Surveys
  • Webcam snapshot sharing
  • Stream recording and listing
  • Video bug overlays
  • Video uploading and sharing
  • And much more

Some sample applications, complete with all source code, are available in the Adobe Media Server Developer Centre. These samples can give you a better idea of what can be done with Adobe Media Server and help get you started quickly with your own applications.

For even more inspiration and useful code examples, try the Flash Media Interactive Server Feature Explorer, a cross-platform desktop application built on Adobe AIR. This application hosts more than 30 examples of streaming and multiway communication solutions, including basic server connection examples, complex video streaming and authentication routines. You can also learn to build video messaging and VoIP solutions.

How can I learn how to build interactive applications?

A rich development community and a wide variety of resources are available for getting started with interactive applications. The best place to start is the Adobe Media Server Developer Centre.

What is the development environment?

Adobe Media Server applications can be developed just like any other rich media content, using either Flash Builder or Flash Professional CS6, with the final application being deployed as a SWF file. Server-side code can be written in any text editor or using Flash Builder or Flash Professional.

How can I troubleshoot interactive applications?

Adobe provides numerous tools and resources to help ensure your streaming and interactive applications are robust. The Adobe Media Server administration console lets you monitor your server and is also a server-side debugger. A rich administration API lets you build your own customised unit test applications. The interactive debugger in Flash Professional also helps. In addition, Adobe maintains an up to date Knowledgebase on Adobe.com.

How do I enable data push?

Data push, a unique and powerful feature of Adobe Media Server, is enabled using remote shared objects. Remote shared objects can contain complex data that is shared among connected clients. Whenever the data is changed, all connected clients are notified of the change event and the data is automatically updated. This allows you to create rich real-time applications with features such as stock updates, live chat, shared whiteboards and more. For RTMFP applications, you can use directed routeing and posting functions of the peer-to-peer group to send data messages and enable robust scaling with new distributed peer groups.

Can I record H.264 streams on the server?

Yes, Flash Media Interactive Server 3.5 or later supports recording of streams using the H.264 codec, directly on the server. Archive high-quality live streams so you can quickly deploy the content on-demand after your live event is over and use the free F4V flattener utility to prepare your file for video editing using Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. New multicast enhancements in Adobe Media Server enable server-side recording of multicast streams.