Adobe Unveils Flash Media Server 3 Product Line - InformationWeek

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Adobe Unveils Flash Media Server 3 Product Line

The latest version supports the video compression standard H.264 and AAC audio format used in Apple's iTunes software.

Adobe Systems on Tuesday introduced the Flash Media Server 3 product line, cutting prices on the software used to stream applications and Flash-encoded video to Web sites.

The platform upgrade, scheduled to ship in January, comprises a streaming server edition and an interactive server edition. The products are capable of nearly double the amount of streams than the previous FMS 2 platform, according to Adobe.

The latest platform supports the video compression standard H.264, which provides higher quality video. In addition, FMS 3 supports the AAC audio format used in Apple's iTunes software.

In general, FMS 3 provides the tools for streaming video and audio to Adobe's Flash player and Flash Lite, which is the player edition for mobile phones and other handheld gadgets. The platform is also expected to support the Adobe Media Player, scheduled to ship in early 2008. The Media Player is Adobe's first application built on its AIR software. AIR is a cross-operating system application runtime for rich Internet applications for the desktop. The runtime will be capable of showing TV programming from the Web, both online and offline, Adobe said.

The streaming server edition is for live or on-demand video streaming of news, concerts, sporting events, and other content. The interactive server edition builds on the capabilities of the streaming server to deliver a system that can handle a higher number of streams. The interactive server also has a plug-in architecture that can integrate with rights management systems for real-time access control.

Adobe's FMS 3 competes with Microsoft's Expression platform, which includes streaming video and audio software called the Encoder. The latter technology is part of the Expression Media edition, which includes management tools for digital assets.

Microsoft's Expression package is less expensive than Adobe's platform. With FMS 3, Adobe has cut prices, apparently to help maintain its leading position as a technology provider for streaming video on the Web. Flash is used to encode most of the video seen on the Web.

Pricing for Flash Media Server 2, launched more than two years ago, was based on configuration and number of licenses. Prices started at $4,500 for a two-CPU configuration. The Flash Media Interactive Server 3 is priced at $4,500 without the same restrictions. The Flash Media Streaming Server 3, which is for single-server deployments, is priced at $995.

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