In January, Amazon (AMZN) announced a new cloud based video transcoding service called Amazon Elastic Transcoder and while it was very bare-bones at launch, Amazon has already added a lot of new functionality to the service in just the past six months. Here’s a run down of what the service now supports:
- Apple HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) Support: Amazon Elastic Transcoder can create HLS-compliant pre-segmented files and playlists for delivery to compatible players on iOS and Android devices, set-top boxes and web browsers.
- Visual Watermarking: Allows you to overlay up to four still images (PNG or JPG format) on your output video, with full control over the position, size, and scale, and opacity. You can use this to add a logo, legend, or other identifying information to your video.
- Maximum Bit Rate Control: Lets you limit the instantaneous bit rate of your output video. You can use this setting to ensure that your video meets the playback specifications and bandwidth requirements of your desired output devices.
- Maximum Frame Rate: Control lets you specify a maximum frame rate for your output video. This is useful when you wish to maintain the frame rate of the source media except in cases where it would otherwise exceed a certain frame rate threshold.
- WebM Output Support: Amazon Elastic Transcoder can now transcode content into VP8 video and Vorbis audio, for playback in browsers, like Firefox, that do not natively support H.264 and AAC.
- MPEG2-TS Output Container Support: Amazon Elastic Transcoder can now transcode content into transport stream containing H.264 video and AAC audio, which are commonly used in broadcast systems.
- Multiple Outputs Per Job: Amazon Elastic Transcoder can now produce multiple renditions of the same input from a single transcoding job.
- Automatic Video Bit rate Optimization: With this feature, Amazon Elastic Transcoder will automatically adjust the bit rate in order to optimize the visual quality of your transcoded output. This takes the guesswork out of choosing the right bit rate for your video content.
- Enhanced Aspect Ratio and Sizing Policies: You can use these new settings in transcoding presets to precisely control scaling, cropping, matting and stretching options to get the output that you expect regardless of how the input is formatted.
- Enhanced S3 Options for Output Videos: Amazon Elastic Transcoder now enables you to set S3 Access Control Lists (ACLs) and storage type options without needing to use the Amazon S3 API or console.
Like all Amazon Web Services, their offerings start off as very basic products, without a lot of functionality, but very quickly turn into pretty robust offerings. Just look at their S3 and CloudFront products which are now on par with competitors who are competing for the high-volume commodity storage, transcoding and delivery business in the market. Amazon still has more work to do before their transcoding service will rival Encoding.com in functionality, but just look at how much the service has expanded in the past six months. I’m also hearing rumors of Amazon making a price cut to their transcoding pricing before the end of the year, which is something Amazon is known to do with their AWS offerings once they have been in the market awhile and continue to scale. Many companies raise prices as they scale their services, Amazon typically lowers them.