What Is Cloud Transcoding And Why It Is Important For Video Streaming
Posted By : Priyansha Singh | 09-Sep-2022
Importance Of Cloud Transcoding For Video Streaming
Online video streaming quality and low-latency broadcasting play a massive role in providing next-level user experiences. In addition to this, video quality especially is so vital that OTT broadcasters and companies risk revenue losses up to a whopping 25% whenever their video streaming quality is compromised at any level.
Transcoding and encoding are two crucial processes that enable broadcasters to maintain high-quality and low-latency video streams. In particular, cloud transcoding is relatively a newer technology that streamlines these processes further for video streaming service providers and OTT broadcasters.
In this blog, we will provide an in-depth analysis of cloud transcoding and explain why it is vital for OTT and video streaming services. So, let’s get started.
What is Cloud Transcoding?
Cloud transcoding is essentially the process of converting a video file into a multitude of formats or renditions entirely in the cloud. More specifically, each video rendition is transcoded to distinct sizes, enabling streaming service providers to offer multimedia videos in various qualities. These rendition formats are typically utilized for multi-bitrate streaming in an adaptive bitrate player.
Even though transcoding, in general, refers to constructing diverse renditions of a video file in several sizes, cloud transcoding is an umbrella term that determines when both the transcoding and encoding process happen in the ‘cloud’ instead of a piece of equipment.
Moreover, as explained earlier – cloud transcoding enables broadcasters to furnish video content in different formats, qualities, and multi-bitrates. The cloud transcoding, as well as, the adaptive bitrate player duo automatically selects the ideal rendition of viewers based on the strength and bandwidth of their internet connection.
If you use an HTML5 online video player with in-built attributes of cloud transcoding, you will not have to exhaustively rely on external hardware or software to process and carry out encoding and transcoding as it streamlines the entire process efficaciously.
Why Should You Use Cloud Transcoding?
Here are 3 key reasons why cloud transcoding should be considered by businesses across all industries for offering high-quality and low-latency video streaming user experiences to their viewers.
- Better allocation of resources(hardware/software) with cloud transcoding, thereby amplifying overall cost savings
- Enable adaptive playback with cloud transcoding to create multiple renditions of video files or quality levels automatically, hence saving time and effort
- Cloud transcoding ensures all-device compatibility including smart TVs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, gaming consoles, and more
Why Cloud Transcoding Is Necessary For Video Streaming?
Just like everything that befalls under the monumental technology umbrella gradually evolves, the audio and video media has also profoundly changed in the past few years. Content can become obsolete or incompatible if devices and processes don’t change in accordance with the tech enhancement. It is mainly because of this swift transformation that cloud transcoding has become an utmost necessity for video streaming service providers and broadcasters all across the globe.
When transcoding the video and audio format is changed from one to various other formats. For instance, an MPEG2 source might be transcoded into H.264 video or an AAC audio format. Meanwhile, transrating is also a homologous process where bitrates are changed, such as when 4K video is converted into one or other different versions of low-bitrate streams.
In addition to that, there is also transsizing, which is when a video frame is changed or altered, such as when you transition up from 4K UHD to 720p. At last, there’s transmuxing, which is when the container format gets converted, however, the file content does not change.
Cloud Transcoding & High-quality Video Streaming: A Perfect Duo
Cloud transcoding can take typically any video file and convert it while using multiple legacy and new codecs to ensure high-quality video stream and device compatibility. Some broadcasters often choose codecs such as VP9, AV1, and H.266, however, the most widely used and supported by video players and devices are MPEG-2, and H.264.
While video compatibility is incessantly crucial, the most common use case for cloud transcoding is ABS or Adaptive Bitrate Streaming. Many streamers provide multi-bitrate streaming by enabling users to select from different bitrates, but ABS takes this a level higher by adjusting the bitrate in real-time depending on the Internet bandwidth of the viewers and the processing power of their devices. That means ABS can largely minimize buffering and optimize the playback experience for viewers with the help of transcoding, segmenting, adaptive bitrate selection algorithms, and many other related techniques.
Moreover, when it comes to live video streaming, transcoding is of utmost importance. During live video broadcasts, the stream is usually encoded utilizing the RTMP protocol. The issue is that the RTMP protocol is only compatible with Flash Players, which is often not supported by new browsers. This means that broadcasters will mostly need to transcode their video stream either in the cloud or locally using modern delivery protocols such as MPEG-DASH or HLS.
Furthermore, it is vital to note that transcoding in the cloud is different from transcoding locally because the processing takes place on the servers of the streaming platform instead of a local computer. This means that cloud transcoding does not necessitate any additional bandwidth at the broadcasting site, which can be inevitably critical for live streaming. Also, the cloud-based is more scalable since the transcoder can swiftly augment its available resources to manage and handle more videos whenever necessary.
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