Smooth Streaming is the productized version of technology first used by Microsoft to deliver on-demand video of the 2008 Summer Olympics for NBCOlympics.com. By dynamically monitoring both local bandwidth and video rendering performance, Smooth Streaming optimizes playback of content by switching video quality in real-time.
Viewers with high bandwidth connections and modern computers can experience full HD 1080p quality streaming, while others with lower bandwidth or older computers receive the appropriate stream for their capabilities. The end result is simple: viewers across the board enjoy a compelling, uninterrupted streaming experience, which leads to extended audience engagement and increased revenue opportunities.
Smooth Streaming uses the simple but powerful concept of delivering small content fragments (typically two seconds worth of video) and verifying that each has arrived within the appropriate time and played back at the expected quality level. If one fragment does not meet these requirements, the next fragment delivered will be at a somewhat lower quality level. Conversely, when conditions allow it, the quality of subsequent fragments will be at a higher level.
This MSDN article walks you through the basics of Smooth Streaming, and explains how you can use the IIS Smooth Streaming Player Development Kit to build rich user experiences around video.
Examples of things you can do include scheduling external clips such as advertisements within a presentation, handling variable playback rates, and build composite manifests that lend themselves to robust editing scenarios.
Check it out!