AWS re:Invent 2017 Day 1: AWS Makes Video Easier with AWS Elemental Media Services

As someone who has worked in the video industry for many years, I was very excited by Amazon’s recent announcement that AWS Elemental Media Services are now available to all AWS customers as a general release.

AWS Elemental Media Services includes five products to simplify the delivery of video content. The most compelling part of the release for me is that broadcast-grade video processing is now accessible as a service by any customer, large or small. Let’s take a closer look.
Media Services

Messy Workflow Problems Solved

During my time with video companies, we worked hard to stay on top of our customers’ video packaging and delivery requirements. Video files had to be transcoded from a master (mezzanine) file into a number of delivery formats and delivery bitrates. At a bare minimum, we needed to provide an HTTP live streaming (HLS) format to deliver video content to iOS devices and an HTTP dynamic streaming (HDS) format for delivery to Android and an ever-changing array of other devices.

On top of the complexity of just getting content to PLAY on devices, we also dealt with the evolving landscape of content monetization. We supported various pre-roll and mid-roll ad formats and an ever-changing array of encryption formats to enable digital rights management.

In short, there were many variables for securely delivering video content to devices. Software encoding was often the preferred method as it was cost-effective and easy to set up.

Much of the software or “cloud” video file encoding/transcoding was delivered using a fork or a variant of the FFMPEG open source library. A super solid library. However, your solution still had to be managed/updated/ iterated to keep up with customer requirements.

Hardware encoding suited some situations. Live events, for example, often benefited from the speed and flexibility of having hardware transcoders on site. However, you still had to distribute and protect your media assets. Elemental had a cloud-based offering running on AWS. For both hardware and software encoding, dynamic server-side ad insertion was always in high demand from customers.

AWS has simplified this kind of messy workflow with the release of AWS Elemental Media Services.

AWS Elemental Media Services: Five Key Services

Let’s look at what we get out of this new release and what it means to us. As of today, AWS Elemental Media Service has five key services:

AWS Elemental MediaPackage: Provides a console-based way to protect and enhance user playback experiences. The first plus I see here is that AWS Elemental MediaPackage accepts input from multiple protocols including RTMP and RTP, HLS, and DASH rather than being restricted to a single ingest format. The second plus is that it stores all ingest / output assets as a single archive—you don’t need to separate out “live” or “VOD.”

A third benefit is that AWS Elemental MediaPackage supports Google Widevine, Apple FairPlay, and Microsoft PlayReady DRM using AES-128 encryption. You need to be set up with one of the AWS Digital Rights Management (DRM) partners before you can turn on DRM copy protection in the AWS Elemental MediaPackage console. The current list of DRM partners includes BuyDRM, Castlabs, Conax AS, EZDRM, Irdeto, and Verimatrix.

AWS Encryption Content
AWS Encryption Content
AWS Elemental MediaPackage also enables additional features for playback and audio. Users can configure a DVR experience for live stream viewers and deliver multi-language subtitle tracks.

The big plus for me is that AWS Elemental MediaPackage is designed as a service, not as software running on a virtual server, so it can be easily integrated with other AWS services such as AWS CloudFront and CloudWatch. This gives you one less thing to manage for your distribution.

AWS Elemental MediaConvert: Allows you to format, transcode, and compress video-on-demand for delivery to common playback devices. It supports MPEG-2, Apple ProRes AVC, and HEVC compression standards. It supports a broad range of adaptive bitrate packaging formats including Apple HLS, DASH, and Microsoft Smooth Streaming. AWS Elemental MediaConvert also supports processing and conversion of 4K resolution and high dynamic range (HDR) video content. It includes support for advanced color sampling (10-bit 4:2:2). Again, the big benefit is that this is delivered as a service, so it can be easily integrated with other AWS services such as Amazon S3, Amazon CloudFront, Amazon CloudWatch, and IAM.

AWS Elemental MediaTailor: Provides a simple way to insert targeted mid-roll ads into video content. This is my favorite feature right now. AWS Elemental MediaTailor enables you to deliver HD streams with dynamic ad insertions. It supports ad insertion via SCTE-35, which makes mid-roll ads a reality for any type of customer.

AWS Elemental MediaTailor

Set up is easy to manage with a few basic parameters.

AWS Elemental Media Tailor

AWS Elemental MediaLive:
Encodes and transcodes livestream content. I don’t see a huge difference here compared to what I might get with other livestream encoding providers. They are all good. In my view, it just comes down to who can make asset distribution and management easiest for you.

AWS Elemental MediaStore: A simple way to store transcoded and origin files that are easily integrated with other AWS services.

In my opinion, here is where AWS Elemental Media Services really shines:

  • It removes the complexity of video ingestion, delivery, and monetization for end customers.
  • Any customer now has access to broadcast-grade video features. With AWS Elemental MediaConvert, video files can be transcoded in near real-time to all popular formats and can be encrypted for DRM in the same processing batch. AWS Elemental MediaPackage is available in multiple regions, where cloud transcoders running on AWS have more limited availability.
  • You can insert dynamic server-side ads. The service can be managed from the AWS console or API—you don’t need a third party to do it for you. You can still integrate with third-party providers such as ad servers and content delivery networks if you prefer.
Avatar

Written by

Andrew Larkin

Andrew is an AWS certified professional who is passionate about helping others learn how to use and gain benefit from AWS technologies. Andrew has worked for AWS and for AWS technology partners Ooyala and Adobe. His favorite Amazon leadership principle is "Customer Obsession" as everything AWS starts with the customer. Passions around work are cycling and surfing, and having a laugh about the lessons learnt trying to launch two daughters and a few start ups.


Related Posts

Avatar
Sudhi Seshachala
— October 9, 2019

Top 13 Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) Best Practices

Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) brings a host of advantages to the table, including static private IP addresses, Elastic Network Interfaces, secure bastion host setup, DHCP options, Advanced Network Access Control, predictable internal IP ranges, VPN connectivity, movement of interna...

Read more
  • AWS
  • best practices
  • VPC
Avatar
Stuart Scott
— October 2, 2019

Big Changes to the AWS Certification Exams

With AWS re:Invent 2019 just around the corner, we can expect some early announcements to trickle through with upcoming features and services. However, AWS has just announced some big changes to their certification exams. So what’s changing and what’s new? There is a brand NEW ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Certifications
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— October 1, 2019

New on Cloud Academy: ITIL® 4, Microsoft 365 Tenant, Jenkins, TOGAF® 9.1, and more

At Cloud Academy, we're always striving to make improvements to our training platform. Based on your feedback, we released some new features to help make it easier for you to continue studying. These new features allow you to: Remove content from “Continue Studying” section Disc...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • ITIL® 4
  • Jenkins
  • Microsoft 365 Tenant
  • New content
  • Product Feature
  • Python programming
  • TOGAF® 9.1
Avatar
Stuart Scott
— September 27, 2019

AWS Security Groups: Instance Level Security

Instance security requires that you fully understand AWS security groups, along with patching responsibility, key pairs, and various tenancy options. As a precursor to this post, you should have a thorough understanding of the AWS Shared Responsibility Model before moving onto discussi...

Read more
  • AWS
  • instance security
  • Security
  • security groups
Avatar
Jeremy Cook
— September 17, 2019

Cloud Migration Risks & Benefits

If you’re like most businesses, you already have at least one workload running in the cloud. However, that doesn’t mean that cloud migration is right for everyone. While cloud environments are generally scalable, reliable, and highly available, those won’t be the only considerations dri...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Cloud Migration
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— September 12, 2019

Real-Time Application Monitoring with Amazon Kinesis

Amazon Kinesis is a real-time data streaming service that makes it easy to collect, process, and analyze data so you can get quick insights and react as fast as possible to new information.  With Amazon Kinesis you can ingest real-time data such as application logs, website clickstre...

Read more
  • amazon kinesis
  • AWS
  • Stream Analytics
  • Streaming data
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— September 6, 2019

Google Cloud Functions vs. AWS Lambda: The Fight for Serverless Cloud Domination

Serverless computing: What is it and why is it important? A quick background The general concept of serverless computing was introduced to the market by Amazon Web Services (AWS) around 2014 with the release of AWS Lambda. As we know, cloud computing has made it possible for users to ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— September 3, 2019

Google Vision vs. Amazon Rekognition: A Vendor-Neutral Comparison

Google Cloud Vision and Amazon Rekognition offer a broad spectrum of solutions, some of which are comparable in terms of functional details, quality, performance, and costs. This post is a fact-based comparative analysis on Google Vision vs. Amazon Rekognition and will focus on the tech...

Read more
  • Amazon Rekognition
  • AWS
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Google Vision
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— August 30, 2019

New on Cloud Academy: CISSP, AWS, Azure, & DevOps Labs, Python for Beginners, and more…

As Hurricane Dorian intensifies, it looks like Floridians across the entire state might have to hunker down for another big one. If you've gone through a hurricane, you know that preparing for one is no joke. You'll need a survival kit with plenty of water, flashlights, batteries, and n...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • New content
  • Product Feature
  • Python programming
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— August 27, 2019

Amazon Route 53: Why You Should Consider DNS Migration

What Amazon Route 53 brings to the DNS table Amazon Route 53 is a highly available and scalable Domain Name System (DNS) service offered by AWS. It is named by the TCP or UDP port 53, which is where DNS server requests are addressed. Like any DNS service, Route 53 handles domain regist...

Read more
  • Amazon
  • AWS
  • Cloud Migration
  • DNS
  • Route 53
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— August 22, 2019

How to Unlock Complimentary Access to Cloud Academy

Are you looking to get trained or certified on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, DevOps, Cloud Security, Python, Java, or another technical skill? Then you'll want to mark your calendars for August 23, 2019. Starting Friday at 12:00 a.m. PDT (3:00 a.m. EDT), Cloud Academy is offering c...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • cloud academy content
  • complimentary access
  • GCP
  • on the house
Avatar
Michael Sheehy
— August 19, 2019

What Exactly Is a Cloud Architect and How Do You Become One?

One of the buzzwords surrounding the cloud that I'm sure you've heard is "Cloud Architect." In this article, I will outline my understanding of what a cloud architect does and I'll analyze the skills and certifications necessary to become one. I will also list some of the types of jobs ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Cloud Computing