Acceptance of Media Source Extensions as W3C Candidate Recommendation will accelerate adoption of dash.js

Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. welcomes the news that the Media Source Extensions (MSE) specification has moved to Candidate Recommendation (CR) at the W3C.MSE Overview showing how MSE allows JavaScript to directly manipulate media buffers.

Media Source Extensions allow JavaScript to manage media buffers directly.

This is a critical step towards broad adoption of the dash.js project which provides cross-browser support for MPEG-DASH adaptive streaming video using MSE, a W3C specification that extends the HTMLMediaElement (video and audio) to allow JavaScript to generate media streams for playback.  This capability facilitates a variety of use cases, including adaptive streaming and time shifting live streams.

What is dash.js and why is MSE important to it?

At MS Open Tech we have been working on a project called dash.js for some time. Dash.js is an open source MPEG-DASH video player written in JavaScript.

The objective of the dash.js project is to provide a robust, cross-platform player that can be freely reused in applications that require video playback. It provides MPEG-DASH playback in any browser that supports the W3C Media Source Extensions (MSE). Today, that includes Chrome and Internet Explorer 11, other browsers have indicated their intent to support MSE in the future. Consequently, here at MS Open Tech we are very pleased to see MSE move to Candidate Recommendation status.

Our primary reason for contributing to dash.js is to make it easier for third parties to build adaptive streaming video players using MPEG-DASH, the latest ISO standard for Internet media streaming. This standard represents the future of online video, more than 75% of surveyed European broadcasters plan to adopt MPEG-DASH by the middle of this year.

 What does it mean to be a Candidate Recommendation?

Advancement to Candidate Recommendation is an explicit call to those outside of the W3C and its Working Groups for implementation and technical feedback. The latest version of both Chrome and Internet Explorer already provide implementations of MSE but this progression to Candidate Recommendation increases the likelihood that other browsers will support it. In fact, Mozilla has already made great progress in their implementation of MSE. Similarly the WebKit project is working towards MSE support.

For dash.js this is a very important step forwards. Since dash.js uses MSE to deliver MPEG-DASH content in browser based applications an increased level of browser support for the standard will help to ensure dash.js a truly viable MPEG-DASH player. This was clearly illustrated during a recent dash.js panel at Streaming Media West where representatives of MS Open Tech., Google and Digital Primates all identified increased adoption of MSE in browsers as being at the top of their wish list for the dash.js project.

Invitation to dash.js

With MSE moving to Candidate Recommendation, it appears that work is also well underway for standards-compliant streaming to become a reality across browsers who plan to adopt the MPEG-DASH standard. We are excited about these developments, and encourage you to start exploring the possibilities  using dash.js to create an MPEG-DASH player in just a few lines of JavaScript.