Archive for ‘Mobile & HTML5’

July 30th, 2014

O’Reilly OSCON 2014: FOSS Nerd Field Report

by Jess Portnoy

OSCON_LOGOThe O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) took place at last week at Portland, OR. Portland is a fun city, with great restaurants and bars, and surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery.

If you’re a FOSS nerd or even just getting started with Open Source, you’ll love OSCON. Kaltura has been a proud sponsor of OSCON for the 7th year.

Community Leadership Summit.
The weekend before OSCON, we’ve attended the Community Leadership Summit, or in short CLS. CLS is a 2-day UN-Conference. The goal is to share best practices and discuss the art and science of community building and nurturing.

If you haven’t been to an un-conference before, the idea is for the attendees to come up with the agenda the morning of the event. Making a collaborative, inclusive and creative gathering. Most impressing was how quickly attendees suggested sessions, creating a packed agenda within 20 minutes.

CLS was full of great sessions and I’d like to share a couple with you –

  • The first was lead by Russ Pavlicek from Xen: “Birthing a new community within an exising community”. Community managers shared their experiences expanding their communities to new groups. For example growing a developer community out of your user community. Or fostering discussion oriented communities out of a hard-core developer group. We even discussed growing adoption and participation within a religious community with local chapters.
  • Another notable session was: ‘How to keep your marketing team happy’. The discussions made me reflect on memories of conflict I had with marketing teams of previous companies I worked at. I said I am proud to be working at Kaltura where we foster an open collaboration between the Community and Marketing teams.

Check out the videos section and the forums at the CLS website to learn more and get in touch with other community leaders.

FLOSS Community Metrics Meeting.
Then we attended the first FLOSS Community Metrics Meeting. A meeting of community managers from known FOSS groups including Puppet Labs, Debian, Red Hat and others to discuss analytics and ROI of community and participation. Zohar Babin, Kaltura’s Sr. Director of Community & Ecosystem Partnerships presented the opening talk on communicating the value of participation and community work within commercial organizations, and how to avoid getting side-tracked with the data and instead, focusing on success stories and well defined project goals.

OSCON – O’Reilly Open Source Convention.
I knew OSCON was blessed by the FOSS goddess when the projector immediately connected to my laptop! See, I work with Linux exclusively, and frequently face the “battle of the projector” before presentations.

The OSCON workshop I lead was: “Debugging LAMP Apps on Linux/UNIX Using Open Source Tools“. I’ve completely broken a Linux installation, and then spent 3 hours live debugging and fixing the environment with the attendees – That was FUN! Nothing teaches you more than breaking things.

I got to exchange a lot of Production disaster recovery experiences with my fellow attendees and discuss solutions and means to avoid the fiascos in advance.
If you’d like, check out my slides:

Tweet at @jess_port01 or @kaltura and leave a comment below if you’d like to talk about the slides.

There were a lot of interesting sessions, technical and otherwise. I strongly suggest you review the session materials on http://www.oscon.com. O’reilly also recorded the sessions, so stay tuned for the VOD soon.

One special talk I’d like to highlight was by Chris Launey of Disney. Chris spoke about the challenges of DevOps where everything is always “needed yesterday”. He discussed how people often hear about “this new cool tool” and want to deploy it right away, without expressing a clear need for it. Or whether the current system can already provide the same capabilities.

Chris also gave an example of how people say “Lets install Ubuntu!” and when asked what will it enable that their current RedHat install doesn’t – there’s no concrete answer. See his session details for more.

Michael Dale, Kaltura’s Product Director of Playback and Core delivered a session titled “HTML5 Video Part Deux; New Opportunities and New Challenges”. Michael discussed the recent developments in the HTML5 standard. And explored new video experiences the new features will enable. Review his session details for more, browse the sessions slides online and tweet at @michael_dale or @kaltura for questions and followup.

As with any conference, the ‘water cooler’ conversations are equally interesting and informative. I met many fellow hard core techies. Had conversations on GCC optimizations, low level kernel changes and many other interesting topics. That was lots of fun, long live us CS nerds!

Interesting to observe was that the FOSS ecosystem had significantly grown from the “die-hard hobbyists club” to including the average user and more new business models. Nowadays, for-profit commercial projects and non-profit community driven projects co-exist in the FOSS ecosystem. And more so than ever, feed each other and promotes growth and success. Kaltura is such an example. An open source project used by many. Built and maintained by a commercial company. And in turn both the project and company benefit in more features, faster innovation, support and advocacy.

At the Kaltura booth in the exhibit hall, I came across many interesting developers and projects. Two that I think deserve an honourable mention were:

  • Aaron Wolf’s project Snowdrift.coop. A new fundraising platform in the spirit of Free, Libre and Open.
  • The other was Jim Cupples’s Ballot Path. Jim defines himself as a “social sciences nerd”. Ballot Path is allows Oregonians to learn about their elected representatives. And shows the steps one would need to take to run for office.

Both of these projects involve open source technologies, and licensed as such. Yet both are not technical projects. FOSS is not just for techies anymore. Everyone benefits from the values and practices open source presents.
I recommend reading ‘In the Beginning was the Command Line’ by Neal Stephenson. Where Stephenson discusses the contributions of the open source principles and culture to society.

To conclude, OSCON was an informative and fun conference. And I look forward to meeting you there next year!

July 23rd, 2014

What’s Next for HTML5 Video? Join our Talk at OSCON 2014

by Zohar Babin

Sharing the excitement from floor of OSCON 2014, Kaltura’s Director of Playback Experience and Video Monetization, Michael Dale talks about Kaltura, open source and his OSCON talk about what’s happening with web video standards and html5.
Be sure to visit Michael’s OSCON 2014 talk – HTML5 Video Part Deux; New Opportunities and New Challenges and come by our booth (#P1).

TF2A4144

January 17th, 2014

Wikimedia Community Debates H.264 Support On Wikipedia Sites

by Michael Dale

Wikimedia has been a long time supporter of royalty free formats, but is now considering a shift in their position. From the RfC:

To support the MP4 standard as a complement to the open formats now used on our sites, it has been proposed that videos be automatically transcoded and stored in both open and MP4 formats on our sites, as soon as they are uploaded or viewed by users. The unencumbered WebM and Ogg versions would remain our primary reference for platforms that support them. But the MP4 versions would enable many mobile and desktop users who cannot view these unencumbered video files to watch them in MP4 format.

This has stirred a heated debate within the Wikimedia community as to whether the mp4 / h.264 format should be supported. Many wikimedia regulars have weighed in, resulting in currently an even split between adding the H.264 support or not. The request for comment is open to all users of Wikimedia, including the broader community of readers.

What do you think about supporting H.264 on Wikimedia sites?

August 12th, 2013

Vine Goes Mainstream: the Evolution of the 6 Second Revolution (Video)

by Asef.Ahmed

vine-twitterIn 2011, the social medium of images was the new hot thing with Instagram established and Snapchat in its infant stages. Despite the popularity of these apps, many people were still wondering: what’s next?

Fast forward two years, with the world experiencing Vine-fever and the recent launch of Instagram Video, video, now more than ever, is king. But what is it that makes apps like Vine so popular? Can a six second video truly be a work of art or is it just a reflection of our generation’s shortened attention spans? Perhaps, just like mainstream media, it is a bit of both. As Vine becomes decreasingly recognized as just another internet gimmick, it evolves into a form of expression that greatly mimics traditional media (or, perhaps, it is also the other way around). Consequently, Vine, like digital media in general, has started occupying six different realms of mainstream media.

 

1. Vine Awards at Film Festivals

Yes, Vines are being awarded at film festivals. The Tribeca Film Festival, cofounded by Robert Deniro, created #6SecondFilms to honor Vines. Seriously, what more artistic validation could Vines need than that from the Godfather himself. The Vines were separated into four categories: genre, series, animate, and auteur (Described as “[Vines that]told a story or script that was truly unique. A tiny, concentrated expression of the filmaker’s vision”) and were judged by an esteemed panel that included the King himself, Goldberg.

Here is this year’s winner in the “auteur” category titled “There is No Sunny Side to this Story”:

 

2. Celebrity Stars

Just like Twitter and Facebook, celebrities from Tyra Banks to Terminator have adopted Vine. However, what differentiates Vine from the other social media platforms is that celebrities have adopted it as a way to express art. Sure, there are some stars that prefer to just shoot a six second clip of whatever they are currently doing or an inane video that has little substance,  but there is a large number of them, like Goldberg, that actually use Vine to tell stories. These artists see Vine as a challenge. They recognize what Vine truly is (or can really be): the haiku of digital media. Like a haiku, a Vine is simple, short and restricted, yet, paradoxically  complicated, beautiful, and free for those same reasons. Take a look at one of Goldberg’s Vines, “Latency.”

 

3. Instructional Promotions

We’ve recently covered the use cases instructional videos and Vine provides another unique method. Companies are using Vine to promote their products while giving nifty tips. Lowe’s has launched their “#lowesfixinsix” campaign that illustrates simple life hacks. Lowe’s has achieved a marketer’s dream by compressing incredibly useful information into one absurdly brief, yet engaging clip. For example, you can learn how to prep your grill for the summer in six quick seconds.

 

4. Advertisements

The vast majority of companies that use social media do it for promotional purposes. However, one of the main concerns with publishing video is making sure that your content is engaging. Companies do not want to invest a substantial amount of money into an advertisement and see that viewers are tuning out. Vine, similarly to twitter,  solves this problem by accepting our attention spans for what they are: weak. Many companies, like Microsoft, have gotten creative and found ways to use Vine to create short yet informative content. Take a look at this episode from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer advertisement campaign “Not Your Father’s Browser” for IE 10. 

 

5. Journalism

Now, much more than ever, we are linked to the news in an almost inescapable fashion. Twitter has helped revolutionize modern journalism by providing instantaneous coverage of events around the world. Any action, catastrophe, election result is immediately uploaded to our feeds. Vine, similarly, provides the swift impact of twitter but also allows the viewer to survey what’s happening. The most famous example of Vine broadcast journalism was done by the Turkish Pulse, who captured the immediate aftermath of the tragic bombing of the U.S. embassy in Turkey. The Vine not only provides the viewer with the information of what happened (that there was a bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey) but also gives the user a sense of the moment, similarly to traditional news coverage.

 

6. Sports

Vine is still in its early stages with broadcasting sports entertainment. Due to the legal ramifications of distributing content that is protected and owned by various leagues, there are not any Vines of actual games or matches. This is extremely unfortunate because Vine would be the perfect medium to relay a thunderous dunk, game winning goal, last-second touchdown, or any important athletic play. However, there have been some breeches into the sports industry with Vines capturing pre-game warm-ups. Look at this one from the Brooklyn Nets.

 

Vine is often dubbed as the “Twitter of video”, which is not far from the truth (Vine is even owned by Twitter). However, the impact of Vine can be so much more. With a 140 character limit, Twitter, like Vine, limits its users. But if a picture is truly worth a thousand words, then at 30 frames per second, Vine is worth at least 180,000 of them.

July 2nd, 2013

Will HTML5 Force Apple’s Hand Over Online Video Standards?

by Asef.Ahmed

Kaltura-Video-Platform-Device-Detection-and-SupportOur very own Michael Dale was featured in a Broadcast Engineering article about how HTML5 may end Apple’s hegemonic authority and force the company to adopt the same standards as everybody else.  The new standards that HTML5 is setting such as: adaptive streaming with MPEG-Dash and Media Stream API, content protection via Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), and the lack of a need for plugins, combined with the inevitable large rise in the number of HTML5 developers over the number of iOS developers, could significantly reduce Apple’s market power. As Dale puts it, ” Apple will continue to be one of the major targets for app and service development but it will no longer be setting the pace.”

Read the full article here:http://broadcastengineering.com/blog/html5-could-last-force-apple-fall-line-over-online-video-standards

May 29th, 2013

Delivering on the Promise of HTML5 Video

by Michael Dale

HTML5-logo.svgEarlier this month the Web standards body, W3C, announced the first draft of the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) specification, which will allow content providers to add content protection to HTML5 videos for the first time. While EME will not handle the encryption process or Digital Rights Management (DRM) system, it will provide a standard for third-party plug-ins to support DRM in the web browser. The news elicited a mixed response from web platform commentators but there is no doubting its significance for the digital TV community.

Right now, the appetite for HTML5 video is strong, as a platform for a consistent, cross-device viewing experience. Developed with the new breed of mobile and OTT-capable devices in mind, HTML5 makes it possible, in theory, to standardise playback on any device, via the browser, and eliminates the need for plug-ins to create rich video playback experiences.

While ideal for basic video playback, HTML5 has a way to go before it becomes a fully-fledged solution for the most demanding use cases of online video delivery. In the interim, workaround tools, and online video platforms have emerged to help content producers and developers deliver on the multi-platform promise.

Historically, support for multiple platforms meant delivering a basic experience for a limited number of platforms, and supporting multiple codecs like H.264 and WebM (for browsers that did not ship with H.264).Today, the already complex HTML5 platform landscape of Apple, Microsoft, Google and Mozilla has been further complicated by other entrants, including Amazon and Sony (PlayStation) and makers of Smart TVs and Set-top boxes. Across all of these platforms, differences in implementations are emerging based on entrenched platform interests and device limitations.

Content protection and adaptive streaming are incredibly important to the digital TV community, but are two areas in which browser vendors have had difficulty in standardising around a single solution. While almost all contemporary online web platforms support HTML5, content providers are still typically choosing other options when DRM or adaptive streaming is required: Flash for desktop applications, and native apps for mobile devices.

Outside of premium DRM content, sophisticated, open source player libraries and platforms have helped streamline the process of online HTML5 and native video delivery. Modern video platforms work across “native”, HTML5 and Flash. For example, a single ad tag campaign from Google DART for Publishers (DFP) configured in a platform “player” can consolidate ad delivery across desktop Flash and HTML5, mobile HTML5, native iOS and native Android.

For multi-platform video, choosing a player that supports HTML5, Flash and increasingly native delivery, is important in order to provide ultimate flexibility. Consider the breadth of plug-ins the player supports, how well documented those features are, and how easily they can be integrated into the player.

Speed of loading is very important and fast HTML5 players are also helping push adoption. A recent study showed that many viewers begin abandoning videos if they don’t load within two seconds. There are many tricks to building a fast player that performs quickly, but it’s important to choose one that performs not only in benchmarks, but also in ‘real-world’ pages, where lots of other resources are competing to be loaded.

A player should also offer full integration with all the major ad networks and analytics providers in order to maintain a high level of flexibility and choice. How flexible the player is in terms of enabling you to customise the experience is also an important factor.  A library that supports easy customisation and skinning is critical if you are to succeed in meeting your brand and web presence goals.

Finally, it’s important to choose a player library that helps you negotiate the complex set of different HTML5 platforms. For example, you need to be free to choose between native or HTML-based controls for playback on iOS, and between Flash and HTML5 on a per platform basis (e.g. for Windows 8 and Android). It’s important that the library is closely integrated with a platform so that it can leverage all the back-end features that can help make the cross-platform experience work better, like creating video flavours for each device, and providing access to metadata management tools.

By 2014, we should see Flash fallbacks decrease in relevance as content producers can lead with HTML5 while still supporting those important business goals of high quality video delivery and branding. This is predicated on the imminent arrival of a number of new technologies and standards that will boost the appeal of HTML5. DRM for HTML5 video is one, but another major enhancement due out soon is the MediaStream API, which will enable improved live video event broadcast support and HTML5 as well as robust adaptive streaming.

In conclusion, HTML5 video is maturing quickly, overcoming some of its traditional challenges and should finally deliver on its early promise of providing rich content experiences across all screens.

This blog post was originally published on videonet.

Learn more:

Why you should learn HTML5

April 17th, 2013

Plugins-Free WebRTC Based Peer 2 Peer Video Delivery – HTML5 Video

by Zohar Babin

Peer5 LogoPeer-to-peer has always been a disruptive technology, enabling new applications and high efficiency. It has become an essential building block for distributed, scalable services such as Skype, Bittorrent and more. Until today, the P2P has been absent in the rich world of the Web. Various plugins tried to fill this gap but lacked standard conformance and sometimes were even intrusive. For years, enterprises could only develop client-server systems, which have increased latency and are expensive to scale. Luckily, we now have a new P2P API which is part of the HTML5 standard — It’s called WebRTC.

According to Peer5, it won’t be long before WebRTC will transform the way we communicate online; “it’s the technological breakthrough that will enable a truly plugins-free web experience – from audio and video collaboration to recording solutions and more” says Hadar Weiss, Peer5 CTO, “so far, the missing piece in the WebRTC puzzle has been the development of the  DataChannels API, the browser feature that facilitates direct delivery of raw data between two or more users without a need for a server.”

Harnessing the power of WebRTC, Peer5 is set to bring hassle-free, peer-assisted video delivery to everyone with nothing more than a modern web browser (Currently on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox).

By building on top the DataChannels API, Peer5’s player plugin creates a peer-assisted network where viewers seamlessly share parts of the streamed video to enhance video delivery and reduce network bandwidth.

With the Peer5 solution now a part of Kaltura’s Tech Partners Program, a cutting-edge HTML5 innovation will be available with the first live demo of WebRTC-based video delivery, exclusively for members of the Kaltura community.

Peer5 Player Screenshot

We invite you for a sneak preview of this new disruptive technology and experience the first ever plugin-free, large-scale peer-assisted streaming of video from multiple sources around the world, where all registered participants will enter the live demo together, and watch as the video plays seamlessly from multiple peers.

To join the live demo, register at: http://kaltura2013.peer5.com

March 13th, 2013

The New York HTML5 Hackfest Meetup Notes – March 2013

by Zohar Babin

Thank you for joining us last night at The NYC JavaScript & HTML5 Monthly Hackfest and for the amazing AlleyNYC for hosting us. We had a great fun (as always), and learned a lot.

For those who missed the meetup, here is a quick summary –

We’ve opened the evening with (pizza and drinks) Michael Dale, Player Framework Product Manager at Kaltura. Michael gave a presentation of the state of HTML5 video and writing a player framework, giving a walk-through of Kaltura’s HTML5 Player Framework and launching the evening into a hackfest of player plugins creation.

Following after, Costa Michailidis shared the beauty of SVG based web application design in a 5 minutes lightning talk about SGV. Judging by the exciting feedback this lightning talk received, we’ll have to followup with an in-depth SVG session in a future meetup!

We talked about HTML5 video, popcorn.js, mwEmbed, SVG and hacked on player plugins.

html5hackfest-alleynyc

March 11th, 2013

Creating Engaging (and Very Funny) Content Using Robots (Video)

by Iddo Shai

“Robots will take over.”

Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 11.10.30 AMHow many times have you heard that prediction before? However, it’s been more than 35 years since we first met R2-D2 and we don’t really see many robots strolling down the streets these days. But what if you could have robots shooting engaging videos like vox pop with random people or funny company videos featuring your employees? Well, that is actually possible today.

Here is an incredibly cute video that was screened by our friends at the MIT Open Documentary Lab during their great SXSW session, which focused on innovative documentary filmmaking. The star here is “Boxie” – a robot that was designed by Alex Reben with the MIT Media Lab. Take a look and stay tuned for more great videos from SXSW 2013!

March 10th, 2013

Storytelling Meets HTML5 (Video)

by Iddo Shai

sxsw-kaltura-logo-2013_

During the first 5 days of SXSW the interactive and the film tracks are taking place concurrently. This is a unique opportunity for content creators, entrepreneurs and programmers to re-imagine the way we tell stories online. One of the most exciting technologies in this space is Zeega – an open-source HTML5 platform that aspires to “remake the Internet” by allowing creators to easily mash together text, video, animation and sound.

We chatted with Zeega’s CEO, Jesse Shapins about all of this. Watch the video to see some very original content being created on Zeega today. And of course stay tuned for the latest on video technology showcased here at SXSW 2013.

To watch the full Zeega presentations featured in this video:

1. How I Got to Boston

2. Jesus Rocks