Akamai’s On Demand Streaming customers publish their content in one of two ways - either to their own origin servers or directly to the Akamai Intelligent Platform™.
The HD Network
The on demand portion of the Akamai HD Network has VOD Translator servers deployed throughout the world which retrieve the customer’s objects from NetStorage or from customer origin and transmux it from whatever format it was uploaded in (be it something like an FLV, MOV, or AVI file) and deliver it in the format that the user device has requested. The supported output formats are Akamai HD Flash, Adobe HDS, and Apple HLS.
We can do this because each of these source and delivery formats make use of a set of overlapping audio and video codecs (generally H.264 for video and AAC or MP3 for audio). The primary difference between the formats is the container in which the audio and video data is stored. Our VOD Translators repackage the content into an appropriate container for delivery to the user.
Microsoft’s Silverlight format is supported as well, but it requires Silverlight-specific content to be stored on NetStorage or customer origin. Translation from other formats to Silverlight or from Silverlight to other formats is not supported today.
The HD Network makes use of our Freeflow network for delivery from the VOD Translators to the user.
Using Freeflow to deliver HD content
Delivery of objects on the Akamai HD Network is the same as described in the Akamai Delivery Overview document.
Using the Freeflow network to deliver HTTP streaming protocols enables the leverage of a vast deployment of Akamai servers in more than 2200 locations throughout the world. Having these servers close to your customers enables the delivery of high bit-rate streams, and lets the established base of servers provide caching of your content. This improves user performance while providing offload of your origin resources, as opposed to having to deploy new infrastructure to deliver the content.
It also allows the use of techniques like prefetching, SureRoute, popularity based mapping, and user mapping to improve the user’s experience. As usage of the general Internet grows, so does our Freeflow network, and therefore so does our ability to deliver content through the HD Network.