Adobe has unveiled new features that will headline the upcoming release of Flash Media Server 3 at the IBC trade show in Amsterdam.

Adobe says that this major new release will offer the unique combination of traditional streaming media capabilities and a flexible environment for creating and delivering interactive social media applications to the broadest possible audience. Scheduled to ship in the first quarter of 2008, customers can expect nearly double the previous performance, according to Adobe, as well as new live event support, support for the H.264 video and AAC+ audio codecs, and increased protection for streamed media.

Flash Media Server 3 will also support live and recorded streaming to Flash® Lite 3, Adobe’s Flash Player runtime specifically designed for mobile phones. Adobe expects the first Flash Lite 3 enabled devices to be available by the end of the year.

"As video on the Web accelerates, audiences around the world expect more reliable, high-quality experiences that live up to and surpass television," said Jim Guerard, vice president of Dynamic Media at Adobe. "By utilising the performance gains, increased content protection and a better out-of-the box experience in Flash Media Server 3, publishers can quickly and more securely integrate video into their Web sites and applications with more control over playback, interactivity, and branding."

Adobe Flash Media Server 3 is the foundation for delivering both recorded and live Flash Player compatible video and complements Flash Professional CS3, Flash Player 9, Adobe Media Player and Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR).

Today, television shows like Last Comic Standing, Medium, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien are being delivered online thanks to Adobe Flash Player video, while the technology also powers the video capabilities of social networking sites such as YouTube and MySpace.

Customers can develop and deploy a wide variety of social media applications with Adobe Flash Media Server 3 including video, audio/video messaging and blogging, live audio/video chat, text chats, datacasting, and multi-user gaming. The new release introduces enhanced live event support with the upcoming release of Adobe Flash Media Encoder 2, crucial for news and event providers, as well as social media sites in order to deliver their content in realtime.

Streaming performance almost doubles in Adobe Flash Media Server 3, allowing more streams and more users per server, helping to lower overall deployment costs. Building on the recently announced support for H.264 video codec and High Efficiency AAC+ (HE-AAC) audio, Adobe Flash Media Server 3 customers can now leverage most of their existing MPEG content directly without having to re-encode, helping reduce the cost of distributing via Adobe Flash Player compatible video. Users can enjoy higher-quality video experiences in the ubiquitous Flash Player, which Adobe says is currently installed on 98 per cent of Internet-enabled desktops worldwide.

Adobe Flash Media Server 3 is expected to be available as a service through select partners in the fourth quarter of 2007 and for sale worldwide in the first quarter of 2008.