Microsoft launches Azure Media Services

Windows Azure logo
Windows Azure logo

Latest offering will allow customers to build a media platform simply and cost effectively, claims Redmond giant

Windows Azure Media Services, Microsoft’s cloud-based media creation and delivery product, has been released for general availability (GA).

The service, which was used by broadcasters to stream the London 2012 Olympics, will enable customers to “quickly build great, extremely scalable, end-to-end media solutions for streaming on-demand video to consumers on any device,” said Scott Guthrie, Microsoft developer division’s corporate vice president, who announced the GA release on his blog.

“For example, you can easily build a media service for delivering training videos to employees in your company, stream video content for your website, or build a premium video-on-demand service like Hulu or Netflix,” Guthrie said.

He describes Windows Azure Media Services as “Media Platform as a Service”, saying it eliminates the need for organisations to provision and manage their own custom infrastructure.

“Building a media solution that encodes and streams video to various devices and clients is a complex task. It requires hardware and software that has to be connected, configured and maintained,” said Guthrie.

“Windows Azure Media Services accomplishes this by providing you with a Media Platform as a Service that enables you to easily scale your business as it grows, and pay only for what you use.

“As a developer, you can control [it] by using REST APIs or .NET and Java SDKs to build a media workflow that can automatically upload, encode and deliver video,” he added.

Supported platforms and formats include Microsoft Windows 8 and Windows Phone, HTML5, Google Android OS, Apple iOS and Silverlight, amongst others.

Target customers include enterprise developers, software vendors, system integrators, video on demand services, network operators and broadcasters.

Guthrie also indicated that a live streaming service is in development.

“Now that on-demand streaming is enabled our focus will be on enabling live streaming as well.  We have this available in private preview today - public preview will be coming next,” Guthrie said.