Thursday 20 February 2020
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Microsoft Azure Cloud and Video Encoding

Microsoft Azure Cloud and Video Encoding

Microsoft’s Azure pubic Cloud Media Services division announced a few updates.  Live encoding service for encoding live streaming video feeds are being offered and will become generally available to customers in the next few weeks.  This is all following the preview that was on-going the past few months. 

What does this mean?  “Live Encoding allows you to send a single bitrate live feed to Azure Media Services, have it encoded into an adaptive bitrate stream and deliver it to a wide variety of clients for dellivery in MPEG-DASH, Microsoft Smooth Streaming, apple HLS, or Adobe HDS formats” says Microsoft Azure Media Services director Sudheer Sirivara wrote in a blog post.

This all sounds great!  Microsoft will also allow customers of the Media Encoder Standard services to create live archives of feeds in .MP4 format.  And…. Azure Media Services is getting support for Google Widevine digital rights management, after Microsoft PlayReady DRM support was introduced last year.  What does this all mean?  People with Macs and Android devices can watch content in Microsoft’s Azure Media player, which now features playback for audio in multiple languages.

Why is this Important?  Video encoding is becoming more and more important for cloud providers as just another workload they can handle in-house for customers.

This tool has already been used by partner like NBC in high pressure situations including streaming video from the 2014 Winter Olympics.  Microsoft had the potential to draw in both large companies with huge streaming loads and smaller operations that handle far smaller streaming loads.  All the while making it easy and very convenient.

This live encoding is powerful!  These services can let broadcasters send one video stream to Microsoft’s cloud and get it encoded there into an adaptive bitstream that can be sent to different types of devices.  This means.. a video producer can send a single high-quality stream to the cloud and it can be seen in HQ or LQ depending on the type and speed of connection.

Microsoft is trying to appeal to all companies needs. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s competitor in this area, Amazon announced that they will be acquiring Elemental Technologies to boost their video capabilities of their cloud.  This all seems very good for businesses who have been needing easier ways to have video offered to their customers.

An Overview of the Media Encoder Standard:

It is recommended to use the Media Encoder Standard encoder.  However, it is currently not exposed via the Azure portal.

When compared to Azure Media Encoder, this encoder supports more input and output formats and codecs.  Other benefits include

  • More tolerant to how the input file was created
  • Has a better H.264 codec quality that the Azure Media Encoder
  • Is built on a newer and more flexible pipeline
  • Is more robust/resilient


To get more information about these expanded services: check out these articles:

Cloudpro: Microsoft Gets Live video Encoding Microsoft Azure Cloud gets video Encoding for everyone

The Tech Portal: Microsoft Azure announces general availablity of live encoding to roll-out in coming weeks

Invest Correctly:Live Video Encoding will be possible through Microsoft Corporation Azure Cloud

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