Wouldn’t it be great if you could deliver digital media content including Windows Media Audio (WMA) and Windows Media Video (WMV) from your SharePoint site without buffering issues and poor viewing experience. We must admit that SharePoint itself isn’t great in handling and storing digital media in particular large Video files and we can blame SQL for that! Even though you can host WMV’s in document libraries just like any other file, features such as fast streaming capabilities effectively eliminating buffering time, and reducing the likelihood of playback interruptions due to network conditions is non existent. However, this is where Windows 2008 Media Services complements SharePoint well, when in need of delivering rich video and audio content.
Some of the notable features of Window Media Services include;
- * Cache/Proxy Management providing a better viewing experience for users by conserving network bandwidth.
* Advanced Fast Start delivers instant on playback, again eliminating buffering time
* Advanced Fast forward and rewind functionality
* Broadcast AutoStart in the event of power failure or other interruptions.
More details on Windows Media Services 2008 can be found on the Microsoft Site here
I have setup a dedicated server core installation of Windows 2008 (you got to love server core for these type of roles) and have installed the Media Services component. Detailed instructions in setting up Server core can be found on the Microsoft TechNet Site.
After installing server core you will need to then install the Streaming Media Services role. For some reason the Media services role isn’t on the Windows 2008 DVD and you will need to download it first from the Microsoft download site here
After downloading the file from another machine, copy it your Server Core installation and run the downloaded msu file. At the command prompt, type the following commands in order;
start /w wusa /quiet Windows6.0-KB934518-x86-ServerCore.msu (32 bit editions)
start /w wusa /quiet Windows6.0-KB934518-x64-ServerCore.msu (64 bit editions)
start /w ocsetup MediaServer
net start wmserver
Once the installation is complete, you will need to use the Streaming Media Services MMC snap-in to remotely configure Streaming Media Services. You can install Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for the Streaming Media Services role on a computer that is running Windows Vista. You can download the installation for the MMC Snap in from here.
To start the snap-in, click Start, click Run, and then type wmsadmin. If you run into any issues when connecting to the media server check out Microsoft’s release notes for known issues.
The following Windows Media Services console launches;
Right click on Window Media Services node and select Add Server and type the Server name or IP address of your Media Services Server Core machine. The following screen will then appear in which you can then add a publishing point to store your media files.
Right clicking on Publishing Point will provide you with 2 options, a wizard option and an advanced option. Let’s keep it simple and select Wizard. The following welcome screen will then appear.
Enter a descriptive Publishing Point Name.
Select your Content Type. In our case we only need an area for storage of media files to be played back effortlessly from our SharePoint server so we are selecting Files as our option.
Select your Publishing Point Type. In our case, we want each user to be able to control the stream for each individual video that we publish on SharePoint so we will select On-demand publishing point.
- Specify your directory location where you will be storing the video files (Note, you will need to create this folder in advance). Your video and audio files will also need to be copied into this location manually, i.e. via Windows Explorer.
Specify your content playback settings.
Specify whether to enable or disable logging.
You are then displayed with a summary screen outlining the settings chosen. Click Next and then click on finish. Specify whether you want to publish an announcement, in our case it’s not necessary as we will be creating links from our SharePoint server to the video files located on our Media Server.
You will now notice our newly created Publishing Point “Georges Videos” listed in the MMC snap in. Clicking on the source tab will list the videos that are located under the directory that we specified earlier. In my case, I have copied a video file titled “Movie Stars.wmv”.
You can right click on the file and click on test. This will run a test on the file uploaded to the media server and provide you with some statistics with regards to network performance. The URL to the media file is also displayed. This is the URL that is required to create your links in SharePoint.
I took a graphical fancy option and designed a web page in SharePoint Designer with thumbnail pictures that once clicked on will launch the file in Windows Media Player (assuming that is your default player for WMV and WMA files). Reminder, these are not http:// links but mms:// links.
That’s all that is to it! Hopefully you can now enjoy many hours of enjoyable video and audio streaming, minus the buffering issues!