January 31, 2013
Amazon’s new Elastic Transcoder service allows people to upload and convert digital video to h264, AAC and MP4 formats for smartphone and tablet playback. The service offers 20 free minutes of transcoding per month, after which Amazon offers tiered plans starting at $0.015 for SD or $0.030 for HD per minute. The prices undercut existing cloud services like Zencoder, and the service is more convenient than purchasing external transcoding equipment.
“Our customers told us that it was difficult and expensive to transcode video due to the explosion in the number of devices they need to support,” said Charlie Bell, VP of Utility Computing Services. “They had to be both experts in the intricacies of video support on different devices and manage the software required to run the transcoding jobs. None of this work had anything to do with their goal: getting a high quality video that would look great on the devices they wanted. We built Amazon Elastic Transcoder to give our customers an easy, cost effective way to solve these problems.”
“There’s no need to administer software, scale hardware, tune performance, or otherwise manage transcoding infrastructure. You simply create a transcoding ‘job’ specifying the location of your source video and how you want it transcoded,” explains Amazon on its Web Services site. “Amazon Elastic Transcoder also provides transcoding presets for popular output formats, which means that you don’t need to guess about which settings work best on particular devices. All these features are available via service APIs and the AWS Management Console.”
The move enhances Amazon’s cloud-based storage system as well as its video content delivery platform. TechCrunch describes the experience as a “one-stop-shop” which will attract independent companies looking to complete single jobs. The companies can pay on an a la carte basis, so they do not have to lock into commitments.
Rather than implementing a gradual roll-out, Amazon chose to make the service immediately available in America, Europe and Asia.
Amazon Web Services has scheduled an introductory webinar for Wednesday, February 27.