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Fastly Blog

Introducing MPEG-DASH support: enhancing Video on Demand

Our engineering team has been hard at work enhancing our video on demand service over the past few months, and today we’re proud to announce that we’ve released support for MPEG-DASH streaming format packaging. This feature will let you simplify the delivery of video content to your end users and reduce the operational costs associated with providing an exceptional user experience.

Here’s some background on MPEG-DASH and why it matters to you.

A universal standard

With 89% of consumers regularly streaming TV, movies, or other long-form video content over the internet*, video delivery is becoming an increasingly important initiative for today’s enterprises. The quality of a video has a dramatic impact on engagement — consumer viewing time increases 66% with high-quality streams** — but how do you ensure you deliver great viewing experiences with an ever-increasing variety of devices, screen sizes, and network connections? Creating files that are optimized for different devices or connection speeds results in potentially dozens of different files to manage and store, which can lead to increased infrastructure costs. The technical challenges with video packaging and delivery are further magnified by the existence of different proprietary streaming formats (Adobe’s HDS, Apple’s HLS, etc.).

In an effort to reduce fragmentation created by more and more proprietary formats, an internationally recognized, open standard called MPEG Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (MPEG-DASH) was established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 2012. This standard drastically simplifies the delivery process, making it easier for you to provide high-quality streaming video to your users. MPEG-DASH truly is one universal streaming format to rule them all.

Supporting more formats for seamless VOD

Fastly’s existing Video On Demand (VOD) service provides you with the tools you need to efficiently package and accelerate the delivery of high-quality, on-demand videos. In an ongoing effort to enhance our VOD offering, we are now releasing packaging support for MPEG-DASH, which will help you offload origin traffic and serve your on demand videos from the edge.

With the addition of MPEG-DASH, Fastly now supports packaging of the most common streaming formats (HLS, HDS, and MPEG-DASH). Our DASH packaging supports the most widely adopted specification version (ISO/IEC 23009-1:2014) for videos transcoded with AVC / H264 video and AAC audio codecs. Our On-The-Fly-Packaging (OTFP) service dynamically packages only the segments that an end user requests — they can start watching the video before the entire file is packaged, without having to wait. The service is also fully capable of supporting different frame rates for standard-definition (SD), high-definition (HD), and ultra-high-definition (UHD) videos.

Additionally, our OTFP service now includes multi-language subtitles and closed captioning both in-band (CEA 608/708 specification) and out-of-band (WebVTT) to help you comply with FCC regulations for captioning internet videos.

Visit our Video on Demand page to learn more.

We’re extremely excited about our newly released MPEG-DASH packaging support and are confident it will help reduce the technical headaches and operational costs associated with delivering on-demand videos. If you’re tasked with packaging and delivering video to your end users, we encourage you to sign up for a Fastly account or contact sales@fastly.com to try our Video On Demand (VOD) service out for yourself. We look forward to hearing what you think.

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Sources:

*Digital Video and the Connected Consumer, Accenture, 2015

**How Consumers Judge Their Viewing Experience, Conviva, 2015
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Author

Ashok Lalwani | Senior Product Manager

Ashok Lalwani is Senior Product Manager at Fastly, where he is responsible for Fastly’s video and Load Balancer products. He has spent more than nine years developing, scaling, and managing large-scale end-to-end digital video platforms for both live and video on demand.

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