Windows Media Services 2008 R2

Windows This is a Microsoft Supported Download

Overview

Microsoft Windows Media Services 2008, a free download for all versions of Windows Server 2008, is a scalable, reliable and affordable streaming media server for delivering live and on-demand content over the Internet or an intranet to Microsoft Silverlight and Windows Media Player. Windows Media Services 2008 offers twice the scalability of Windows Media Services 9 Series, so you can double the quality of your video streams or serve two times the audience when you upgrade.

In addition to its proven scalability and reliability, Windows Media Services 2008 now supports a Server Core installation, enabling reduced footprints for fixed-function streaming server scenarios, offering embedded appliance-like performance. Additionally, a cache/proxy plug-in is built in, making it easier to configure Windows Media Services for edge network enterprise and Internet topologies.

Many features of Windows Media Services that were previously available only on Windows Server 2003 Enterprise and Datacenter Editions are now available on Windows Server 2008 Standard, and all Standard features are now also available on Windows Web Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation. This makes the power of Windows Media Services 2008 available to a broader set of users at a lower cost. For more information, see Decide which version of Windows Server is right for you.

Features

The features and functions in Windows Media Services make it an ideal media server for delivering high-quality on-demand and live streaming experiences.

Multicast Streaming

Multicast streaming is a one-to-many relationship between a Windows Media server and clients (Microsoft Silverlight or Windows Media Player) that receive the stream. With a multicast stream, Windows Media Services streams to a multicast IP address on the network, and all clients subscribe to the IP address to receive the same stream. This allows a single media stream to be played simultaneously by multiple clients, drastically reducing bandwidth use. Multicast is particularly useful for delivering live streams within an enterprise. To efficiently deliver a multicast stream, your network routers must be multicast-enabled. If they are not, you can still deliver content as a multicast stream over the local segment of your local area network.

Cache/Proxy Management

A built-in WMS Cache/Proxy plug-in can be used to configure a Windows Media server either as a cache/proxy server or as a reverse proxy server so that it can provide caching and proxy support to other Windows Media servers. By caching and proxying your digital media content, you can reduce operating costs and provide a better viewing experience for users by conserving network bandwidth, decreasing network-imposed latency, and offsetting the load on the origin server.

Server Core Installation

Administrators can install the services that are required to perform the Streaming Media Services role on a Server Core installation of Windows Server 2008. The Server Core installation option is a fully functioning mode of the operating system supporting one of the designated roles, but it does not include the server graphic user interface (GUI). Because Server Core installations include only what is required for the designated roles, a Server Core installation will typically require less maintenance and fewer updates. Since there are fewer programs and components installed and running on the server, there are fewer attack vectors exposed to the network, resulting in a reduced attack surface. If a security flaw or vulnerability is discovered in a component that is not installed, a patch is not required. For more information about installing Windows Media Services on a Server Core installation, see Server Core Installation Option Getting Started Guide.

Advanced Fast Start

Fast Start delivers an instant-on playback experience by eliminating buffering time. When a client connects to a stream, the first few seconds of data are sent using the maximum available bandwidth so that playback can begin as soon as possible. Advanced Fast Start adds to these capabilities by allowing Windows Media Player to begin playing content as soon as its buffer receives a minimum amount of data, further reducing the amount of time a user must wait to begin receiving the stream.

Play While Archiving

Broadcast content can be archived to a file, and the archived content can be made available for on-demand requests or rebroadcast even before the broadcast is finished being archived.

Broadcast AutoStart

In the event of an interruption, such as a power failure, broadcast publishing points can be configured to begin running again automatically whenever the Windows Media server starts, so that viewers experience less disruption when viewing streaming content.

Absolute Playlist Time

Absolute Playlist Time adds the playlist timing value wallclock. You can use the wallclock value to automate broadcast schedules by assigning real-world clock values in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) to attributes in server-side playlists.

Encoder Failover URL Modifiers

If the primary encoder fails or is stopped, you can configure Windows Media Services to pull content from an alternate encoder or other content source after a specified period of time by using URL modifiers in the path to the primary encoder. Using redundant encoders or other alternate content sources increases the reliability of the source content.

For More Information

Release Notes for Windows Media Services 2008. This Web page provides late-breaking or other information that supplements the product documentation.

Windows Media Services 2008 FAQ. This Web page provides answers to frequently asked questions about Windows Media Services.

Windows Media Services 2008 Deployment Guide. This Web page provides the latest information about deploying Windows Media Services.

Windows Media Services 2008 Installed Help. This Web page provides a copy of the product documentation installed with Windows Media Services.

Windows Media Services 2008 Technical Library. This collection of technical articles provides additional guidance about how to install and use Windows Media Services.

Windows Media Developer Center. This Web site pulls together the content and resources for Windows Media technologies, including code samples, community sites, technical articles and documentation, upcoming events, and much more.

Windows Server 2008. This Web site provides the latest news and information about the Windows Server 2008 operating system.

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