AWS Elemental Blog
AWS Elemental Blog
Submitted by James on April 18, 2019

With more than 90,000 attendees from 160 countries, the 2019 NAB Show again attracted media and entertainment professionals from across the world to interact with the people and tools that will propel the industry forward. AWS was there to share insights, strategies, and technologies to help content providers create innovation and opportunity from their broadcast and streaming video workflows. Among the highlights:

New solutions in action

The AWS booth hosted more than 20 demonstrations spanning the media supply chain from content creation through content distribution. Among the most requested demos was Accelerated Transcoding, a new feature in AWS Elemental MediaConvert that increases the processing speed of file-based video encoding jobs by up to 25 times. The demo also incorporated Quality-Defined Variable Bitrate (QVBR) control to visualize how AWS helps lower storage and transfer costs for VOD workflows while delivering consistent video quality.

Another new demo showed how AWS can reduce live video latency to ultra-low, better-than-broadcast levels. Taking advantage of new chunked object transfer functionality, AWS Elemental MediaStore and Amazon CloudFront anchored an end-to-end live streaming workflow that achieved consistent sub-four-second latency from source to screen.

Also demonstrated at NAB was SPEKE, the Secure Packager and Encoder Key Exchange developed by AWS as an open standard that simplifies content protection for video. AWS Elemental on-premises and cloud solutions at NAB employed SPEKE to enable seamless integration with DRM key servers.

On-demand conference sessions

AWS participated in a number of educational sessions at NAB, some of which are available for on demand viewing:

In Beyond the Field: How Sports Pioneers are Powering the 360 Audience Experience in the Cloud, analytics expert Cynthia Frelund and an expert panel discussed how next-generation media workflows can create enhanced, customized experiences for sports fans. Sharing insights are sports media leaders Stephanie Lone, Senior Vice President, Engineering, CBS Sports Digital; Rafael Soltanovich, Vice President, Software Development, Hulu; Scott Sonnenberg, Chief Global Partnerships Officer, LA Clippers; and Mark Kramer, Vice President, Engineering and Technology, Pac-12 Networks. Watch on demand.

On the NAB Live Stage, Jason Fotter, co-founder and CTO of FuseFX joined Thomas Phariss of AWS Thinkbox to discuss the rapidly evolving state of the art in visual effects and the speed and scale afforded by cloud-based rendering solutions. To watch the AWS Thinkbox session, start the video at 05:01:25. 

A plethora of partners

Twelve technology partners set up demo stations in the AWS booth with solutions that help create, protect, distribute, and monetize media streaming video content, joined by more than 40 Amazon Partner members across the NAB show floor. Featured partners were AccedoArc PublishingAccurate Player by CodemillDeluxeGrabyoGrayMetaReach Engine by Levels BeyondMetaPikselOvercast HQVeset, and Vidispine.

Industry recognition

AWS was honored to receive three awards during NAB: Video Edge recognized AWS Elemental MediaConnect and SPEKE with Best of Show awards, and TV Technology also awarded MediaConnect with Best of Show. SPEKE was also recognized as a finalist by IABM in the Publish category as a part of the Broadcast and Media (BaM) awards presented at NAB Show.

4K 4Charity breaks the million dollar mark

More than 500 participants from across the industry started their Tuesday at Sunset Park in Las Vegas for the fifth annual 4K 4Charity Fun Run benefiting global non-profit Girls Who Code. With participant and sponsor support, 4K 4Charity surpassed $1 million in lifetime funds raised for its non-profit partners!

Submitted by Alyssa on April 9, 2019

Sports and other live video content attracts viewers, creates revenue opportunities, and can play an important part in building loyal audiences. For content providers, getting the most out of investments in live streaming video means establishing workflows and processes that ensure an uninterrupted, high-quality experience for viewers on their preferred screen. 

To keep you up to date on the latest solutions for reliable live video, AWS produced a three-part webcast series that dives deep into technologies and best practices that simplify the work of building and maintaining resilient live streaming workflows. Click here to register and watch any of the following webcasts on demand:

The Fundamentals of Building a Resilient Live Channel explores the details of real-world video workflows with a focus on issues that impact reliability, plus strategies for redundancy and monitoring to achieve broadcast-grade resilience. AWS experts discuss solutions for resilient content contribution, transcoding, packaging, and content delivery;

Advanced Workflows for Resilient Live Video Streaming addresses strategies for deploying AWS Media Services in different regions, and setting up failover that can span across AWS Regions. This session also covers other approaches to achieving resilience, such as content contribution with AWS Elemental MediaConnect and input switching for disaster recovery with AWS Elemental MediaLive;

Operationalize & Monitor Your Live Video Workflow illustrates how users can set up an end-to-end monitoring system using the Media Services Application Mapper (MSAM) solution, which automatically provisions the services necessary to visualize cloud media services, their relationships, and the real-time status of linear video services.

For more presentations from AWS media experts, you can search our full library of webcasts and online conferences.

Submitted by Alyssa on April 8, 2019

AWS Elemental congratulates EPIX, the premium TV service owned by MGM, for its recent Media Excellence Award, presented by the Interactive Television Alliance in recognition of its TV Everywhere 4K Ultra HD streaming feature. Built on Amazon Web Services (AWS), 4K Ultra HD streaming is now also available on the EPIX NOW streaming service.

To make 4K Ultra HD content available through its TV Everywhere app and the EPIX NOW streaming service, EPIX became an early adopter of the newly announced Accelerated Transcoding feature within AWS Elemental MediaConvert. With Accelerated Transcoding, EPIX was able to more quickly transcode large volumes of film and television content into 4K Ultra HD format for on-demand streaming to customers.

When preparing files for the new 4K Ultra HD streaming feature, a traditional approach to video processing was not practical due to lengthy transcode times. Transcode of a two-hour feature for streaming could take up to 16 hours. VOD providers need to turn content around much more quickly to meet the demands of viewers. In addition to greater video processing speed, EPIX was looking for a solution that would offer adaptive bitrate (ABR) outputs for multiple deliverables from a single encoded asset, with more efficient encoded file sizes.

Enter Accelerated Transcoding from AWS, which leverages significant engineering advancements that account for data rates, various GOP structures, video player compatibility, and more, as well as the vast cloud computing resources of AWS to reduce turnaround times. Through Accelerated Transcoding, EPIX dramatically lowered transcode times even at 4K resolution, completing conversion of a standard two-hour film in just 45 minutes. Such significant time savings is very valuable to EPIX as it adds additional 4K content and expands into new platforms. 

“Before launching our 4K streaming feature, we looked for a transcoding solution with the highest-quality codecs and built-in resiliency. We also added multiple new resolutions in order to continue to provide adaptive stream optimization for the end viewer; taking into account different device models, bandwidth variances, and covering the spectrum of mobile to set top.” said Sacha Stanton, Chief Technology Officer, EPIX. “AWS Elemental MediaConvert gives us all of this and more; it’s a flexible cloud solution so we don’t need any on-premises hardware, it supports full API control which is a must for us, and Accelerated Transcoding expedites delivery of the best 4K streaming experience to multiple devices.”

“We’re continuing to expand our offerings and see AWS Elemental as an important partner to help us improve our viewer experience. High quality 4K transcodes take 4X the number of pixels of HD, and the fact that what used to take hours can now be done in minutes is incredibly efficient for a team as small and fast-paced as ours, where flexibility is key,” added Jon Dakss, Chief Digital Officer, EPIX.