Streaming media is facing explosive growth thanks to online consumption of live events, video chats and conferences, TV shows and movies. Cloud video processing and encoding are tools that content creators, editors and providers are increasingly relying on as an alternative to the typical on-prem hardware-based processing, encoding and storage model.
Videos are becoming more ubiquitous each day, and with this ubiquity comes the need to encode and transcode content. In the past, dedicated server farms have been used to encode and transcode videos. These are expensive and maintenance-heavy, and in a world increasingly focused on the importance of video content, versatility is often the name of the game. Content creators and distributors like to have many tools and options at their fingertips, and the ability to make money more easily is certainly a plus as well. Monetization does not necessarily have to be at the top line but potentially could be overall starting at the bottom line.
So, how does cloud-based encoding fit in?
Here’s the top reasons why content engineers are increasingly using cloud encoding infrastructure over the world of traditional hardware-based encoding:
1. Ease of use
Online encoding tools are, in general, far easier to use than the ones integrated into custom hardware-based on-prem solutions. They’re flexible, offer various codec options and usually much easier to set up and get rolling with minimal intervention and maintenance. This has significant reductions in engineering time and personnel resource management. In short, the Cloud encoding services does most of the automated work, and the parts controlled by the user are generally easier to use.
2. Pay-as-you-go options
Though not inherent to Cloud-based video encoding, Cloud encoding services principally allow users to pay as they go. This means systems can be customized for any level of use, and extra, unnecessary costs are generally avoidable. It enables you to launch a new channel or service with phenomenally low up-front encoding hardware investment. Leading cloud encoding services today provide a variety of customized packages to suit different user needs and scales.
The benefits of scaling video cannot be underestimated. Resources can be scaled depending on need, meaning as a provider, you’re not forced to provision or pay for resources that are not used. Rather, cloud encoding infrastructure allows you to scale services and resources automatically, taking that job out of the user’s hands and enables better handling of peak demand situations.
Most Cloud-based video services are very integrated with advertising systems, decision servers and DRM providers, which help bring in money and lock content behind paywalls in order to protect its value. Cloud services also allow even more versatile options, including the ability to incorporate advanced analytics to tailor specific ads.
By nature, Cloud-based video encoding services are better equipped than hardware-based ones when it comes to staying ready and vigilant for the future of video encoding. E.g. launching a 4K service today and later upgrading to 8K might be easier done using the cloud than investing in dedicated on-prem hardware. Expert cloud video encoding services keep video infrastructure and software up-to-date and allows them to adapt easily to the ever-changing technological landscape.
In effect, cloud-based encoding is an increasingly viable option for content providers and creators to consider when it comes to putting their videos online. While hardware-based on-prem video encoding has been the norm for a very long time, streaming from the Cloud is an ever-growing option with a wide variety of benefits that cannot and should not be ignored.
Understandably, the biggest benefit of Cloud-based video encoding is versatility. While on-prem hardware can be up-front expensive and cumbersome, the Cloud has made a name for itself as an easy-to-use option that is as deep as you want it to be. The technological world is ever-changing, and the Cloud seems to provide a superior video encoding option that is set to adapt with technology rather than be left behind by it.