AWS debuts cloud-based video transcoding service

AWS users can now transcode 20 minutes of free footage each month on pay-as-you-go service

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched a new video-transcoding service called Elastic Transcoder.

The move could put the firm in competition with customers who use AWS to offer similar services.

Elastic Transcoder is aimed at companies that produce video content, and offers users a means of converting video files from their source format into versions that will playback on smartphones, tablet and PC devices.

It manages all aspects of the transcoding process automatically without the need to administer software, scale hardware or tune performance.

The service supports input formats such as 3GP, AAC, AVI, FLV, MP4, and MPEG-2 and outputs to H.264/AAC/MP4. Users specify the location of their source video and how they want it transcoded.

The Elastic Transcoder also provides presets for popular output formats, so users know which settings work best on particular devices. All these features are available via service APIs and the AWS Management Console.

According to Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for AWS, the service has no start-up costs.

“Your costs are determined by the duration (in minutes) of your transcoded videos,” said Barr. “Transcoding of Standard Definition (SD) video (less than 720p) costs $0.015 USD (one and a half cents) per minute in US East (Northern Virginia).”

High definition (HD) video (720p or greater) costs $0.03 (three cents) per minute, also in the US East. As part of the AWS Free Usage Tier, the first 20 minutes of SD transcoding or 10 minutes of HD transcoding are provided at no charge.

The service’s pricing means it currently undercuts the video encoding and transcoding offerings of AWS EC2 customers, such as Sorenson Media and Zencoder.

Sorensen’s Squeeze Server is available for $8 per hour, while Zencodere charges $0.02 per hour for its service.

Elastic Transcoder has launched in the following six AWS regions: US East (North Virginia), US West (Oregon), US West (North California), EU (Ireland), Asia-Pacific (Singapore), and Asia-Pacific (Tokyo).

In other Amazon-related news, the company announced its fourth quarter results yesterday, which showed net sales grew 22 per cent on a year-over-year basis to $21.3 billion.

However, net profit declined over the same time frame by 45 per cent to $97 million.

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