What is MPEG-DASH?

The definition of MPEG-DASH (Moving Picture Experts Group Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP standard, better known as MPEG-DASH) also known as DASH (Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP) is part of the MPEG protocol and is enabling streaming media content at a high quality over the traditional HTTP web servers.  It works by breaking down the content into smaller HTTP file segments that have short intervals of playback time content on them.  The segments with the highest bit rate are selected and downloaded by the player. This allows the system to adjust bit rate in real time due to network conditions.  MPEG-DASH leverages the already widely deployed HTTP web server infrastructure that is used for delivery of essentially all Internet content. It allows devices such as Internet connected televisions, TV set-top boxes, desktop computers, smartphones, tablets, etc.

The need for MPEG_DASH is due to the number of protocols, incompatible streaming formats and fragmented device specifications that make accessing and viewing their content increasingly difficult across the growing range of mobile devices and playback screens. Vendor-centric solutions examples are: HLS by Apple, Smooth Streaming by Microsoft, or HDS by Adobe.

The Wowza® MPEG-DASH preview supports DASH264-compatible players. Wowza® is working with industry-leading player vendors to make sure our MPEG-DASH support is compatible as the standard evolves.

MPEG-DASH standard market benefits:

  • independent stable international standard – not owned by any single company.
  • multi-video and audio tracks – deliver the complexity of a DVD or Blu-ray experience, with multiple synchronized video and audio options.
  • mix of multiplexed and non-multiplexed video and audio tracks – provide for dynamic bandwidth adaptation, support for multiple audio options such as language selection and surround sound, bandwidth efficiency and reduced production, storage, maintenance and delivery costs.
  • common encryption – one-time encryption and packaging of content allowing simultaneous use of multiple DRM technologies.
  • templated manifests – for fast start-up.
  • non-segmented origin files – files can optionally be stored contiguously on the server.
  • efficient ad insertion – server-based and client-based targeted ad-insertion via periods.
  • support for multiple CDNs/caches with the same manifest – define multiple base URL in the manifest, thus improving scalability and fault tolerance.
  • accessibility, rating and other content descriptions – possibility of signaling content descriptions such as accessibility, rating, audio channel configuration in the manifest.
  • industry convergence for streaming delivery – avoid having to provide multiple streaming solutions, each of which requires a separate ad insertion flow, content protection scheme, and a different closed captioning format.
  • ease of integration – DASH will work on any HTTP server and most mainstream media servers, meaning service providers and broadcast operators are not required to buy into new vendor-specific ecosystems or invest in specialized DASH-specific infrastructure.


More resources

How to set up DASH with Wowza Media Server

First live public trial of MPEG-DASH during the London Olympics

DASH Industry Forum

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