HTTP Live Streaming and Android

By Jason Shah | March 1, 2011

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Google finalized Android 3.0 (“Honeycomb”)’s SDK only last week.  Also last week, Motorola released the Xoom, the first Android 3.0 tablet, and a number of other manufacturers have announced their own Android 3.0 tablets.

One of the key missing features of the Android platform had been the support of HTTP Live Streaming (also known as HLS).    HLS is a media streaming protocol that has been made popular by Apple.  Apple rolled out the requirement that any app streaming over cellular networks must do so using HTTP Live Streaming about a year ago, and this change has resulted in a dramatic adoption of HLS by video distributors. So how do HTTP live streaming and Android mix?

With Android 3.0, Google has taken steps to close that gap.  From the Android 3.0 Platform Highlights page: “The media framework supports most of the HTTP Live streaming specification, including adaptive bit rate.”

Despite the “most” disclaimer, this is a major step forward for video delivery to the Android platform.  HLS is a relatively simple streaming protocol that enables:

Scalability: HLS streams (particularly for on-demand content) can be powered purely by a web server.  This means that HLS can make use of all of the recent advancements in caching and scaling that web servers have built over the years.

Currently, the only support for a live streaming technology in Android has been through Adobe Flash Player and RTMP.  This has proven very challenging to integrate, because:

At Mediafly, we are excited to see HLS make greater strides forward on mobile and TV devices.

If you are interested in learning more about HTTP Live Streaming, Flash, and our business media delivery offerings, please contact us.

And for more information, please read our overview of HTTP Live Streaming.

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