Windows 10 for Phones to pack support for HLS and DASH

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Microsoft has showed off a handful of new features for Windows 10 for Phones. With Windows 10 for Phones, Microsoft has been adding all the little bits and pieces that are missing on Windows Phone right now. One of the most important new addition is support for popular streaming protocols such as HLS and DASH.

On their Developer pages Microsoft states:

“You can use the new AdaptiveMediaSource class to add adaptive video streaming capabilities to your apps. The object is initialized by pointing it to a streaming manifest file. Supported manifest formats include Http Live Streaming (HLS), Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH), and Smooth Streaming. Once the object is bound to a XAML media element, adaptive playback begins. Properties of the stream, such as the available, minimum, and maximum bitrates, can be queried and set where appropriate.”

HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) is an HTTP-based media streaming communications protocol created by Apple which breaks a stream into small chunks encoded at various compression levels and bitrate, allowing for streaming at a wide range of bandwidths.  Long time Windows Phone users will know that  BBC iPlayer did not work on Windows Phone due to the lack of Http Live Streaming, until the BBC developed a custom solution for our own OS.  Now with support for the technology it should simplify the creation of apps for Windows Phone by other services.

Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) is another adaptive bitrate streaming technique similar to Apple’s HLS, which enables high-quality streaming of media content delivered from HTTP web servers. Unlike Apple’s technology, however, its non-proprietary but is still not widely implemented.

One benefit of adding DASH support is that it is the same protocol used by Google for YouTube Live, which explains why those videos are now supported on Windows 10 phones.

Smooth Streaming is, of course, a Microsoft technology and  Windows Phone has been supporting for some time.

The net effect of supporting all these standards is a significant increase in the content available to Windows Phone users, and less effort by developers to support them, which should both result in a better experience for all involved.

What do you think of the latest addition of HLS and DASH? Discuss in the comment section below.

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