HTML5 Video Player vs. Flash: Support & Features

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HTML5 Video Player Facebook

In a broad sense, delivering video content over HTML5 is what many broadcasters strive for. A quick search engine query can back that up there is an assumption that HTML5 equates to being able to reach mobiles. This is at the base of the conversation, and most often stemming from Flash being incompatible over most mobile devices, but the answer is notably more complex.

This article talks about a recent shift at Ustream that adds HTML5 video player support on almost any device, not just mobiles. It then covers why this is the right choice through looking at the current landscape of HTML5 video and Flash on browsers.

Expanding HTML5 Playback At Ustream

This month, October of 2016, Ustream introduced expanded support for HTML5. This includes delivery at the desktop level, with the exception of those using 608 and 708 captions.

Through adding desktop support, video content over Ustream now has three ways that the content can render on the viewer’s side.

  • HTML5 HLS: For mobiles and tablets, they will continue to receive streams in HLS as they have before.
  • HTML5 MSE: For desktops using compatible browsers, they will receive an HTML5 based solution using mp4 chunks for delivery.
  • Flash: For desktops that aren’t using compatible browsers, they will a Flash based solution using FLV chunks.

Regardless of which way the content is being rendered, the same UI (user interface) and feature set is available.

Broadcaster Requirements

In order to playback HTML5 content, it requires that the video content be broadcasted with H.264 as the video codec and AAC as the audio codec. As part of this update, Ustream is expanding its adaptive streaming offering with more options, each of which is automatically transcoded with H.264 and AAC (read more on adaptive streaming at Ustream). So even if the source is not using the required codecs, the transcoded bitrates will and these will be used as a source for viewers using the new HTML5 player.

If a content owner wants to disable this feature, using the Flash player, this can be done under Player Settings for that channel by not enabling “HTML video playback”.

HTML5 Video Player Settings

Viewer Requirements

On the viewer’s side for desktops, it requires that the browser support HTML5 video and MSE. A few elements go into if a viewer can watch an HTML5 stream or if they will be served a Flash version. For a quick and constantly updated resource, this article will detect the active browser and if it’s compatible while also giving a quick list of supported browsers.

For a more complete story, read on for more details.

Note: This update does require a change to legacy embed codes in order to continue compatibility for fullscreen features. Check here for details on updating.

HTML5 Video Compatibility

All major desktop browsers support HTML5 video, in particular with support for the <video> tag. The browser version that brought that compatibility ranges a bit, here are the versions where HTML5 video first became supported:

Browser Version Release Date
Chrome 4.0 January 2010
Firefox 3.5 June 2009
Internet Explorer 9.0 March 2010
Opera 10.5 March 2010
Safari 4.0 June 2009

H.264 Compatibility

Support for HTML5 video is only part of the picture. In reality there are codecs involved in delivering that media content on both the video and audio side. One of the most popular video codecs is H.264, aka AVC, which is a codec defined in the MPEG-4 specification. Its popularity is due partially on its ability to produce what is often considered “better quality video” in contrast to other codecs like VP6, but also largely due to support from the iPhone early on.

Due to Apple and Microsoft being apart of MPEG LA group, which owns the patent on H.264, their browsers were early supporters. Below is a list of the first desktop browser versions that included support for H.264:

Browser Version Release Date
Chrome 4.0 January 2010
Firefox* 21.0 May 2014
Internet Explorer 9.0 March 2010
Opera 25.0 November 2014
Safari 3.2 November 2008

The big caveat to this list is Firefox, as noted with an asterix, as it depends on the OS that the browser is working on. Support for Windows was added with version 21.0, which requires Windows 7 or later. Support for Linux was added with version 26.0, which requires the appropriate gstreamer plug-ins to be installed. Mac was the last to get H.264 support through Firefox with version 35.0, which requires Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6) or later.

An individual list of browser support for H.264 is available here. This goes all the way to listing gaming console support. For example, the Nintendo Wii does not support H.264 through its Opera browser, but the Nintendo Wii U through its NetFront NX browser does.

H.264 Browser Penetration

With the exception of Opera and Firefox, H.264 has been available in most desktop browsers for the better half of a decade. Looking at a global view, across a multitude of devices and not just desktop, it is projected that at this time 91.09% of browser usage is done from those that support H.264.

The biggest hold outs, in terms of current market share, are Internet Explorer 8 (0.84% market share) and Opera Mini (4.73% market share). The latter is popular on devices like Blackberry, leading to its continued high use in contrast to other solutions that support H.264.

MSE Compatibility

Most broadcasters are likely to be familiar with H.264 as a video codec, due to being a requirement for mobile delivery. Media Source Extensions (MSE) is another piece of the puzzle, and one that might be new for some. MSE is a specification that allows JavaScript to send byte streams to media codecs, allowing for advanced implementation such as adaptive bitrates and live streaming entirely in JavaScript.

Unfortunately, MSE is where browser support starts to get a little dicey at current market shares. Below is a chart for when each browser introduced support for MSE:

Browser Version Release Date
Chrome 23.0 November 2012
Firefox 42.0 November 2015
Internet Explorer* 11.0 October 2013
Opera 15.0 July 2013
Safari 8.0 October 2014

The asterix here is on Internet Explorer 11, which only works in Windows 8.1 and above and is not supported on Windows 7.

MSE Browser Penetration

HTML5 Video Player ScreenshotIn contrast to support for HTML5 video or H.264, MSE is a much more recent phenomenon. The only major desktop browser to have supported MSE before H.264 is Opera. Many browsers, in particular Firefox, have only recently started to support this specification.

Taken as a ratio of market share, it’s projected that 67.35% of all browser usage supports MSE as of today. 6.07% of this, though, belongs to Internet Explorer 11, which requires being used on Windows 8.1 and above.

The plus side to this statistic is that many of those that don’t support MSE are mobile based browsers, like those found on iOS which thankfully has a fallback of Apple’s custom HLS streaming protocols. This changes the conversation, in context of streaming with Ustream, to just the desktop browsers. Of those, the pain points are Internet Explorer 8, Internet Explorer 9 and Internet Explorer 10. For February of 2016, those browsers accounted for 16.46% of the total browser usage market for desktops.

The Case for Flash as a Fallback

16.46% of all desktops is not a small percentage. While that number continues to decline, it’s too large of a potential audience size for broadcasters to ignore. Consequently, it makes sense to continue to support Flash as a fallback solution for instances where a part of the HTML5 chain (be it MSE or another component) is not supported.

So in supporting legacy browsers, the logical choice is to utilize a technology which has been around long enough to be supported by them. In that context, it’s hard to find something more appropriate than Flash. The technology is already compatible with popular codecs as well, such as support for H.264 which was added after Adobe purchased the Flash technology from Macromedia.

The Controversy With Flash

For a long time, Flash technology was the standard for video delivery. That conversation has changed of late where some find it to be a less than desirable solution due to controversy surrounding it. To that point, it’s hard to pinpoint an exact date that Flash became controversial. The most famous incident is in relation to Steve Jobs and the iPhone, which blocked access to Flash technology on those devices. This came with it an open letter in 2010 from Jobs, which attacked several areas that included security and performance and how the latter would affect the battery life of a mobile device.

The letter and decision began to open a growing divide between supporters and critics of the technology. It took almost half a decade later, though, for the technology to suffer a huge, public facing blow in the form of a critical vulnerability, discussed in an open Adobe bulletin from July 10th of 2015. The vulnerability, which allowed an attacker to take control of the affected system, was patched four days after Adobe made its open statement.

Unfortunately, the incident left a real scar with rather large ramifications for the future of the technology. While critics will be quick to point out that other Flash exploits have been discovered in the past, rarely have they gained the mass attention from the media that the July exploit garnered. The issue became so hot that Mozilla Firefox temporarily blocked Flash by default.

Residual Impact on Flash

The lasting impact to Flash is a browser ecosystem in which not all viewers are likely to have a method to view Flash content. Unfortunately, finding Flash statistics are tricky. Adobe’s marketing department used to regularly publish reports touting it. The last such report was in 2011, claiming a 99% penetration rate for desktops while they were projecting about 65% market share by this time in the mobile space, a statistic that is likely far from the mark due to neither iPhone or Android supporting the technology now.

It’s hard to say where either statistic is now, although it’s generally assumed that mobile viewers have to have a non-Flash version of video content for viewing.

Even those that have Flash installed doesn’t mean they are guaranteed to be able to watch Flash content, though. Many browsers, such as Safari, have blocked versions of Flash surrounding the incidents in mid 2015. However, some browsers have taken it a step further like Firefox. Mozilla’s browser is, in fact, actively banning versions of Flash. As of this writing, they have banned at least one version of Flash every month since the exploit in July, with the exception of August and November. So even if a user has Flash, their browser might block it if they aren’t actively updating it. Here is a current list of plugins blocked by Firefox.

There is also the long standing issue of Flash being blocked on a network, be it by a corporate or school entity. Flash had long been the poster child for online games, and was blocked by many for this reason. The added security concerns during the July incident, however, gave yet another reason for entities to block it. This all leads up to Google announcing that Chrome, starting with Chrome 53, will begin to de-emphasize Flash content as it slowly marches toward blocking it in some instances in future updates. 

Twitter Inline Playback

One of the casualties of the Flash controversy was playback on Twitter. Video content on the social network has been a popular application, but the popular network cracked down on the type of content that could be played there. This includes mandating HTTPS URLs for the iframe embed codes, which Ustream supports, but also mandating that content must not require a plugin for playback. This includes Adobe Flash, which they reference by name on their developer site.

So the move away from Flash opens up being able to deliver video content, both live and on demand, directly on Twitter again.

Current State Of Video Streaming

Streaming is being pulled in two different directions due to events in the past few years. The tried and true approach used to be: Flash on desktops, HTML5 based solutions for mobiles. This offered maximum compatibility.

That conversation has changed due to browsers now actively blocking older versions of Flash; consequently, so has the solution changed, with a better approach being to utilize HTML5 methods first on desktops and fall back to Flash if this is not supported. This is an approach with longevity, as HTML5 video is all but guaranteed to increase in support in the near term while evidence points toward Flash having a bumpier road ahead.


Ustream is happy to release its new HTML5 video player, opening more opportunities for seamless playback to viewers. As demonstrated, the circumstances where a viewer will not have access to Flash will increase only time, and this update looks to address this on the desktop side of the equation. However, due to slow adoption cycles, there is liable to be a small but important segment of the market that will continue to use this technology. Consequently, Ustream continues to utilize methods to fallback to Flash based players to service these users.

Interested in checking out the new HTML5 video player for yourself? Request a demo of Pro Broadcasting to unlock an end-to-end solution for engaging virtually any audience with streaming video.

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HTML5 Video Player

Join IBM Cloud Video at SMPTE 2016

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The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, or SMPTE to us industry folks, is the organization that has supported a century of technological advances in entertainment technology, and is the host of the SMPTE Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition being held in Hollywood, CA October 25th – 28th. SMPTE 2016 is a three day event packed full of technical sessions and special events such as the SMPTE-HPA Student Film Festival annual Awards Ceremony, an exhibition hall with all the key players in video technology and a pre-conference Symposium that gives you the opportunity to build relationships with top video professionals in the industry.

Mark your calendar and make sure you catch the IBM Cloud Video team at the second annual SMPTE Oktoberfest reception on Wednesday, October 26th in the Centennial Hall, from 5:00p-7:00p. Complete with imported beer and German-themed nibbles, the Oktoberfest will surely be a time to remember! (Dirndls and Lederhosen are optional.)

  • SMPTE 2016 Oktoberfest
    • Wednesday October 26th 5:00p – 7:00p
    • Centennial Hall at the Hollywood and Highland Center
    • Open to registered attendees, speakers, and vendors
    • Sponsored by IBM Cloud Video

While you are there, stop by and visit the IBM Cloud Video team in person by visiting us nearby at booth #12 and learn how video has become a global communication medium for entertainment, information and applications. Meeting times are limited and won’t last long! Act now and reserve a time to speak with one of our video experts, we look forward to seeing you there!

Schedule meeting

Meet Ustream for Happy Hour at Streaming Media West

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It’s almost time to break out the flip flops, grab your shades and make the trip to sunny California for Streaming Media West! We are excited to see all of our old friends and make some new ones, on November 1st – 2nd in Huntington Beach, CA.

Make sure not to miss the Streaming Media Beer Garden & Networking Event on Tuesday November 1st 6:00p – 7:30p located on the lawn of the Lighthouse Courtyard at the Hyatt Regency, brought to you by Ustream, an IBM Company. Join us for an evening of beer, wine and snacks and wrap up your first day at Streaming Media West by networking with broadcasters, content creators/providers, equipment manufacturers, and your peers in the video industry. Ustream experts will be there to show you why businesses are all turning to the power, scalability and simplicity of Ustream’s cloud-based online video streaming platform for their internal and external communication needs.

  • Streaming Media Beer Garden & Networking Event
  • Tuesday November 1st 6:00p – 7:30p
  • Lighthouse Courtyard at the Hyatt Regency
  • Open to registered attendees, speakers, and vendors

We hope to see you there!

Five Building Blocks for Enterprise Streaming Success

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Whether you use video for employee training, town hall meetings or HR updates, technology is transforming how executives get the word out to their remote workforce. In a recent Ustream & Wainhouse Research survey of corporate executives, more than four out of five respondents (81%) describe online video as an effective tool for communicating work-related information.

If you are in the midst of evaluating your streaming technology options, this report can help identify the key features to look for and the capabilities of enterprise streaming platforms that should be considered during the process. For organizations serious about laying a solid foundation for using online video, these issues should be viewed as the building blocks for enterprise streaming success.

Download the research to learn:

  • What IT executives view as the most critical features a video platform must have.
  • Why 48% say that secure content distribution is very important while evaluating their video provider options.
  • How to leverage viewership analytics to make the case for video in the workplace.
  • What factors to consider when producing high quality corporate videos.
  • Using VOD content archives as a key business benefit.

With the ability to create more engaging corporate communications, it’s no wonder that video is being used for a broader array of business applications than ever before. Executives contemplating an investment in video streaming technologies should be aware of the building blocks of enterprise streaming to address the issues most relevant to their specific organizational needs. Download our exclusive research to learn more.


Data Privacy and Governance Update

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Ustream, an IBM Company, is an end-to-end solution that organizations can leverage as part of their video strategy. This can be for both external and internal facing assets, which might include marketing activities or corporate communication. Content can range from live broadcasts to on demand video assets. The platform is a global solution, supporting multi-national corporations while also being able to effectively scale to cater video content on a huge, worldwide scale. Because of this level of inherit flexibility, Ustream needs to take into account data privacy laws not just in the United States, but also every country where we store personal data or from which we access personal data.

Video Data PrivacyIBM has prepared an EU Model Clauses agreement for Ustream customers to facilitate the transfer of personal data outside of the EU in accordance with the EU data privacy laws. EU Model Clauses are relevant to all customers sending personal information relating to EU citizens to Ustream.

To request an EU Model Clauses agreement or for any other information or assistance around the transfer of personal data, customers can contact our dedicated EU Model Clauses team via email.

The EU Directive 95/46/EC sets out rules concerning processing of customer’s personal data. As the data controller, customers appoint IBM as a data processor to process (e.g., store, transmit, archive) any personal data which may be included in the customer’s content. In turn, customers are responsible for obtaining all necessary consents to include the content (including any personal data) in IBM Ustream DBaaS solutions.

A list of countries where content may be held or from where content may be accessed for the purpose of delivering and supporting a Cloud Service is available at:

Secure Video App for Enterprise Streaming & Comms: Beta

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Secure Video App for Enterprise Streaming & Comms

Ustream is launching its new Ustream Align secure video app in beta. This mobile app offers a new, more convenient way for viewers to consume internal facing video assets. It greatly speeds up the time it takes for a viewer to access secure video content, letting them quickly dive in and start watching important training assets, executive communication or fulfill compliance training requirements.

Free to download and use, although requiring accessing content from an active Ustream Align account, the app is available from the Google Play Store and the iOS App Store. It makes viewing internal video content easy and is suited across a variety devices and connections. This includes support for adaptive bitrate delivery, automatically optimizing the quality based on the viewer’s connection speed.

The application is debuting under the name IBM Cloud Video for Enterprise app, and being fully usable as part of an enterprise’s Ustream Align account. Read on to learn more about the new mobile app and the advantages it brings for enterprise content owners.

Clean Interface

The app offers little to no branding, outside of the main app icon which features IBM on it. After booting up the app, a plain, green screen appears with limited messaging welcoming the viewer. The internal navigation features no overt mentions to IBM, Ustream or Align. The only exception to this is the help menu, which can be selected before logging in to help guide the viewer through accessing their portal. This page does mention possible URL scenarios, which will show for example.

After logging in, the portal can show available videos or channels, depending on what content is being watched. The name for this content will be decided based on what has been input under “Portal Name” inside the account, found through navigating to Portal>Info. So in the example below, the “Your Internal Video Portal” text would be replaced based on the portal name of the account.

Secure Video App Channel List


One of the greatest benefits of the app is viewer convenience. Rather than having to login each time a viewer needs to access a video asset, the app will remember them for their next session. Please note, though, that login sessions are not kept indefinitely on mobile devices. By default the app will log a viewer out after 30 days. Other companies might set a smaller session timeframe. Regardless, the benefit of having to reduce how often a viewer needs to login is still very large and can increase the likelihood of viewers accessing internal facing content, like training material or executive addresses.

Individual Viewer Tracking

A primary component of Ustream Align accounts is the offered individual viewer tracking. This will inform account administrators who is utilizing video assets on a per viewer basis. This viewership is tied to an email address, which is a required element for access internal content. This same rule applies for the IBM Cloud Video for Enterprise app, mandating either login through a corporate directory or email verification. Details included with this range from how much of the content was viewed (as total seconds or a percentage), where the viewer watched it geographically, and also the dates the content was accessed.

This functionality extends to the new app as well. Viewers watching your content from the app will not just be tracked as well, but will be noted as coming from the application as compared to viewing from a browser on a mobile device or laptop. This maintains the ability for content owners to track usage for compliance training, making sure that employees are accessing content regardless of if they prefer to do that over the application, desktop or another means of viewing. As content owners, this also lets companies know which viewing experience is preferred, and cater internal messaging to be mindful of this.

App: Accessing Your Portal

Secure Video App loginAfter installing the app on a device, there are four ways to get access to your company’s portal of video content. This involves entering a:

  • Team ID
  • Channel ID
  • Link
  • Clicking a Portal URL

Team ID
The easiest of these to communicate is the Team ID, as this is a custom URL slug of the company’s choosing. This is managed under Portal and Info. It appears at the end of the URL for the main video portal. For example:

With “mycompanyname” being the custom Team ID. Since the Team ID can simply be your company name, this is often the easiest ID for team members to enter as it’s often relevant and quick to remember.

Channel ID
The channel ID is a randomly assigned to the channel upon creation. It is located at the end of a channel URL. For example:

With “00928255” being the custom channel ID.

The last method requires typing out the full URL. So in the above two example this would require entering in “” or “”. This is generally the hardest of the three methods to communicate, but if the full URL is already copied in the device it can be easy to just paste without the need to remove any part of the URL.

Clicking a Portal URL
Another way to access a company’s portal is through clicking content that is secured as part of a Ustream Align account. Once the IBM Cloud Video for Enterprise app has been installed, these links will present the option to open the content directly in the app. These links can be found on a website or included as part of an email. As a result, there is a built-in component of the app that can send email reminders to facilitate this need.

App: Email Reminders

If a user is having issues accessing the portal, the app can also send email reminders about the teams that email has access to.

So if another user is having issues accessing it, either themselves or someone on their behalf can enter their email address into the reminders field. This will launch an email to their address that will contain a list of teams they have access, showing the portal name followed by the full URL. For most individuals, there will only be one team listed. However, an enterprise has multiple Ustream Align accounts and members who belong to multiple teams on different accounts they might see a list of several different teams to login to.

End users can then click on the links in the email, which will offer the option to open these directly inside the IBM Cloud Video for Enterprise app. If opened directly in the app, the viewer will be dropped at their respective login page.

Please note that the email entered must be precise. While other fields in the app will ignore spaces and character case, the email field will not. So those having trouble with entering an email should double check that an extra space is not being added in by accident.

App: Logging In

After attempting to access your portal, the app will ask you to login. The experience will vary based on how the content was secured.

If the content was secured through Google SSO, a prompt will appear asking you to “sign in with your company Google login”, which will then involve entering the email and password associated with your company email address.

If you are using a corporate directory, such as Okta or OneLogin, a prompt will appear asking you to login before you are dropped to a page inside the app where you can login with a LDAP username, email or another combination depending on the provider being utilized.

However, if the account was secured with email verification, it will give you the oppurtinity to enter the email address so it can send you a code or an oppurtinity to enter an access code if you have already been sent a code.

App Portal vs. Website Portal

One of the questions regarding this new feature is likely what differences exist versus this experience and the one viewers can achieve from the website. As touched on earlier, the primary difference is the convenience element. It’s easier for viewers to access your content thanks to storing sessions on your phone. The email reminder is also something unique to the app experience, although works as a way to key viewers into accessing the portal in the first place. Refreshing content on the app is also easy, if a viewer has remained with the page open for awhile. All this requires is either navigating to a different page to refresh or sliding up on the main portal page when at the top, which will force a refresh.

While the app contains a surprising amount of parallel features, including support for the channel About section all the way down to accessible links, there are some features that do not work directly in the app. These features include:

  • Chaptering
  • Live Channel Off Air Settings
  • Q&A/Chat
  • Channel Cover Images
  • Portal Logo
  • Support for eCDN

Right now when content is offline, a simple off-air message is played rather than video content or an image. Some of these other features will be introduced in time, such as the Q&A module, while the app will expand with some new features not found on the desktop experience as well.


The IBM Cloud Video for Enterprise app offers an easy to use method for your viewers to access secure, internal content. A way that makes it super fast to access live and on demand video assets as needed. It’s presented in a clean interface that can be accompanied with your brand name to not distract from your message.

Want to try out the app with a Ustream Align account? Request a demo to unlock the additional viewing option this app provides for your viewers.

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Enterprise Video Portal: Customizable Experience

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Enterprise Video Portal

Looking to offer a customized video experience for your employees? Ustream Align offers an internal facing enterprise video portal. This portal is secured, allowing companies to limit access to intended viewers. This audience can be a mix of employees, contractors and other stakeholders.

Ustream has recently improved portal features, adding more ways to customize the end user experience. This includes ways to brand the portal with cover images and also a feature video tool that allows enterprises to highlight selected material.

What Are Ustream Align Portals

A Ustream Align video portal is an enterprise managed hub that offers access to video assets. These assets, which can be live or on demand content, are accessible over virtually any device, from desktops to mobile phones. Assets can be professionally created or user generated content, done through giving others the ability to live stream content that is then automatically archived for later.

An Align portal is for internal use only. Security features to restrict access to intended parties are mandatory. Content can’t be shared in an unrestricted fashion. This ensures a manager doesn’t inadvertently share company assets with external audiences. Once viewers login, they can navigate through a library of video assets, which can aid in training, keeping staff on message, or personalize executive communication to global firms.

Accounts can be managed by a team of individuals, each with access to their own channel or have them set to have global access to all channels to manage.

Channel Experience

Enterprise Video Portal Channels

All Align portals are split into two content types: “videos” and “channels”. Videos are previously recorded content, while channels can be live content with accompanying video galleries and other assets such as an optional Q&A module for viewer engagement. These channels and their associated videos can be segmented in a variety of ways. This segmentation can include by departments (marketing, human resources, etc), content type (CEO town halls, user generated content, etc), or a variety of other appraoches.

This channel approach can be used to develop workflows, for example an engineering channel might be managed exclusively by the engineering team. Alternatively, a trade show channel might be managed by the marketing team and attendees, who can upload content from the venue.

The above image is a sample channel structure, which organizes content by category but can easily be segmented by department as well. This is a backend view, demonstrating what administrators and managers will see. It can be noted in the screenshot that each channel also has certain managers associated with it.

Customizing the Look

Enterprises can customize the look of their channel portal, branding it and controlling messaging as well.

By default, the portal has a very clean, simplistic appearance to it, as seen below.

Enterprise Video Portal Default

Elements of this can be altered, though. These modifications include the ability to add a cover image or company logo. When uploaded, the company logo will replace the channel portal name, which in the example above is “White Label Portal”. The cover image, a large image asset that is 2560 x 852 pixels in dimension, works to build both a graphically appealing portal while maintaining a bit more control on the messaging side.

Like other elements of the portal, the cover image can be easily swapped out. Because of this, the cover image can work as a way to highlight in the moment or upcoming activities. For example, if an organization is in the midst of a trade show this cover image could be used to highlight that. It could also be used to announce an upcoming CEO town hall to spread the word.

Below is an example of this, showing a stock company logo, cover image and also curated featured videos as well. The result is drastically different versus the default, simplistic appearance the portal started with.

Enterprise Video Portal Custom

Enterprises can choose to have curated video content appear immediately after someone logs in, drawing attention to desired videos.

Enterprise Video Portal Featured VideosBy default, the videos area of an account shows all previously recorded videos. These videos can be a mix of auto archived live streams or video files that were uploaded. To aid in quickly finding relevant content, there is also a search function integrated in all accounts. Managers can always unpublish video assets as well. These assets will remain on the account, for other managers to view, but will be unaccessible through the portal for end users. This can help in removing outdated content or hiding assets until others in the organization can review.

As libraries of video content grow, though, there can be the desire to also highlight specific videos. To facilitate this, account managers can select featured videos to associate with their Align portal. This can be a recent CEO town hall, important training material, or even a series of content to highlight. This is an optional feature, while content can be easily added and removed from the featured area.

As with all video assets, a thumbnail is automatically generated to represent the content. This image can be customized, either through selecting a new one using the video thumbnail generator or uploading a new image.

Enterprise Video Portal Security

All Ustream Align portals are secured to ensure that content is internal facing only. Security types can range from integrations with corporate directories that use Single Sign On (SSO) methodology, such as Okta or OneLogin, to email verification.

Integration with existing corporate directories simplifies access to internal content. It’s one less login and password for an employee to remember, and creates a more seamless experience for employees, keeping in tune with the white label aspects of the portal. To simplify creation, there are numerous turnkey solutions available for integrating these. Below is a list of a few different providers and how to quickly integrate them:

This list is far from inclusive, though. This help page works as a general explanation on how to setup SSO on an Align account, which would include other methods like Microsoft Active Directory.

Alternatively, email verification is another option to secure internal video content. This approach requires viewers to check their email for an access code before being able to watch content. Consequently, this security method is slower from an end user perspective compared to SSO. From a management perspective, though, this method is easy to setup. The simplest approach with email verification involves selecting a corporate email domain. For example, managers can allow everyone from to be able to enter their email to be sent an access code. This approach is not limited to a domain, though. Exceptions can be entered as well who can access the content. This makes it easy to add in outside stakeholders and contractors.


Enterprises can customize and evolve their video portal. This allows them to manage represented content, brand the portal experience and highlight videos or events.

Want to try out the customization features for the internal video portal?  Request a demo of Ustream Align to unlock an end-to-end solution for creating white label portal experience.

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Video Broadcasting Software: The New Producer 7

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Video Broadcasting Software Producer 7

Ustream is happy to announce the launch of Ustream Producer 7, the latest version of our robust video broadcasting software. The program is a full featured encoder that offers virtually everything you need for a professional live production while offering an ease of use interface. Functionality includes multi-camera switching, the ability to manage layers (overlaying text or graphics), social feeds, chroma key capabilities, screen share options, and the ability to broadcast in high definition.

The latest version of the encoder offers both new functionality and the feature set of past iterations, but with improved stability. Part of this includes reduced CPU usage from the program, reducing the need to upgrade equipment and offering enhanced performance on existing setups. New functions introduced to the encoder include ISO recording and alternative workflow solutions. Read on for highlights on these features and release notes to track all the changes compared to the prior iteration of the encoder.

New Feature: ISO Recording

Video Broadcasting Software Lower ThirdsOne of the more exciting new features from Ustream Producer 7 is the addition of ISO recording. This feature, an abbreviation of isolated recording, creates clean versions from your video workflow. For example, if you are adding lower thirds to a video to denote the name and title of someone, as being done in the image to the right, the ISO recording could save a version without the text overlaid.  The feature gives editors two versions to work with, and the ability to go back and manage the clean version. Use cases could be as simple as:

  • wanting to improve the aesthetics
  • correcting errors, such as an incorrect title
  • utilizing clean video as part of highlight reels

This feature is only available from Ustream Producer Pro. It is not available in the Studio edition.

New Feature: Shot Editor Panel

Ustream Producer 7 also includes with it an easy way to manage shot editor panel. This is used in conjuncture with the normal shot and layer process inside the software encoder.

Located on the left side of the encoder, the shot editor panel allows broadcasters to order layers within a shot. More powerfully, though, the feature lets broadcasters make visible or hide layers within a shot on the fly. For example, someone can overlay a transparent png image that would contain a graphic relevant to the topic being discussed. This shot layer could be quickly toggled off or another toggled on if, for example, there are a series of png images with each to represent a topic being discussed. The main benefit is through introducing another method to manage the video content, aiding in speeding up the workflow depending on the type of content being created.

Please note that keying up these layer changes is done through pushing the preview area to the live area. This accommodates minor editing before end viewers can detect the changes through seeing a staging shot. It also allows for smooth or abrupt transitions between alterations as well.

Video Broadcasting Software Shot Editor Panel

New Feature: Text Tool

Video Broadcasting Software Text ToolProducer 7 also greatly expands upon the text options available to content creators. This includes robust edit options for sources that can be live based, file based (.txt files supported), or rss based.

Broadcasters can add a single or multiple text sources to a single layer inside the encoder. Transition effects, such as fade or drop in/out, are available along with ways to control the speed of the transition. Text can also be set to scroll, either all the time or just if the text is too long for the available box size. Content owners can manage both the speed of the scrolling text, direction and also if they want it to “auto reverse” back and forth.

Rich text editing options are also available that include being able to manage:

  • Font selection
  • Font size (in points or using pre-selected sizes)
  • Font weight (100-900 scale)
  • Font style (italic or oblique options)
  • Font variant (small caps option)

The text box utilized can be managed as well, including setting the dimensions to scale with the text (default) or be fixed. The background color on the box can be edited through a color wheel or through entering in a RGB value, while text inside can be aligned or justified.

Release Notes: New Enhancements

Below is a full list of the new enhancements that were added to Ustream Producer 7 versus prior versions of the video broadcasting software. This release note list is all encompassing. It covers major feature additions like ISO recording to alterations to the available hot key functionality.

  • ISO recording from live capture sources – Ustream Producer Pro only (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Shot Editor Panel workflow (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • New Text tool featuring live text, RSS feeds and reading from text files, scrolling text (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • General stability improvements and decreased CPU usage (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • All sources use “Scale To Fit” by default (Mac & Windows)
  • Added additional default encoder presets (Mac and Windows)
  • Incremental numbers added for all “Text” sources (Mac and Windows)
  • Added tooltip that displays full source name in the “Audio Mixer”(Mac and Windows)
  • Added ability to update a single Replay Shot OR create new Replay Shots.
  • UI enhancements including Edit­In­Preview with integrated Shot Inspector (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Playlist changed to a new tabbed interface (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Shots inside of a Playlist now display a progress bar (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Added Shuffle Playlist functionality (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Added the ability to apply duration changes to all Shots within a Playlist Shot (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Added “.” and “,” hotkeys for moving between Shots within a Playlist (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Added default duration setting for Shots added to a Playlist Shot (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Global Hotkey Manager (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Video delay for individual live video sources (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Audio delay for individual live audio sources (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Re­designed Audio Mixer user interface (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Added Panning to Audio Mixer (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Selective audio monitor toggle for individual live audio sources (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Source channel selection for live audio sources (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Audio output interface selection (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • GPU accelerated color correction (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Re­designed title system (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Customizable Social Media Shot (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Broadcast and recording statistics overlay in Direct3D 9 games (Windows)
  • Solid Color source (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Toggle to display System CPU usage or Application CPU usage (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Added support for RGB video input from BlackMagic capture cards (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Added 24 FPS Canvas Frame Rate option (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Added support for Animated GIF playback (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • GPU accelerated H.264 encoder via Intel® QuickSync Video, NVIDIA® NVENC and Apple® Video Toolbox H.264 (Mac OS X & Windows)

For specifics on the GPU accelerated encoding:

  • Intel QuickSync Video encoding requires an Intel CPU with an Intel® QuickSync Video core, with a full list available here.
  • NVIDIA NVENC encoding requires an Nvidia GPU with Kepler architecture or newer.
  • Apple Hardware Accelerated H.264 encoding requires a Mac with an integrated Intel GPU.

Release Notes: Fixes

The following issues have been fixed between the previous version of Ustream Producer and version 7. In many instances, these issues relate to inconsistent problems, such as the fix for crashing that would sometimes occur when using Mac Screen Capture.

  • Fixed an issue where a stream may not start if the initial source was a still video frame (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Fixed an issue where transitions may not be triggered properly (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Fixed an issue where sending a DirectShow source to Preview and Live simultaneously could result in popping audio (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when using Mac Screen Capture (Mac OS X)
  • Fixed an issue where audio output device sample rate changes were not handled properly (Mac OS X)
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when using Local Desktop Presenter on systems with multiple monitors or GPUs (Windows)
  • Fixed wide character display issues with Social Media Shot (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Fixed a possible crash when selecting a BlackMagic capture card source (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Fixed an issue where searching Twitter with hashtag could fail (Mac OS X & Windows)
  • Added true cross dissolve transition on Windows

Supported Operating Systems

The following operating systems are supported by the software encoder:

  • Windows 7 SP1 64­bit
  • Windows 8.1 64­bit
  • Windows 10 64­bit
  • Mac OS X Yosemite
  • Mac OS X El Capitan


The new Ustream Producer 7 video broadcasting software provides virtually everything needed for a professional live production. The encoder offers powerful new features to empower broadcasters to improve their workflow, both during a live production and post through ISO recording. Faster performance with reduced CPU usage also makes this the best version of the encoder yet across numerous setups and without the need to upgrade internal equipment.

Want to take the new Ustream Producer for a test drive? Download a free trial and begin trying out the many professional features and looks you can add to your live content.

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Roland “The Future. Redefined” Global Music Festival – Powered by IBM Cloud Video

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Roland - The Future Redefined

IBM today announced at IBC 2016 that Roland Corporation has selected IBM Cloud Video’s Ustream platform to live stream the musical instrument company’s historic, 24 hour international music festival and product launch. Beginning on September 9 at 4:00pm UTC, the showcase event will span major cities like Tokyo, London, Los Angeles, and Paris, and feature live musical performances and more than 30 product launches, leveraging IBM Cloud Video’s Ustream platform.

As a long-time client of IBM, Roland will expand its use of Ustream’s Pro Broadcasting service to broadcast from eight international cities throughout the 24-hour period. Having used Pro Broadcasting to create a regular cadence of live streamed product reviews and artist interviews, “The Future. Redefined.” brings an unprecedented level of scale to the viewing experience by tapping into a multi-CDN infrastructure with Ustream’s SD-CDN technology that has been used to serve live content globally to more than one million concurrent viewers on a single stream. Hosted on the cloud, IBM Cloud Video services are able to provide massive scalability with no additional investment in infrastructure or resources. Roland also leverages the Ustream Align streaming video platform for internal communications including sales enablement initiatives and company and personnel news.

“In the last several years, we have seen an explosion in how video is being used across enterprises, both as a means of internal communication, as well as a way to engage with existing and future customers via the cloud,” said Brad Hunstable, CEO of Ustream, an IBM Company. “‘The Future. Redefined.’ is a ground breaking event, and one that solidifies Roland is taking an innovative approach to connecting with consumers by creating a compelling customer experience that will drive the business forward.”

“‘The Future. Redefined.’ elevates our commitment to connecting with our community in a unique and engaging way,” said Christian Delfino, Vice President, Product Management, Roland Corporation U.S. “To make this event a reality, we needed a platform with proven scale and reliability to create an experience that will resonate with the artists we serve. In the course of our work with Ustream, it was clear that IBM was the ideal collaborator in developing this innovative event.”

During “The Future. Redefined.” Roland will unveil new synthesizers, digital pianos, electronic drums, DJ equipment, BOSS guitar related products, and a new genre of musical instrument never offered before by Roland. The Los Angeles grand finale event will be broadcast starting at 7:00pm PDT from a private VIP event held at Six01 Studio in Los Angeles, featuring artist performances by Echosmith, Saint Motel, Judith Hill, DJ Pierrre, and more. To take part in “The Future. Redefined.” you can visit and use #909day.


IBM Cloud Video LIVE at IBC 2016

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IBC 2016

IBC 2016 is finally here and Ustream is over the moon with excitement. The “International Broadcasting Convention” – or “IBC” as we call it in the biz – is an annual trade show for broadcasters, content creators/providers, equipment manufacturers, and other participants in the broadcasting industry, hosted at the beautiful RAI in Amsterdam. Not only is this the first year that Ustream has had the pleasure of attending IBC, but we also get the added bonus of being joined by our entire IBM Cloud Video group. This is the perfect opportunity for us to show you how the IBM Cloud Video platform merges robust multiscreen video logistics management with live streaming capabilities to power live and on-demand video across devices, at scale.

Book a meeting in advance to reserve a time to speak with one of our IBM Cloud Video experts and stop by to visit Ustream and the IBM Cloud Video team in Hall 14, Booth A-10. You also do not want to miss out on our panel discussions on Friday 9/9 and Sunday 9/11 hosted in the Content Everywhere Hub Theatre. See below for the IBM Cloud Video schedule of events:

  • OTT for Sports & Live Events // Friday Sept 9th @ 3:30pm
  • IBM Cloud Video Streaming Best Practices // Sunday Sept. 11th @ 10:30am
  • IBM Cloud Video: Intro to the Future // Sunday Sept. 11th @ 12:00pm
  • Streaming Video: Challenges, Opportunities & What’s to Come // Sunday Sept. 11th @ 5:00pm

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