1. Silverlight is End-of-Life in 2021
Microsoft has officially announced that Silverlight is end-of-life. This is confirmed on Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle page: “Silverlight 5 will support the browser versions listed on this page through 10/12/2021, or though the support lifecycle of the underlying browsers, whichever is shorter.”
Enterprises have relied on multicast streaming to efficiently and reliably stream live video for more than a decade, and they’ve used Microsoft Silverlight to do it. But now that Silverlight is on its way out, enterprise organizations will have to find another secure and scalable method for streaming live video to large audiences.
In theory, enterprises who wish to use multicast streaming to transmit live video can continue using Silverlight until 2021…
2. Major Browsers No Longer Support Plugins
…But for all intents and purposes Silverlight is dead right now because plugins are dead, and Silverlight is a plugin. Google Chrome no longer supports plugins. The same goes for Microsoft Edge, the default browser in the newly released Windows 10. Silverlight has been the standard for multicast video playback. Now that Silverlight is being phased out by Microsoft and discontinued by the major browsers, does it signal an end for multicast streaming as well?
Although some enterprise IT departments have done their due diligence by looking into live video delivery alternatives such as peer-to-peer, multicast streaming is alive and well. It remains the optimal method for delivering live streaming video in a one-to-many use case. Peer-to-peer, which is predicated on unicast networking, just doesn’t compare when it comes to reliability and scalability.
3. HLS video is becoming the streaming standard and is now supported on multicast
HLS is the de facto standard for streaming video, but did not support multicast – until now! HTTP Live Streaming, or HLS, has emerged as the de facto format for live streaming and video on demand (VOD). Designed by Apple for Quicktime, Safari, and iOS devices, HLS is a format that breaks the video stream into small chunks that are delivered via HTTP. Since HTTP is not a multicast protocol, HLS was not able to be used for large scale delivery within an enterprise – until Ramp’s patent-pending method for transmitting HLS data via multicast.
These three facts were the major considerations Ramp took into account when we began to develop AltitudeCDN Multicast+. Multicast+ provides standards-based and secure multicast support to any live video deployment that uses HTTP Live Streaming (HLS). Multicast remains the most efficient way to transfer live video data within the enterprise and Multicast+ brings multicast support to industry-standard HLS. Multicast+ delivers an effective and easy-to-use solution for updating an organization’s live video delivery solution without requiring a combination of proprietary eCDNs or media servers, nor requiring a custom video player – a standard HLS compatible video player is sufficient. Multicast+ also supports HLS with AES-128 or Sample AES encryption.