Amazon Elastic Transcoder Now Supports Smooth Streaming

Amazon Elastic
is a scalable, fully managed media (audio and video)
transcoding service that works on a cost-effective, pay-per-use
model. You don’t have to license or install any software, and you
can take advantage of transcoding presets for a variety of popular
output devices and formats, including H.264 and VP8 video and AAC,
MP3, and Vorbis audio formatted into MP4, WebM, MPEG2-TS, MP3, and
OGG packages. You can also generate segmented video files (and the
accompanying manifests) for HLS video < strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>streaming.

Earlier this year we improved Elastic Transcoder with an increase in the
level of parallelism and
support for captions.

Today we are adding support for
Smooth Streaming (one of
several types of
adaptive bitrate streaming)
over HTTP to platforms such as XBox, Windows Phone, and clients that make use of
Microsoft Silverlight players.
This technology improves the viewer experience by automatically switching to data streams of
higher and lower quality that are based on local network conditions and CPU utilization on the playback
device. In conjunction with Amazon CloudFront, you can now distribute high-quality audio and video
content to even more types of devices.

New Smooth Streaming Support
Adaptive bitrate < strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>streaming uses the information stored in
a manifest file to choose between alternate
renditions (at different bitrates) of the same content. Although
the specifics will vary, you can think of this as low, medium, and high
quality versions of the same source material. The content
is further segmented into blocks, each containing several seconds
(typically two to ten) of encoded content. For more information about
the adaptation process, you can read my recent blog post,

Amazon CloudFront Now Supports Microsoft Smooth Streaming

Each transcoding job that specifies Smooth Streaming as an output format generates
three or more files:

  • ISM — A manifest file that contains links to each rendition along
    with additional metadata.
  • ISMC — A client file that contains information about each rendition and
    each segment within each rendition.
  • ISMV — One or more movie
    files (sometimes known as Fragmented MP4).

The following diagram shows the relationship between the files:

Getting Started
If you are familiar with Elastic Transcoder and already have your
pipelines set up, you can choose the Smooth playlist format during the job
creation process. For more information, see
Creating a Job in Elastic Transcoder.
If you are new to Elastic Transcoder, see
Getting Started with Elastic Transcoder.

After you create an Elastic Transcoder job that produces the files that are needed for
Smooth Streaming, Elastic Transcoder will place the files in the designated Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) bucket. You can use the
Smooth Streaming support built in to Amazon CloudFront (this is the simplest and best
option) or you can set up and run your own < strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>streaming server.

If you embed your video player in a web site that is hosted on a different domain from
the one that you use to host your files, you will need to create a
clientaccesspolicy.xml or
crossdomainpolicy.xml file, set it up to allow the appropriate level
of cross-domain access, and make it available at the root of your CloudFront distribution.
For more information about this process, see
On-Demand Smooth Streaming
. For more information about configuring Microsoft
Silverlight for cross-domain access, see
Making a Service
Available Across Domain Boundaries

Get a Smooth Start with Smooth Streaming
This powerful new Elastic Transcoder feature is available now and you can start using it today!


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