My latest article, How to do Dynamic Streaming with Flash Media Server, has been published at streamingmedia.com. There’s a page with code examples and demos of dynamic streaming on this site, as well.
I’d expected that writing this article was going to be an easy, quick process of explaining how to encode multiple files and set up a playlist in a couple of popular Flash video players (JW FLV Player 5.1 and Flowplayer 3.1.5). My problems started when I decided to actually test out the process as documented by Adobe and the player vendors by creating actual bandwidth fluctuations and watching the behavior of the player.
Imagine my surprise when things didn’t always work very well. I started to wonder if the dynamic streaming technology wasn’t really ready for prime-time. Some research led to finding and testing the 1080p player (from flashstreamworks.com), which had simply outstanding switching performance – on the same videos from the same server. So the technology definitely works. [whew!]
After much research, talking to the vendors, and more testing, I came up with some guidelines that make things work pretty well in all the players. Still, there remains some room for improvement in the implementations of dynamic streaming in the popular players I tested, particularly when it comes to detecting bandwidth changes and then smoothly switching streams during playback.