JavaScript Video is your density, I mean, Destiny

Second in a series. Three quarters of the bits being schlepped over the Internet today are video bits, so video standards are more important than ever. To accommodate this huge load of video data we’ve developed compression technologies, special protocols like the Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), we’ve pushed data to the edge of the network with Content Distribution Networks (originally Akamai but now many others).

All these Internet video technologies are in transition, too, with H.264 and HTML5 video in the ascendence while stalwarts like RealVideo and even Flash Video appear to be in decline. The latter is most significant because Adobe’s Flash has been -- thanks to YouTube -- the most ubiquitous video standard. Flash video was everywhere. But with Flash apparently leaving the ever-growing mobile space, will we ever see another truly ubiquitous web video standard? We already have and it is called ClipStream G2 JavaScript video.

JavaScript is everywhere on the World Wide Web. If you have a browser you have JavaScript. Have an iPhone without Flash?  You still have JavaScript. Have a smartphone without Java? You still have JavaScript. Even HTML5, the supposed future of Internet video, isn’t available yet on all platforms, but JavaScript is.

The Web couldn’t function without JavaScript. So if you really need to deploy something everywhere on the web, doing it in JavaScript is a great idea. But JavaScript video is difficult since the scripting language was never developed with video in mind. But as processors get faster and devices have more memory, the idea of doing video in JavaScript became more feasible even though it feels to me a bit like drawing the screen in crayon.

Just 17 Years Old

This new patented technology, only 17 years in the making, was just released in beta yesterday morning. Here’s a sample video featuring someone you may know. It’s glitchy, but think of what an achievement this is. And think how much better it will play a month or a year from now.

ClipStream G2 comes from a Canadian company, Destiny Media Technologies, which has been around since 1991. They literally invented streaming audio, and launched Internet radio before Windows Media, Quicktime or Real Networks even existed.  They eventually moved into Internet video only to be killed when Flash came out for a lot less money and then YouTube for free. More recently they’ve built a business for professional musicians, securely delivering pre-release music for all the record companies to radio stations.

First in this series: "Designing a better electric plane"

Now, with Flash abandoning mobile, Destiny sees an opportunity in video again.

"JavaScript powered video doesn’t sound like a big deal", explains Destiny co-founder Steve Vestergaard, "except Javascript performs like a slug.  We went from C and assembly in 1995 to Java in 1999 (maybe 100 times slower) to Javascript now (maybe another ten times slower). We have less horsepower in 2012 than we had in 1995, but we play everywhere.  Some of the big guys, including chip manufacturers, see an opportunity to improve our performance and keep the cross-platform aspect. Our seven patents are about how to do streaming video when there is no horsepower at all".

It's so Special

Here’s what makes JavaScript video significant. It not only works on all recent browsers, it requires no streaming servers.  Stick the Destiny folder on your web server, embed their code in your web page and that’s it.

Not only is there no special server, there’s also no player since the video is rendered by the browser. There is nothing to download or maintain.

There is no transcoding required and Content Distribution Networks, like Akamai or LimeLight, aren’t needed, either.

JavaScript video is also more bandwidth efficient since it looks like regular old web content and can be buffered for reuse in proxy servers. The company estimates that streams are reused at least 10 times saving 90 percent on bandwidth and infrastructure not to mention $4.3 billion in annual transcoding and CDN costs if widely deployed.

It’s not perfect, but then beta code never is. I think this is a major step, though, toward Internet simplification.

Reprinted with permission

Photo Credit:  Anna Omelchenko/Shutterstock

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