Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Media servers: smartfox and red5

This post is a bit of a follow on from my post about socket servers for muliplayer games , I was asked to research a solution for providing streaming video which could be uploaded as well as downloaded; a kind of cross between you tube and I player.

My first thoughts were to look at SmartFox; it cheaper than Adobe media streaming, but seems quite well supported. It was chosen by iain as one of the best socket servers for multiplayer games, but it supports audio and video since it has paired up with Red5 so in my opinion is worth investigating as it is a proven implementation.

The following is my quick piece of research/summary into RedBox (SmartFox and Red). I didnt manage to finish this as I was told to look at all inclusive platforms (to be blogged about another day). I havent tried or played with RedBox yet, but it definitly seems worth considering should a project require its use.

Although SmartFox Server was originally designed for games and chat applications, I think it should be considered because it is a powerful and commercially used and accepted server. It now has an addon from Red 5 (another good open source server). Called RedBox This means that Smart fox now supports audio and video streaming capabilities. The advantages of using SmartFox instead of Red 5 directly seems to be with the extra features that SmartFox offer, which can be used in conjunction with RedBox; effectively giving you the best of both worlds: smart fox and Red5. According to their website “With the only use of Red5 or FMS you don't get any advanced room management, buddy lists, chat filters, security etc... “ Another point to remember, is that because SmartFox is commercial, it will probably be better supported that open source implementations.

Redbox brings the following extra features to the table:
  • live events –one broadcaster to many subscribers
  • remote A/V recording (video messages etc)
  • Video Streaming
  • Api for handlng A/V streaming
One of the examples provided by RedBox with the API download is a application demonstrating how to build a live shared library of videos, providing tools for easily retrieving the list of available clips and assigning extra custom properties to each video clip.

The API provided is split into three sections. The two we would be concerned with is the AVClipManager- handles the list of available a/v clips, streaming and playback. The AVCastManager, handles live video and audio broadcasts.

Redbox can be run on a separate dedicated server, good/scalable if there are going to be a high number of users.

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