Adobe previewed some new streaming video capabilities of its Flash Media Server at the 2011 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) trade show, including new compatibility with iOS devices like the iPad. Instead of getting Steve Jobs to relent on his "thoughts on Flash," however, Adobe is instead adding HTTP Live Streaming support to Flash Media Server.
HTTP Live Streaming is a protocol that Apple developed to stream live and recorded video using standard HTTP connections instead of the more difficult to optimize RTSP. It uses H.264-encoded video and AAC or MP3 audio packaged into discrete chunks of an MPEG-2 transport stream, along with a .m3u playlist to catalog the files that make up the individual chunks of the stream. QuckTime on both Mac OS X and iOS can play back this format, and it is the only streaming format compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Apple submitted HTTP Live Streaming to the IETF in 2009 as a proposed standard, though it doesn't appear that the standard ever moved beyond the draft stage. However, Microsoft quickly added support to its IIS Media Services server, which is used to deliver "smooth streaming" video to Silverlight-based clients. When IIS Media Services detects an iOS device, it instead packages and delivers the content using HTTP Live Streaming.