Microsoft Azure Media Services: Testing output formats in Live Streaming

When we’re working with Microsoft Azure and Media Services – Live Streaming is important to check the different output formats, provided by the dynamic packaging funcionality. As I told in a previous post, to get the desired format you have to add one of the following strings to the Publish URL:

  • Smooth Streaming: format by default, you don’t need to specify anything.
  • MPEG DASH: /Manifest(format=mpd-time-csf)
  • HLS V4:/Manifest(format=m3u8-aapl)
  • HLS V3:/Manifest(format=m3u8-aapl-v3)
  • HDS: /Manifest(format=f4m-f4f)

For more information about Dynamic Packaging you can read the MSDN article related.

In this post I would like to mention the players that I use to check those formats. To perform the ingest we can follow the introductory post about Live Streaming, using Flash Media Live Encoder or using Wirecast 6 as explained in this other post.

Smooth Streaming

For Smooth Streaming, we can use
<href=”http://smf.cloudapp.net/healthmonitor” title=”Smooth Streaming Health Monitor” target=”_blank”>Smooth Streaming Health Monitor or download SmoothStreamingPlayer.xap in the Aditional Downloads section on Microsoft Media Platform site and modify the sample file with the publish URL:

SmoothStreamingPlayer

MPEG DASH

We have a section on Dashif.org with players for this format, I used the last version (1.2.0 is the last version for me today).

Dash Player

HLS v4

The easiest way to check HLS v4 is using Quicktime on Mac OS. The steps are very simple, just open the player > Command + L and add the URL with the corresponding format:

Quicktime player HLS

HLS v3

For HLS v3 can use a Windows 8 app called 3ivx HLS Player

3ivx Media Player

It is also possible to test with JW Player, but you need a Premium account to play HLS. However, through http://www.jwplayer.com/partners/azure/ we have a player which can be modified to perform our tests:

JWPlayer Azure streams

HDS

To try HTTP Dynamic Streaming is necessary to have a license for Adobe Primetime.

Encoder changes: !important Reset Channel

Another important point to consider when you are testing the Live Streaming service is the manifest. It is normal that you want to make some changes to the configuration of the encoder, add new channels, changing qualities, and so on. For these changes to be reflected is necessary to stop the channel, refresh it and restart it to get the new version of the manifest. To verify the changes have been made, simply enter the URL directly in the browser, download the XML manifest and verify the changes are reflected in it.

Hope this helps.

Happy Testing/Streaming!