I’ve received a few inquiries lately from con- tent owners asking which content delivery networks (CDNs) still support Adobe’s proprietary Flash streaming format (RTMP). Over
the past 12 months, many, though not all, of
the major CDNs have announced that they will
soon end support for Flash streaming.
Throughout the industry, we have seen declining requirements for RTMP for some time.
By no longer investing in Flash delivery, most
of the major CDNs have been able to reduce
a significant third-party software component
on their networks. Flash Media Server (FMS)
been a thorn in the CDN service providers’
sides for many years, and killing it off is a good
thing for the industry. HLS, DASH, Smooth
Streaming, and other HTTP streaming variants are the future.
Since it’s hard to know which CDN may still
support Flash streaming, or for how much longer, I reached out to all the major CDNs and
received details from them directly. Here’s
what I was told:
Akamai: Akamai still supports RTMP streaming.
While the company is not actively promoting
the product, it has not announced an end-of-life date. Akamai said it is investing in RTMP
streaming, but the investment is focused on
ensuring continued reliability and efficiency
for current customers.
Amazon: Amazon continues to support RTMP
delivery via CloudFront streaming distributions,
but the company has seen a consistent decrease
in RTMP traffic on CloudFront over the past few
years. The company doesn’t have a firm date for
ending RTMP support, but Amazon is encouraging customers to move to modern, HTTP-based
Comcast: Comcast does not support RTMP on
its CDN and chooses to support all formats of
HT TP-based media (HLS, HDS, Smooth Streaming, etc.). The only principal RTMP requirement Comcast sees in the market involves the
acquisition of live mezzanine streams that are
transcoded into various bit-variants and HTTP-based formats.
Fastly: Fastly has never supported RTMP to the
edge or end user—its stack is pure HTTP/S.
While Fastly used to support RTMP ingest, the
company retired that product in favor of partnering with Anvato, Wowza Media Systems,
JW Player, and others.
Highwinds: Highwinds stopped supporting RTMP
in 2012 in favor of HTTP and HTTPS streaming
protocols and has since helped a number of
customers transition from RTMP delivery to an
Level 3 Communications: Level 3 stopped taking
on new Flash streaming customers a year ago
and will shut down existing customers by the
end of this year.
Limelight Networks: Limelight still supports RTMP
streaming globally across its CDN. The company said its current investment focus for video
delivery is in its multidevice media delivery
(MMD) platform, which can be used to ingest
live RTMP feeds and deliver RTMP, RTSP, HLS,
HDS, Smooth Streaming, and DASH output
formats. Limelight is encouraging customers
to move away from RTMP and to HTTP formats
for stream delivery.
Verizon Digital Media Services: Verizon announced
plans to end support of Flash streaming in June
2017. It is actively working to decommission the
RTMP playout infrastructure based on FMS 4. 5.
Verizon has written its own engine to continue
to support RTMP ingest and repackaging for
HLS/DASH playout that is more natively integrated with its CDN, but it will no longer support RTMP playout after that time. As of June
2016, Verizon is no longer actively onboarding
new RTMP playout customers.
While many of the major CDNs will discontinue support for RTMP, several smaller regional
CDNs still support Flash streaming, so options
remain for content owners. But the writing is on
the wall. Content owners should take note that
RTMP will not be a viable option much longer.
It’s time to start transitioning from RTMP as a
Another Nail in Flash’s Coffin
Dan Rayburn ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is executive vice president
of Streaming Media. He blogs at blog.streamingmedia.com.
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