Azure raises the stakes!

Check it out! Microsoft today released the public previews of Live Streaming and Content Protection offerings as part of its Azure Media Services suite. At the same time, the company announced Azure Media Services Indexer is now generally available.

Microsoft raises the stakes with those using Amazon S3 and other cloud based streaming solutions by offering that they are the only provider that offers live streaming as part of an end-to-end workflow. Live Streaming enables its customers to stream their own HD quality live events, and create live linear and live to video on demand (VOD) experiences. The use 2014 Olympics and FIFA World Cup as their benchmarks of quality and ability to deliver a robust stream globally. The company points out this is the same solution that delivered the 2014 Olympic Winter Games and the 2014 FIFA World Cup to tens of millions of viewers globally. In other words, Azure customers are not getting some flaky new test service, but a tried and tested technology that has already met the scalability, uptime, and reliability requirements of massive live events.

Next up, Azure Media is getting a new Content Protection offering to protect customers’ premium video content. It features both static and dynamic encryption with first party PlayReady license delivery and an AES 128-bit key delivery service, as well as a scalable License Key Delivery service that is hosted in the cloud.

Faster encoding speeds are also now available via Basic, Standard, and Premium Encoding Reserved Units. These tiered Reserved Units let you tailor the encoding capability you pay for to the needs of your specific workflows. Microsoft is promising more cost-effective billing designed for premium media encoding and is billed based on output GBs. Finally, the Azure Media Indexer has hit general availability. The content extraction service can be used to enhance the “searchability” of audio and video files. It can quickly index your media library so you can later search by keywords, phrases, or clips, as well as create transcripts of audio files or the audio track of a video file.It’s also worth noting that Microsoft has struck new partnerships with Telestream’s Wirecast, NewTek’s TriCaster, Cires21 and the widely-used JW Player. You can check these in the Azure Management Portal.

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