Internet Streaming Media Alliance


The Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA) was an organization established in 2000, formed to develop open standards and promote the adoption of internet streaming media. It aimed to create and distribute high-quality streaming media content that was compatible with various systems and devices while enhancing user experience. However, ISMA ceased operations in 2009, and its activities were merged into other organizations such as MPEG and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).


The phonetic pronunciation of “Internet Streaming Media Alliance” is:ɪntərˈnɛt ˈstriːmɪŋ ˈmiːdiə əˈlaɪəns

Key Takeaways

  1. Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA) is an organization focused on establishing standards and promoting the adoption of open technologies for streaming media over the Internet.
  2. ISMA works to address issues like interoperability, reliability, and scalability within the streaming media industry; it collaborates with other standardization organizations and supports the development of widely-used media streaming protocols.
  3. Members of ISMA include a diverse range of industries, including content and service providers, technology vendors, and network operators, all working together to accelerate the growth and adoption of secure, high-quality streaming media solutions.


The Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA) is a crucial element in the world of technology due to its role in promoting the widespread adaptation and implementation of open standards for streaming media.

Established in 2000, ISMA brought together industry leaders, content providers, and technology companies to ensure interoperability and seamless streaming experiences across various devices and platforms.

By collaborating on creating guidelines and upholding reliable technology standards, the alliance ensured a cohesive framework for media streaming, ultimately enhancing user experiences, reducing complexities, and catalyzing the consistent growth of streaming media in the digital era.


The Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA) was established with the primary purpose of developing open standards and promoting the adoption of interoperable streaming media solutions. By fostering collaboration among industry leaders, ISMA aimed to create a unified environment that would enhance the end user experience.

It addressed the growing demand for seamless streaming capabilities across various platforms and devices by bringing together content creators, infrastructure developers, technology providers, and end-users in a collective effort to streamline distribution and consumption of streaming content. ISMA focused on reducing the complexities associated with streaming media by implementing standards and harmonizing technologies, which would ultimately result in more cost-effective and user-friendly solutions.

By advocating for these open standards, ISMA ensured that end users would have a consistent and enjoyable experience, regardless of the device or platform they utilized for accessing streaming content. The alliance worked on various aspects of media streaming, such as codecs, transport protocols, and metadata formats, making the overall streaming ecosystem more efficient and capable of catering to the diverse needs of the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Examples of Internet Streaming Media Alliance

The Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA) was a global non-profit organization founded in December 2000 that aimed to promote the adoption of open standards for streaming rich media content over the internet. It disbanded in

Here are three real-world examples of technologies and services developed under the standards defined by ISMA:

Apple’s QuickTime Streaming Server: Apple was one of the founding members of the ISMA, and their QuickTime Streaming Server (QTSS) was an open-source software that allowed the streaming of QuickTime media over servers. QTSS supported the ISMA’s endorsed standard (MPEG-4) and offered an open-source solution for streaming high-quality content over the internet. QuickTime Streaming Server has since evolved to become Darwin Streaming Server.

MPEG-4 Based Streaming Services: ISMA’s adoption of the MPEG-4 Part 2 standard for their rich media streaming solutions enabled various streaming services to provide high-quality video streaming on multiple platforms. In the early 2000s, MPEG-4 based streaming gained popularity, and companies like NTT DoCoMo, RealNetworks, and Akamai Technologies offered services using these standards.

Video Conferencing Solutions: The ISMA standards were leveraged by several video conferencing solutions like Polycom and Tandberg, which utilized MPEG-4 Part 2 video compression. This enabled video conferencing platforms to offer better video quality and more efficient bandwidth utilization. The adoption of ISMA standards helped improve the overall quality of video conferencing at the time, even on limited network connections.

Internet Streaming Media Alliance FAQ

1. What is the Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA)?

The Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA) is a global, non-profit organization composed of companies, organizations, and individuals who are dedicated to the development and adoption of open standards for streaming media over the internet.

2. What is the purpose of the ISMA?

The purpose of the ISMA is to provide a forum for collaboration and cooperation among its members, to promote the standardization of internet streaming technologies, and to create an environment that encourages the widespread use of high-quality, easily accessible streaming media content.

3. What are some of the specific goals of the ISMA?

Some of the specific goals of the ISMA are to develop interoperable streaming media formats, to promote the adoption of these formats by content providers, and to work with standards organizations such as the International Standards Organization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to ensure that streaming media standards are recognized and supported.

4. How does the ISMA promote the development of open standards for streaming media?

The ISMA promotes the development of open standards for streaming media by providing a collaborative environment for its members, where they can share their expertise and work together on initiatives aimed at improving and standardizing streaming media technologies. Furthermore, the ISMA works closely with international standards organizations to ensure that the standards it promotes are recognized globally.

5. How can individuals or organizations become a member of the Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA)?

Individuals and organizations who are interested in becoming members of the ISMA can visit the ISMA website and follow the membership application process. Membership options include associate, principal, or sponsor membership, with different levels of benefits and participation opportunities in the organization.

Related Technology Terms

  • Adaptive bitrate streaming
  • Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • Over-The-Top (OTT) Services
  • Video on Demand (VoD)
  • Internet Protocol Television (IPTV)

Sources for More Information


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