AWS Elemental Blog
AWS Elemental Blog
Submitted by Alyssa on June 8, 2017

At NAB 2017, more than 660 individuals from the media, entertainment and technology industries laced up their shoes in the name of diversity and inclusion at the 4K 4Charity Fun Run. In support of this event, 4K 4Charity sponsors, partners and supporters raised more than $52,000 for nonprofit beneficiaries, Mercy Corps and Women Who Code. This funding will enable these deserving organizations to continue in their work to aid millions of people who are at risk or underrepresented around the world.

Breaking $50,000 in total donations marked one of many exciting “firsts” for the 4K 4Charity Fun Run Series. The run at the NAB Show also achieved milestones such as the first time to garner support from 17 corporate sponsors, the first time to offer a complimentary t-shirt to early registrants, and the first participant to finish the 4km (2.49-mile) course in under 13 minutes. 

View Infographic

Our generous 4K 4Charity Fun Run sponsors helped make each first and every achievement possible. If you would like to sponsor the September 16 Fun Run at the IBC show, contact Kate Incerto at

Submitted by Laura on April 25, 2017

Last week, we shared the news of NASA’s plan to deliver the first-ever live 4K video from space and discussed some of the challenges that NASA, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and AWS Elemental addressed in achieving this historic milestone. Today, at 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time (US), that milestone was surpassed today as part of “Reaching for the Stars: Connecting to the Future with NASA and Hollywood,” an NAB Show Super Session at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC).

To bring the first live 4K signal from the International Space Station (ISS) to viewers here on Earth, we designed three primary workflows based on AWS Elemental software and AWS solutions. Aboard the ISS, a 4K camera and AWS Elemental Live encoder provided the HEVC 4K video stream and sent it in a UDP transport protocol via the ISS network into Johnson Space Center (JSC).

View Workflow Watch Video

From JSC, the 4K video was decoded and routed along with a separate audio feed to an AWS Elemental Live system on-premises, which encoded and sent the signal via the NASA network to an uplink facility for delivery via satellite to a downlink truck on site at the LVCC, where the signal was brought into Room N249 for production and live viewing on 4K projectors.

Finally, to bring the live 4K event feed to the viewing public on multiscreen devices, AWS Elemental Live systems sited at LVCC furnished redundant encoded adaptive bitrate HLS streams to two separate AWS Elemental Delta cloud instances for origin services. These origins delivered IP HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) outputs through Elastic Load Balancers to the Amazon CloudFront content delivery network (CDN). Amazon Route 53 provided Domain Name Services, redundancy and routing policies to better manage the flow of traffic and failover to reach regional AWS Elemental Delta instances. Amazon Cloudfront and Amazon CloudFront Regional Edge Caches provide the global CDN for delivery to multiscreen and connected devices everywhere, with network monitoring performed by Amazon CloudWatch.

For the complete story of how NASA, AWS and AWS Elemental brought this video first to life, please download our application brief. To view an on-demand video of the live event and NAB Show panel, visit

Submitted by Laura on April 21, 2017

In 2006, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) achieved a broadcast industry milestone when the agency successfully produced the first live high-definition (HD) transmission from space. NASA and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) have announced that on April 26, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time (US), NASA will take another step in advanced video innovation as it pushes the envelope with live 4K.

Together with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and AWS Elemental, NASA is now able to stream live 4K video to enhance its ability to observe, uncover and adapt new knowledge of orbital and deep space. The live feed from 250 miles above Earth will be encoded using AWS Elemental video processing software on board the International Space Station (ISS) and on the ground at Johnson Space Center for delivery by AWS in the cloud to multiscreen devices.

The opportunities that live 4K video unlocks for the agency are significant. Visual impact, for one: There is something special about “live” versus video that’s recorded and played back later. When it’s live, what you’re seeing and hearing is happening in real-time, somewhere above the Earth. It makes the viewing experience more magical.

While NASA has been able to get live TV down from spacecraft dating back to the Apollo missions, the resolution wasn’t always vibrant enough to give viewers a vicarious experience. Even the advent of high definition (HD) video and, later 4K on-demand content, didn’t always give space fans the “just like being there” feeling. Having the ability to send down live UHD/4K, with four times the resolution of full HD, is truly approaching the threshold of “just like being there” for the viewer.

Not only does the superior image quality of live 4K enhance the viewing experience for the public, it also benefits the work of scientists. Having extremely high-resolution video from the ISS can help engineers and payload developers better monitor experiments as well as spacecraft performance, and aid trouble-shooting. 

That’s not to say that encoding video – let alone live 4K video -- in space is easy. That’s where software-based video processing and cloud services work together to make this historic event possible.

The ISS orbits about 250 miles above the Earth and travels at a speed of 17,200 miles per hour (27,600 km per hour). The encoder onboard the nation’s microgravity, orbiting laboratory must be stable and reliable; failure is not an option.

Size is key: every ounce of weight and inch of space is precious, so the encoder needs to be as small as possible. It must also be easy on power consumption, and satisfy NASA specifications for loudness, fan speed, and chemical composition of every component comprising a given product. NASA conducts human factors engineering testing, to make sure it meets the crew’s needs from an interface standpoint, so the user interface has to be simple, yet robust.

The flexibility of software-based video processing enabled AWS Elemental Live to address all of these issues and to help deliver the first live 4K video from space for NASA and bring it to viewers via Amazon CloudFront. 

The history-making event takes place as part of “Reaching for the Stars: Connecting to the Future with NASA and Hollywood,” an NAB Show Super Session in Room N249 of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) on April 26. Produced by NASA, NAB and AWS, the panel event will include a live interaction with astronaut Peggy Whitson, who will share real-world examples of scientific experiments and discuss the power of live 4K video in supporting NASA’s work. The panel and live stream from space will be available to the public for multiscreen viewing in live 4K and down-converted high definition (HD) video at