Helix Universal Server

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Helix Universal Media Server
Developer(s) RealNetworks
Stable release 15.0.2 / April 12, 2013
Operating system Microsoft Windows 2008 (64 bit), Linux RHEL5, RHEL6 (64 bit), Oracle Linux 6, Solaris SPARC 10 (64 bit)
Type Carrier and Enterprise Class Server
License Proprietary
Website http://www.realnetworks.com/helix/streaming-media-server/

The Helix Universal Media Server is developed by RealNetworks and originates from the very first[citation needed] streaming media server originally developed by Progressive Networks in 1994. The latest generation of Helix Universal Media Server (Version 15) now supports a wide variety of streaming media delivery transports including MPEG-DASH (Standards based HTTP streaming) RTMP (flash), RTSP (standard), HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), Microsoft Silverlight and HTTP Progressive Download enabling mobile phone OS (Android, Blackberry, iOS, Symbian, Windows Mobile) and PC OS media client (Flash Media Player, QuickTime, RealPlayer, Windows Media Player) delivery.

Helix Universal Media Server delivers multiple streaming media codecs including H.264, MPEG-4, Flash Media, RealMedia, QuickTime, Windows Media and a wide range of audio codecs including AAC/AAC+, MP4, MP3, WAV, RealAudio.

Helix Universal Media Sever ingests a wide variety of encoder formats including RTP, MPEG2-TS, RTMP (Flash) and Windows Media Push/Pull MMS.

History[edit]

27 July 2002 - Helix Universal Server version 9 launched - the first universal multi-format streaming server - supporting RealMedia, Windows Media, QuickTime and MPEG-4 from a single streaming media platform operating on Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, Compaq Tru64, FreeBSD, IBM AIX, Windows NT and Windows 2000 OS

16 November 2005 - Helix Universal Server version 11 launched adding mobile support for 3GPP.

13 May 2008 - Helix Universal Server version 12 launched adding Fast Channel Switching for mobile devices.

30 September 2009 - Helix Universal Server version 13 launched as part of Helix Media Delivery Platform. This version added support for HTTP Progressive Download, HTTP iPhone delivery, Server Side Playlists, Advertising insertion, and Live Rate Adaptation for mobile devices.

14 April 2010 - Helix Universal Server version 14 launched supporting universal streaming media delivery transports including RTMP, RTSP, HTTP Live Streaming, Microsoft Silverlight and HTTP Progressive Download enabling mobile phone OS (Android, Blackberry, iPhone OS 3.0, Symbian, Windows Mobile) and PC OS media client (Flash Media Player, QuickTime, RealPlayer, Windows Media Player) delivery. Helix Universal Server continues to support 3GPP, RealMedia, Windows Media, QuickTime and MPEG-4 from a single streaming media platform operating on Linux (RHEL5), Solaris SPARC, Windows 2003 or Windows 2008 Server OS

30 September 2011 - Helix Universal Media Server version 14.2 launched enhancements include 64 bit OS support (Windows 2008, RHEL5 and Solaris SPARC) and Multi-Track streaming capability enabling multi-lingual and multi-camera applications. Helix Multi-Track reduces the amount of encoders and bandwidth required by separating audio and video into individual streams and combining them within the Helix Multi-Track Server. The web application or media player then selects the most appropriate video and audio track related to their chosen language or video camera angle.

14 April 2012 - Helix Universal Media Server version 14.3 launched enhancements include RTMP flash ingest support for H.264, AAC, FLV and MP3 codecs, H.264/AAC live archiving support.

8 November 2012 - Helix Universal Media Server version 15 launched enhancements include the first end-to-end implementation of MPEG-DASH standards support for streaming both MPEG2-TS (Smart TV) and ISO BMFF MP4 (Smartphone, Tablet) for delivery to MPEG-DASH compliant players including the Helix DNA SDK client for Android. Additional enhancements include push to CDN (HLS and RTMP push with Akamai integration), MPEG2-TS ingest, Verimatrix DRM direct VCAS integration, enhanced SLTA - "live loop" channels and increased operating performance (*over 12Gbit/s of performance and 12,000 connections), enhanced H.264+AAC live archiving API and HLS Time Shift API. New OS support including RHEL Linux 6 and Oracle 6 (64 bit)

12 April 2013 - Helix Universal Media Server version 15.0.2 launched enhancements include BuyDRM (Microsoft PlayReady support), MPEG2-TS multi-bit rate (MPTS) support.

Specifications[edit]

Formats

  • 3GPP, 3GPP2, FLV, F4V, MPEG-4, Windows Media, QuickTime, RealMedia, MP3, SMIL

Codecs

  • H.263, H.264, AAC, AAC Plus (HE-AAC), AMR-NB, AMR-WB, Various Flash codecs in FLV, VC1

Delivery Protocols

  • MPEG-DASH (Dynamic Streaming over HTTP - Standard), RTSP (Standard), RTP, RBS (Helix-to-Helix), RDT (Helix-to-Helix), HTTP, HTTP cloaking, HTTP Live streaming (HLS), HTTP progressive download, RTMP, RTMPT, RTMPS, MMS (Windows Media), MS-WMSP

Media Clients Supported

  • Android - Helix DNA SDK including support for MPEG-DASH and HLS with Verimatrix DRM
  • PC - Flash Media Player, QuickTime, RealPlayer, SilverLight, Windows Media Player
  • Mobile & Tablet devices - Android, Blackberry, iPhone OS 3.0 or later, Symbian, Windows Mobile 5.0 or later
  • Set Top Box - Amino, Dune HD, Sysmaster (HLS) tested with HLS
  • Smart TVs - Samsung (HLS and MPEG-DASH)

Encoders Supported

  • Helix Producer, Helix Mobile Producer and RealProducer - RealNetworks developed encoding software for Multi-bit rate H.264,H.263,3GPP,MPEG-4 and RealMedia
  • Helix Broadcaster appliance - RealNetworks developed live multi-screen video appliance
  • DVEO - MPEG2-TS ingest with H.264, AAC codec support
  • Teracue - MPEG2-TS ingest with H.264, AAC codec support (note single rate ingest)
  • Envivio - RTP based hardware encoders with H.264, H.263 codec support
  • Viewcast - MPEG2-TS, RTP, RTMP based hardware encoders with H.264, AAC codec support
  • Flash Media Live Encoder - RTMP based encoders with VP6, H.264, MP3, AAC support
  • MediaExcel - RTMP based hardware encoders with H.264, AAC codec support
  • Digital Rapids - RTP based hardware encoders with H.264, AAC codec support

Usage[edit]

  • Live streaming of video and audio using Helix Producer, RealProducer or Simulated "Live Loops" using on-demand play-list agent (SLTA) and 3rd party encoders using RTP, RTMP, MPEG2-TS encoding protocols.
  • On-demand streaming of video and audio files from a wide range of video and audio codecs including H.264, H.263, RealVideo, Windows Media, Flash, AMR, AAC, MP3
  • Multi-lingual and Multi-camera applications supported using Helix Multi-Track technology which combines audio and video from multiple sources and allows individual video and audio track selection from the media player
  • Large scalability through Helix to Helix caching and splitting enabling usage in Content Delivery Networks, Enterprise delivery networks and Educational Campus networks

Architecture[edit]

Helix Universal Media Server is a component of the Helix Media Delivery Platform and enables the delivery of live and on-demand video and audio content to a wide range of media clients on smartphone, tablet, PC, STB and Smart TV playback devices. Helix Universal Servers are able to be linked to distribute content to enable large scale streaming across the Internet or Enterprise networks and to ensure fully redundant operation with no single point of failure.

Helix Universal Media Server operates with a wide range of live RTP or RBS (RealNetworks own secure broadcasting protocol) encoders to provide a wide choice of interoperation with 3rd party vendors. RealNetworks develop their own encoders in both appliance and software versions

  • Helix Broadcaster - for live video transcoding from a wide range of sources (SDI, IP, DVB, HDMI) to H.264, AAC and other codecs with HLS, DASH, RTMP, RTSP delivery
  • RealProducer - for live and on-demand encoding of RealAudio and RealVideo for RealPlayer clients
  • Helix Producer - for live and on-demand encoding of H.264, H.263, MPEG4, AAC, AMR and RealAudio, RealVideo for 3GP and MP4 based and RealPlayer clients

See also[edit]

References & Publications[edit]

  • [1] David Austerberry, The Technology of Video and Audio Streaming (published 2002 ISBN 0240805801)
  • [2] Jeng-Neng Hwang, Multimedia Networking: From Theory to Practise (published 2009 ISBN 0521882044)
  • [3] Marko Elbers, Case Analysis RealNetworks Still Hot in Business? (published 2008 ISBN 3638772071)
  • [4] Elsa Macias Lopez Alvaro Suarez, Multimedia Services and Streaming for Mobile Devices (published 2012, ISBN 1613501447)
  • [5] Ben Waggoner, Compression for Great Digital Video (published 2002 ASIN: B00146BQ34)
  • [6] Spinellis, Diomidis, Cross-Media Delivery Service (published 2003 ASIN:B000QED4U8)
  • [7] Varadharajan Sridhar Debashis Saha, Next Generation Data Communications Technologies (published 2012 ISBN 1613504772)
  • [8] RealNetworks launches all-format streaming server (historical announcement 2002)
  • [9] RealNetworks Announces Helix Universal Server and RealOne Player Now Support Windows Media 9 (historical announcement 2002)

External links[edit]