Last week Scott Guthrie (ScottGu) provided a first look at the new .Net Web Technology Roadmap. It gives a great overview of the improvements and enhancements in ASP.net, Silverlight and IIS 7.0 however, it didn't mention the new features around media delivery or the release of the latest version of Windows Media Services.

As a supplement, I've provided some information about those technologies and how, as a web developer, you can take advantage of them in developing next generation, multi-media web applications.

 

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The new Internet Information Services 7.0 (IIS7) Media Pack provides dynamic per-file Bit Rate Throttling capability to provide intelligent progressive download.  This first Media Pack feature automatically detects the encoded bit rate of each file and controls how fast the first few seconds and then the rest of the stream is downloaded, thus saving network bandwidth while preserving the fast start-up experience for the end user.

In addition, the Bit Rate Throttling module provides control over download rates for any file type, not just media files.  While a number of media formats are pre-defined in the module, the module is fully extensible.  This allows a developer to add support for any media file type, and allows an administrator to easily add support for any data file type even Flash! ;)

Other features include

  • •Enhanced progressive download (on-demand) scalability
  • •Built-in “bit-rate” throttling, lowers download delivery costs
  • •Caching support for files >
    4GB, enables HD delivery
  • •SSL-based content delivery
  • •Simplified admin

 

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The latest release of Windows Media Services builds upon almost 10 years of experience in the market (Windows Media is currently the most widely used video format and delivery system in corporations and the Internet).

In addition to the enhanced scalability features, WMS now provides a slimmed down installation version and built in cache/proxy plugin support which makes administering and maintaining WMS much simpler and allows for easier scalability options.

Cache/Proxy Management

New in Windows Media Services 2008, the built-in WMS Cache/Proxy plug-in can be used to configure a Windows Media server either as a cache/proxy server or as a reverse proxy server so that it can provide caching and proxy support to other Windows Media servers. By caching and proxying your digital media content, you can reduce operating costs and provide a better viewing experience for users by conserving network bandwidth, decreasing network-imposed latency, and offsetting the load on the origin server.

Server Core Installation

The Server Core installation option does not install non-essential services and applications and provides base server functionality. While the Server Core installation option is a fully functioning mode of the operating system supporting one of the designated roles, it does not include the server graphic user interface (GUI). Because Server Core installations include only what is required for the designated roles, a Server Core installation will typically require less maintenance and fewer updates, as there are fewer components to manage.

One of the great things about this is that you can use the server core options along with the extensibility features of WMS to create single purpose "appliances" that can combine the tasks of several components into one. This could be applied to a number of broadcast automation and advanced AV application scenarios. For more information about installing Windows Media Services on a Server Core installation, see Update the Windows Media Server Platform.

Other features include -

  • •2x scalability vs. Windows Media
    Services 2003
  • Advanced Fast Start
  • Play While Archiving
  • Advanced Fast Forward and Rewind
  • Broadcast Autostart
  • and more...

 

Summary -

Taking into account the entire .Net Web Technology Roadmap; with the addition of the Media Pack for IIS, the latest release of Windows Media Services and Silverlight as a cross-browser, cross-platform client, Microsoft is providing one of the most (*if not the most*) complete platforms for developing and delivering next generation web applications.

For more information check out the links below and the complete resources page. I've also attached the latest presentation I gave on Windows Media and Silverlight.

IIS Media Pack -

WMS 2008-

 

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