Adobe have announced the release of Flash Media Server 3, the latest version of its delivery platform for the company’s near ubiquitous Flash technology. Over at our sister blog, Read/WriteWeb, Josh Catone has the scoop, and says that “the most striking change to Flash Media Server is the drastically reduced price”.
Because in the past Flash Media Server has cost so much (upwards of $45,000 per license), streaming flash media has long been a very cost-prohibitive endeavor. The high price, commonly referred to as the “Flash tax,” led many to seek out alternative media servers like the open source Red 5. The latest version of Flash Media Sever, which will ship in January 2008, will be come in three versions, ranging from free to $4,500 — a price drop of 90%.
The Flash Media Interactive Server 3, the most expensive of the offerings, will provide more scalability and a robust new plugin architecture that its lower priced counterparts don’t offer. But for single server deployments, the $995 Flash Media Streaming Server, should be sufficient and could be attractive for smaller media publishers. Adobe will also offer a developer version for free that supports up to 10 concurrent users.
Other important developments in Flash Media Server 3: the debut of streaming HD video. FMS3 will offer H.264 video streaming, as well as support for High Efficiency AAC (HE-AAC) audio that can be streamed to Flash player, AIR applications, or Adobe’s Media Player app.
In addition to the Flash Media Server 3, Adobe also announced that Flash Player 9 Update 3 (codenamed “Moviestar”) has left public Beta and is available for general download as of today. We’ve previously written about “Moviestar”, noting its support for the more efficient H.264 codec, which is capable of delivering much higher quality video using the same bandwidth as the legacy Flash video format.