NAB 2019: AWS Intros Accelerated Transcoding within Elemental MediaConvert

Amazon Web Services (Booth SU2202)  has introduced Accelerated Transcoding, a new feature within AWS Elemental MediaConvert that enables broadcasters, over-the-top (OTT) distributors, and other premium content providers to complete their video transcoding projects up to 25 times faster. EPIX, a 24-hour premium TV network, now uses Accelerated Transcoding to convert 4K UHD content for streaming to approximately 70 million U.S. pay TV homes.

AWS Elemental MediaConvert is a file-based video transcoding service with broadcast-grade features that allows customers to easily create VOD content for broadcast and multiscreen delivery at scale. The service also combines advanced video and audio capabilities with a simple web services interface and pay-as-you-go pricing. With AWS Elemental MediaConvert, content providers can focus on delivering compelling media experiences without having to worry about the complexity of building and operating an in-house video processing infrastructure.

As the range and resolution of device displays increase, more complex video encoding methods are needed, resulting in long content render times. These delays present challenges for cable networks and streaming content providers. For example, a full-length 4K feature in high dynamic range (HDR) could take more than a day to render using traditional video workflow infrastructure for all of the formats required and the myriad of consumer players available today.

With the scalability, elasticity, and flexibility of cloud processing and the advent of new technologies such as Accelerated Transcoding, these compute-heavy workflows can be processed with dramatically reduced turnaround times, allowing customers to meet requirements for transcode and quality assurance with time to spare. In addition to significantly reducing the transcoding time, AWS Elemental MediaConvert includes Quality-Defined Variable Bitrate control (QVBR) which can reduce file size by up to 50% by automatically adjusting bitrate on a frame by frame basis. Both QVBR and Accelerated Transcoding are available in AWS Elemental MediaConvert with no additional cost.

One early customer is EPIX, a premium TV service wholly owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). EPIX is available nationwide through cable, satellite, telco, and streaming TV providers including Comcast, Spectrum, Cox, DISH, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse, Sling, and PlayStation Vue as well as through the EPIX NOW streaming app.

“We were looking to transcode large volumes of film and original television content into 4K Ultra HD for on-demand streaming to our customers,” says Jon Dakss, Chief Digital Officer, EPIX. “AWS Elemental MediaConvert is a flexible solution that doesn’t require any on-premises hardware, runs in the cloud, and with Accelerated Transcoding ensures faster delivery of the best 4K streaming experience across multiple devices.”

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