Adobe is getting serious about their implementation of peer-to-peer technology to assist Flash-based video streaming and applications. The upcoming Adobe’s Flash Player 10.1 will enable publishers to dramatically reduce bandwidth costs by outsourcing media distribution to users.
Kevin Towes, Product Manager of Adobe Flash Media Server told Beet.TV that the upcoming release of the Flash player will include new P2P technology that will “significantly change the way we think of media delivery.” According to Towes, this technology could in some cases completely eliminate bandwidth costs.
Stratus is the name of system Adobe is offering to support P2P Flash . It is offered to developers free of charge and can support both live and on-demand video streaming. Besides video, Stratus can also be used for Flash based multi-player games and other forms of real time communication
For broadcasters and video services, Stratus has the capacity to eliminate a significant amount of bandwidth costs. Instead of serving the media from a central server, users will provide the necessary bandwidth. Adobe’s Stratus system serves as an intermediary in this process, managing the communications between Flash players similar to BitTorrent trackers for BitTorrent Network.
Towes explained that Stratus users will first have to agree to participate in a P2P-enabled Flash swarm, similar to how they are now asked to indicate whether Flash can use their webcam. If users do not want to share bandwidth, the broadcaster has the option to offer a regular stream, a degraded stream or no stream at all.
The impact of Adobe getting seriously involved in P2P streaming could be a real game changer though. One of the main advantages Adobe’s Flash has is that nearly every computer has it installed, which should facilitate the adoption rate among content providers. One less hurdle to take, and a significant one.