Industry Leaders Form DASH Promoters Group

A diverse group of technology leaders announced the creation of the DASH Promoters Group, a new organization dedicated to driving the broad adoption of MPEG’s DASH (dynamic adaptive streaming over HTTP) standard, which was ratified in November 2011.

DASH is designed to address the dramatic growth of Internet video by defining a universal delivery format, which provides end users with the best possible video experience and dynamically adapts to changing network conditions as video streams to their devices. It incorporates all of the best elements of proprietary adaptive streaming solutions designed to solve the classic issues users see when they stream video: intermittent stalls, poor video quality under changing network conditions, and significant video start-up lag.

The membership of the DASH Promoters Group represents a significant cross section of major players across the multimedia and video delivery value chain. Microsoft, Netflix, and Qualcomm are the founding members. Other companies rounding out the membership at the time of this announcement include: Adobe, AEG Digital Media, Akamai, BuyDRM, Digital Rapids, Digital TV Labs, Dolby, EBU-UER, Elemental, Envivio, Ericsson, Harmonic, Intertrust, NDS, Packet Ship, Path1, RGB Networks, Samsung, Thomson, University of Klagenfurt, and ZiXi. With the formation of the Promoters Group and significant interest from a variety of companies, commercial DASH solutions are expected this year and the current members expect their ranks to swell.

As part of their strategy to accelerate DASH adoption, the Promoter’s Group will be demonstrating DASH streaming video at Mobile World Congress 2012 in Qualcomm’s exhibit (Fira Convention Center – Exhibit Hall 8, #8B53). The demo will showcase technology from several Promoters Group members and feature a live video stream encoded for DASH ISO-Base Live Profile by Harmonic, which will be ingested to Akamai’s Content Delivery Network and delivered to a Snapdragon processor-based mobile development platform from Qualcomm for playback.

“Demonstrating the live ingest of DASH content and the dynamic synthesis of DASH manifests and segments is the first step toward DASH leveraging the benefits of capacity, efficiency, and security brought by the Akamai Intelligent Platform,” said Will Law, principal architect, Media Division, Akamai. “Public interoperability demonstrations among encoders, media delivery systems and playback clients inspire market confidence for this new format. DASH brings the promise of convergence in media delivery, as well as improvements in encoding and distribution efficiency, rights management, and the overall consumer viewing experience.”

“Harmonic is very committed to the DASH technology,” said Thierry Fautier, senior director of convergence solutions at Harmonic Inc. “We believe DASH is the only way to effectively scale video over the Internet. We’re excited to be the first video company to demonstrate solutions based on DASH technology at Mobile World Congress.”

“The formation of this organization and the demonstration at Mobile World Congress are important milestones,” said Rob Chandhok, senior vice president of software strategy for Qualcomm and president of Qualcomm Internet Services. “Qualcomm played a central role in defining this standard, bringing its deep understanding of the constraints of mobile devices and the ever-changing dynamics of wireless data transmission to bear on the challenge of improving upon current streaming solutions. The fact that so many important companies are joining together to drive this standard into broad commercial adoption is particularly gratifying.”

In addition to promoting broad adoption of DASH, the Promoters Group will focus on aligning ongoing DASH standards development, promoting the use of common profiles across industry organizations, and facilitating interoperability tests and plug-fests to demonstrate the usability and completeness of the DASH standard.

“Adobe has a long history of supporting and actively promoting industry standards and open formats,” said Ashley Still, director of product management, Video Solutions at Adobe. “As the first company to support H.264 in a broad video delivery platform, we’re excited to help define and advance MPEG-DASH to become a standard that is enabled across all major platforms and devices.”

“Given Microsoft’s role in chairing the development in ISO/MPEG of the DASH standard, we are excited to see it become available to customers,” said Sudheer Sirivara, senior director – media services, on the Azure Application Platform Team at Microsoft. “We pioneered the development of adaptive streaming as a platform with Smooth Streaming, and over the last three years, we have learned a lot about doing adaptive streaming at scale across multiple customers and large online events. We look forward to bringing our learning to MPEG-DASH to help make it successful as a widely deployed standard.”

The DASH Promoters Group is also working toward recommended deployment configurations for DASH, informally called DASH-264. This would enable a minimum set of DASH requirements for the industry and help enable further commercialization of mobile devices that support it.

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