Adobe upgrades Flash Media Server, slashes entry-level price

Video-friendly upgrade comes as competitors move on juicy market

Adobe Systems Inc. Monday announced a new, more video-friendly version of Flash Media Server that also introduces a less expensive single-server edition.

Flash Media Server 3, which is designed to help Web publishers deliver Flash applications and Flash-encoded video, can handle about five times the number of streams and amount of bandwidth as Version 2, according to the San Jose-based software company.

FMS 3 will come in an interactive server edition that costs US$4,500. That edition is comparable to FMS 2's original and edge-server package, which are designed for large publishers and content delivery networks (CDN) and list for a combined US$60,000, said Kevin Towes, Adobe's product manager for Flash Media Server.

But customers can also buy a license to deploy FMS 3 just on a single server -- an option not available with FMS 2 -- for US$995. That, he said, compares to FMS 2's professional edition, which costs US$4,500 and allows 150 to 2,500 simultaneous connections.

"The cost of deployment was too high, so we addressed that and also improved performance, so you can stream more video using less CPU," said Towes.

Everybody wants to get in on the act

Adobe claims that Flash is used to encode three quarters of the video on the Web today. For instance, YouTube videos are encoded and streamed to viewers using Flash.

But staying on top of this market requires effort. To drive adoption of its competing Expression publishing platform, Microsoft Corp. is offering much of the software at prices that are lower than those of the Adobe equivalents -- or, in the case of Expression Media Encoder, for free. Expression Media Encoder offers many of the same features as FMS.

And Microsoft isn't Adobe's only competitor in this market. Other vendors with cheaper alternatives include Wowza Media Systems, which offers server software that also streams Flash content and video.

During Adobe's Max user conference earlier this fall, the company's then-CEO, Bruce Chizen, said that Flash's current market share "is a clear indication that our pricing is competitive now."

But the company also said it would be wiling to cut prices if it looks like enough customers might defect,.

"If the cost of Flash Media Server comes in the way of Flash adoption, we will adjust that," said Shantanu Narayen, who was Adobe's president at the time. Narayen took over as CEO on December 1 after Chizen's resignation in November.

FMS 3, which will be available in January, improves upon FMS 2's video quality and compression by using the H.264/MPEG-4 standard.

"It takes us closer to HD," Towes said.

FMS 3 also adds the ability for music and other audio to be compressed with the AAC format used by Apple's iTunes software.

When deployed in tandem with its in-beta Adobe Media Player, FMS 3 also adds advertiser-friendly features, such as the ability to track and measure up to 30 different user behaviors, and digital rights management technology that can allow publishers to charge for access or ensure that ads be played before, during and after a video, Towes said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?