Brightcove, a global provider of cloud content services, has announced the general availability of the Zencoder Live Cloud Transcoding service. Live Cloud Transcoding is an open API for live video encoding in the cloud, which allows content providers to instantly scale live encoding resources and produce adaptive bitrate streams without significant investments in on-premise hardware.
“Live Cloud Transcoding is changing how organisations approach live video, from startups to major broadcasters,” said Jon Dahl, vice president of encoding services at Brightcove. “By offering live transcoding as a simple, scalable API, we are able to change the economics of live events. This will help bring all sorts of new content online, and content providers of all types will benefit from drastically lower capital expenditures and operational requirements for live programming.”
The Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, or Bassmaster, is a fishing membership organization that boasts more than half a million members; the organization has been utilising Zencoder Live Cloud Transcoding to support its tournament live stream efforts.
“The Bassmaster organization runs roughly 34 bass fishing tournaments in a single year, all across the country, and there is tremendous demand from fans to have the ability to watch weigh-ins live online,” said Jim Sexton, vice president of digital, B.A.S.S. “We have relied upon encoding hardware for live streaming, but the technology would not allow us to stream to iOS devices—including iPads and iPhones. We were thrilled to take advantage of the Zencoder Live Cloud Transcoding service in beta; it has empowered us to deliver high-quality live video content to all of our fans regardless of the mobile device they use, without having to worry about additional hardware investment. Zencoder Live Cloud Transcoding has undoubtedly helped us grow our mobile audience, a critical endeavor for any company.”
Content providers face a number of challenges when transcoding for live events. First, they need to buy, manage and configure expensive transcoding hardware. When an event is over, that gear sits idle until the next live event. Moreover, uplink bandwidth at the event site can be a bottleneck, limiting the ability to publish adaptive bitrate streams, or dramatically increasing the cost of an event to secure outbound bandwidth. The expense and operational difficulty inherent in scaling and operating these solutions is multiplied as the number of output streams and formats increase and as the number of simultaneous events increase.
The Live Cloud Transcoding API greatly reduces the complexity and upfront costs of live stream transcoding. Content providers have on-demand access to encoding resources, and pay on a metered basis only for the transcoding resources they use. With Live Cloud Transcoding, content providers can use a lightweight encoder on a laptop to send a single RTMP stream to the service, and create adaptive bitrate HLS and RTMP streams to provide viewers with a high-quality viewing experience on any device.
Smartcom:tv relied upon the Zencoder Live Cloud Transcoding service for live streaming of the annual event Finnmarksløpet–a popular dog sled race held in the most northern part of Norway that spans an entire week and is comprised of grueling challenges in the snow and cold that viewers were able to watch online at no cost.
“The flexibility provided by the Zencoder Live Cloud Transcoding service allowed Smartcom:tv to bring only one high-performing encoding unit to the streaming location, stream in the highest quality available through that single Internet connection and let the Zencoder service do all of the hard work,” said Tore Nergaard, managing director at Smartcom:tv. “We were able to stream six different video streams from a remote location without needing a broadband connection. At the same time, we greatly reduced our hardware investments for the encoding setup on location. Zencoder Live Cloud Transcoding was a game-changer for this event.”