The main goal of Smooth Streaming (SSF) is to provide a way to stream video and provide an automatic fallback mechanism when there is network congestion and avoid constant rebuffering. The client can communicate with the server and request low bandwidth video when the connection is slow and higher quality video when the connection recovers. This mechanism is automatically built-in to Silverlight players.
The content can be static (on-demand) or live (broadcast situations). The following material shows how to stream static content using the Media Server SDK. For broadcasting live content, see the Streaming SSF Content using IIS topic.
Sample SSF files can be found in <InstallDir>\Examples\Multimedia\LTMM\HTML\SSF\Static. You can also generate SSF files by running the main Convert demos and choosing the SSF (IIS Smooth Streaming Format) target format.
Here are the instructions for quickly testing them in your Media Streaming server.
In general, the HTML pages with the player and the SSF content are stored on the web server and are accessed from client computers. For testing purposes, keep them on your development computer and access them through http://localhost before deploying to a real web server. It is best to start with a testing server that doesn't have too many security restrictions so you do not run into authentication and "access denied" errors until you become familiar with the process.
The following steps are for Windows Vista, but Windows 7 and XP have similar steps:
1. Run the API Media Streaming Server Demo from the Media Streaming Server shortcuts folder. (You can also use the .NET or Media Streaming Service Manager demos and the steps would be very similar)
2. Start the Media Server by clicking the Start button.
3. Verify the Media Server is running properly by clicking the Browse button and make sure you run Internet Explorer. Silverlight can be installed in other browsers but IE is the safest browser for playing SSF content.
4. Make sure the video is playing in the default browser before continuing. Click on Microsoft SSF and make sure Silverlight is installed and playing SSF content properly before going to the next step. Leave the browser running and switch back to the Media Server.
5. At this point, the Media Server is generating SSF content on the fly from the default sample.MP4 file. The following steps demonstrate how to make the Media Server stream SSF content you have generated previously.
6. Copy the folder containing the SSF video you wish to stream to the Media\vod folder. For example, copy <InstallDir>\Examples\Multimedia\LTMM\HTML\SSF\Static to the Media\vod. The easiest way to bring up the Media Folder is to click on the View button in the Media Server demo next to the Media Folder.
7. Copy the contents of <InstallDir>\Examples\Multimedia\LTMM\HTML\SSF\Static to <Media Server>\vod folder. (Copy the entire directory). The easiest way to go to the Media Folder is to click the View button in the Media Server demo next to the Media Folder.
8. Double-check that the folder structure is as expected: you should now have something like this: <InstallDir>\Examples\Multimedia\ltms\server\media\vod\Static\Manifest.ISM
9. Rename the Static folder as SSF. So now you should have Media\vod\SSF\Manifest.ism
10. Go back to IE browser playing SSF content.
11. In the file edit box, change "vod/sample.mp4" to "vod/SSF/manifest.ism" (do not type the double quotes).
12. Play the new SSF content by clicking the Play button in the HTML page.
Of course, you can create your own player page and you can pass the URL as a parameter so you do not have to create a new HTML file for each stream. How to do that is beyond the scope of this tutorial.
The SSF content is generated by the LEAD SSF Writer. See the Using the LEAD SSF Writer topic for more details on how to use this filter and about the compressions supported by the Smooth Streaming Format.