The good, the bad, and the…beautiful

It’s been an exciting few weeks for video quality. In the world of the wild, wild web (www), a stranger riding into town could be good, bad, or something else…

That’s what we thought here at TokBox when Adobe Flash Player 11 galloped into the land of OpenTok last week. From a distance, the stranger looked like a bandit, triggering an old hardware acquisition bug that threatened to break the OpenTok API. But we squashed that bug right quick. After the dust settled, we realized that Flash 11 was actually one of the good guys. There was a new sheriff in town—and Flash 11 was gonna use his H.264 revolver to bring justice and a new dawn for OpenTok video quality. Thanks to Flash 11, the OpenTok API now offers beautiful images that are clearer, crisper, and sharper than ever before.

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Peer to Peer Video has arrived!

Here at TokBox we’re always trying to find ways to improve the quality of your video experience.  We’ve pushed out H.264 support with the new Flash Player 11 plugin. We’re learning how to pump more bits down the same bandwidth pipe to make sure your video is clear and crisp. And now, we are excited to enable Peer to Peer video for two party video chats.

What exactly is Peer to Peer (P2P)?

Traditional OpenTok sessions stream video via our servers. With P2P,  participants stream video directly to each other, resulting in better video quality!

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Quick Note Regarding Session ID Changes

A few weeks ago we sent out an email regarding changes to our session IDs (they are now longer, up to 255 characters).  If you are storing session IDs for re-use, make sure that your database field supports this (we recommend a length of 512 just to be safe).

Also, when you switch your app from staging to production, make sure to also modify the client JavaScript src URL and server-side API URL to point to production!  You’ll also want to make sure that you start using production and not staging session IDs.

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Good news & Bad News with Adobe Flash Player 11

Update #2: We have just pushed the fix for this issue. Please let us know in our forums if there are any problems with hardware acquisition for end users on Flash Player 11

Update #1: Google Chrome has updated their built-in version of Adobe Flash to Flash Player 11. We have not yet released our fix for this issue, but we are hard at work to make it happen.

Let’s play the good news/bad news game.

The good news is that Adobe’s Flash Player 11 brings with it a lot of new goodies including support for the H.264 video codec. More on how that will improve video quality in the OpenTok API in another blog post.

The bad news is there is a very old bug in Adobe’s hardware acquisition flow which Flash Player 11 has resurfaced.  Specifically, the release of the Flash Player 11 plugin has broken the work-around that we have had in place since the release of OpenTok.

What does that mean for you, the developer?

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Live Virtual Town Hall – How Addiction Impacts Society

Today (9/27) at 5:00 p.m. PT, InTheRooms.com is partnering with Drugfree.org and TheFix.com to host the first ever virtual town hall for their You Are Not Alone Campaign. During this virtual town hall, a panel of experts will gather to discuss how addiction impacts different segments of society.

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OpenTok’s newest offering…Sunglasses

We’re always on the lookout for cool new schwag to give away to you, our TokBox community. Now that it’s finally summer in San Francisco (woo hoo!), we figured there wasn’t anything more appropriate than a pair of OpenTok sunglasses. The biggest fans of our OpenTok shades so far? The littlest members of the TokBox family.

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TriviaTok: OpenTok meets Twilio Client

TriviaTok is a game show app designed and built by TokBox superintern, Ezra Velazquez.

How It Works:

Game is about to begin!

When the host clicks “Next Player”, a user in the audience is randomly selected and goes on screen to video chat with the host.  The rest of the audience gets to watch.  “Next Question” kicks off the game. The player can pick the right (or wrong) answer – or get help:

  • PHONE lets you call a friend (Twilio Client)
  • CROWD lets you tweet for help (Twitter API)
  • 50/50 eliminates two wrong answers (Ezra’s skillz)
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Live Face Recognition with OpenTok and Face.com

Next weekend is our second HAPI Hack Weekend at our office in San Francisco and we’re excited to have a bunch of interesting APIs there to hack with. One API that I’m particularly excited about is Face.com, which gives developers a set of methods for easy face recognition.

I created a simple app to introduce the basics of using OpenTok with Face.com:

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July OpenTok App Round-up

It’s hard to tell when it’s summer in San Francisco, but here at TokBox you know it’s summer when everyone’s a-video chatting. This July, lots of new OpenTok developers decided to dip their toes in the warm, inviting pool of group video chat. (not sure why…) Here are some of our favorite examples:

Group/Social Video Chat
Friend Cameo: Voice, video calling and video mail on Facebook
SocialHangouts:  G+ Hangouts meets FB Video Calling with multi-user video chat
Tanglr.TV:  Group co-viewing of online live events
EpicMafia: Online Mafia game – with video to look ’em in the eyes

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Win a chance to demo at TechCrunch Disrupt in SF!

Want to prove you’ve built the coolest OpenTok application? Think you have what it takes to demo to the most influential people in Silicon Valley?

Here’s a chance for you to prove it here in person in San Francisco! Just build the most compelling OpenTok app and you’ll win a place in  Startup Alley at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco this September. To make the prize even sweeter, we’ll pay up to $2000 in travel expenses!

As a Startup Alley participant, you’re eligible for audience voting to participate in TechCrunch’s premiere startup competition, Startup Battlefield. If you win the “Audience Choice” award, you will earn a slot to present your product on stage during Startup Battlefield in front of an all-star panel consisting of the biggest innovators, angels, VCs and influencers in the Tech community on Wednesday, September 14th, 2011.  Winner must meet Startup Alley criteria; for more details, please visit this page.

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