The Cost Of Encoding In The Cloud

The consultancy ABI Research recently announced that video encoding was likely to be the fastest growing sector of the video tech industry in the coming years.

Serendipitously,  at TV Everywhere we've had a crack team working on bringing a platform to the market that can compete with the few incumbent players such as, Zencoder, Amazon and Azure.

Now, there is a real dynamic in the trade off between speed, cost and quality in this marketplace, so we have spent the past six months analysing this.

Of course, every service has its strengths and weaknesses, and at TVE we've been focusing on archiving and delivery.

We're going to be launching a service that enables you to upload and store your master file with full redundancy and at least three copies stored on our partner Microsoft's Azure cloud, and direct access, then version it for playout to any device, and then also version it according to the requirement of any of your customers or users.

To do this we have built HIVE - the High Intensity Video Encoding platform (a bit like Netflix' MAPLE platform). Currently it resides on the Microsoft Azure platform and enables every single encode to have its own managed process. So, we have no queues. If you want thirty different encodes of a file for broadcast and SVOD delivery, they all happen at the same time.

We're using the service on our own platforms, but will shortly make it available via a dedicated platform called Vidcoding (and we're looking for beta partners!).

The costs in the marketplace at present for cloud based encoding are interesting:

Input GB Output GB Length (mins)
6.7 1.6 22
Low High
HIVE (TV Everywhere) £0.20 £0.40
Azure £1.95 £1.95
Zencoder £0.17 £0.69 £9.34 £10.38
Amazon £2.06 £4.13

Low represents low usage and high involves high usage, the difference between a couple of clips and an hour of HD source content per week, in general. The differences in cost are pretty breathtaking and do vary based on factors such as quality and time.