Windows Azure Media Services GA, Now Broadcast Push Notifications with Notification Hubs

Microsoft announces the general availability (GA) release of Windows Azure Media Services. And, the new Notification Hubs in Windows Azure provides extremely scalable push notification that can scale automatically to target millions of mobile devices without needing to re-architect app.

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Windows Azure Media Services is now generally available to all customers and it allows to stream videos to HTML5, Flash, Silverlight, Windows 8, iPad, iPhone, Android, Xbox, Windows Phone and other devices in a wide variety of streaming formats.

Windows Azure Mobile Services Generally Available

With today's release, "you now have everything you need to quickly build great, extremely scalable, end-to-end media solutions for streaming on-demand video to consumers on any device," informs Microsoft. For example, you can:

  • "Build a media service for delivering training videos to employees in your company
  • Stream video content for your web-site
  • Build a premium video-on-demand service like Hulu or Netflix."

For more information, visit the Windows Azure Media Services page to learn more about the capabilities, and Windows Azure Media Service Dev Center for tutorials, how-to articles, blogs, and getting started building applicationsm and to build a media workflow that can automatically upload, encode and deliver video by using REST APIs or .NET and Java SDKs.

Also, a released a preview of a really cool new Windows Azure capability - "Notification Hubs," that provide an extremely scalable, cross-platform, push notification infrastructure that enables you to efficiently route push notification messages to millions of mobile users and devices.

""Notification Hubs" now provides scalable push notification infrastructure that helps you efficiently route push notification messages to users. It can scale automatically to target millions of mobile devices without you needing to re-architect your app or implement your own sharding scheme, and will support a pay-only-for-what-you-use billing model," explains Microsoft.

Featues in this release include:

  • Cross-platform Push Notification Support through a common API. As of Jan. 2013, "Notification Hubs are able to push notifications to Windows 8 apps and iOS apps," Microsoft stated adiding, support "for Android and Windows Phone will be added soon."
  • Efficient Pub/Sub Routing and Tag-based Multicast. The pub/sub routing mechanism allows you to broadcast notifications in a super efficient way. This makes it incredibly easy to route and deliver notification messages to millions of users without having to build your own routing infrastructure. Devices and apps can specify a number of per-user tags when registering with a Notification Hub. These tags do not need to be pre-provisioned or disposed, and provide a very easy way to send filtered notifications to an infinite number of users/devices with a single API call.
    Extreme Scale. Notification Hubs enable you to reach millions of devices without you having to re-architect or shard your application.
  • Usable from any Backend App. Notification Hubs can be easily integrated into any back-end server app. "It will work seamlessly with apps built with Windows Azure Mobile Services. It can also be used by server apps hosted within IaaS Virtual Machines (either Windows or Linux), Cloud Services or Web-Sites," Microsoft adds.

Update 01/26: In this, video Mingfei Yan Program Manager II on Windows Azure Media Services demonstrate how you can use it to build great, extremely scalable, end-to-end media solutions for streaming on-demand video to consumers on any device and in this particular demo shows off the portal, encoding and both a Windows Store app and iOS device consuming encoded content.