Yesterday, Microsoft announced that Windows 10's web browser supports HLS and DASH adaptive bitrate streaming protocols.
If you have never heard of either, no worries. The consumer version is that the browser in Windows 10 will let you stream video from various websites using a method where the stream is adjusted dynamically based on current data connections.
As a counter example, you can think of how on YouTube you can force the video player to stream back at 1080p, regardless of your connection. The result is you may get 1080p playback, but lots of buffering and stuttering. HLS and DASH are adaptive, so they can adjust the video quality dynamically, much like how Netflix currently streams video (in fact, Netflix endorses DASH).
As noted on the IEBlog:
"Web-delivered video content has rapidly shifted away from downloading and playing a single video file to an adaptive approach designed to support a broad array of network conditions. Unlike playback of a single file, adaptive streaming allows Web developers to host multiple bitrate versions of a single video on their server, and then author an intelligent client that dynamically switches between these versions during playback. This allows the client to react to changing network and device conditions in order to provide the best possible experience for the user."
With Microsoft's new EdgeHTML rendering engine, currently found in the Windows 10 Technical Preview and coming to the Spartan browser, native support for DASH and HLS should go a long way for media streaming capability. The more HTML5 standards are supported, the merrier.
Try it out now
The IEBlog notes that you can use the about:flag trick to enable the Experimental Web Platform aka EdgeHTML engine right now in Windows 10. We highlighted this trick the other day, and if you have it enabled, you can then go to various sites to see this adaptive bitrate streaming in action at these websites:
- http://vimeo.com/channels/staffpicks/117827379 (and other Vimeo content)
- http://www.twitch.tv/riotgames/mobile (and other Twitch.tv mobile content)
Overall, it is great to see how the next generation browser for Windows 10 will support more universal web standards and media. If you want a more technical breakdown of this subject material, make sure you head to the IEBlog to get the full story.