AWS Elemental’s new transcoding product promises 25x faster video processing

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Epix is one of the first media companies using Accelerated Transcoding from AWS Elemental MediaConvert. (iStock)

LAS VEGAS—At the NAB Show this week, AWS Elemental took the wraps off Accelerated Transcoding, a new MediaConvert feature promising 25 times faster video processing.

The company is tilting the product toward broadcasters, over-the-top (OTT) distributors, and other content providers. Premium network Epix is currently using Accelerated Transcoding to convert 4K UHD content for streaming to about 70 million U.S. pay TV homes.

“We were looking to transcode large volumes of film and original television content into 4K Ultra HD for on-demand streaming to our customers,” said Jon Dakss, chief digital officer at Epix, in a statement. “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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The product is meant to address transcoding times that have expanded as new more complicated formats have emerged and streaming to multiple devices has become necessary. AWS Elemental said that a full-length feature in 4K with HDR previously took up to an entire day to render, but its new transcoding feature can cut that time down significantly.

Accelerated Transcoding can work in tandem with Quality-Defined Variable Bitrate control, a product AWS rolled out last year and one which can reduce file size by up to 50% by automatically adjusting bitrate on a frame-by-frame basis.

The updates to MediaConvert arrive after late last year AWS Elemental launched MediaConnect as part of its media services suite. MediaConnect is for ingesting, transmitting and replicating live video feeds. The service is intended to provide a less-expensive, more-flexible alternative to satellite and fiber connections for transmitting live video content.