These Customers Chose Zencoder
If you're evaluating cloud encoding solutions right now, you're probably wondering, "What's the difference between Zencoder Cloud Encoding and Amazon Elastic Transcoder?"
While the services have some of the same features, Zencoder was built on foundational principles that yield clear advantages in performance and customer satisfaction.
- Great performance should be standard, and should be available to everyone
- Quality of service is important and should be backed by an SLA
- Encoding is challenging, and customers should be supported every step of the way
- An encoding service should support a customer's workflow, not dictate it
- Key feature differences and Zencoder HLS advantages
Zencoder is the PERFORMANCE leader
Zencoder is up to 14x faster than Amazon Elastic Transcoder
For applications and workflows where fast turnaround is essential, such as UGC, sports, breaking news, politics, etc., video processing (including queueing time and actual transcoding speed) is incredibly important.
In tests with several hundred simultaneous job submissions, Zencoder outperformed Amazon Elastic Transcoder by an average of 14x.
Amazon Elastic Transcoder
Users have a limited number of transcoding "pipelines" through which transcoding jobs are run. This puts an upper bound on the number of jobs that can be run in parallel, which leads to queueing and slows performance. As Amazon states in it's FAQ, "If a large number of jobs are received they are backlogged (queued)".
Zencoder Cloud Encoding
We believe that great performance should be available for everyone and we strive to eliminate queuing for all users and all jobs. As soon as an API request is made, the Zencoder service adapts to changing demand, and quickly fires up encoding servers as needed.
Amazon Web Services does not offer application uptime SLAs.
Zencoder features a 99.9% application uptime guarantee, and we work hard to make the Zencoder service the most reliable and robust service available.
For customers with unique requirements, we offer expanded SLAs to meet specific performance demands.
At a base level, Amazon offers support only in support forums.
Brightcove has a guy named Alex that will bend over backwards to help you get integrated with the Zencoder service, and a global support team staffed with real engineers. Anyone can email us and expect a response from a real engineer.
For customers with unique requirements, we offer comprehensive support packages to meet their needs.
Encoding customized to your Needs
Amazon Elastic Transcoder exposes only 21 settings, and requires users to configure pipelines and output settings before running a job, significantly slowing deployment and iteration.
Zencoder allows for per-job configuration, and does not require presets to be stored, making it easier to tweak settings on the fly.
While we expose a lot of encoding settings, the Zencoder team also put a lot of work into making the system a joy to use, and making it easy for the average user to create great looking video experiences.
Zencoder will automatically handle many common errors, such as auto-rotating iPhone videos, and we've distilled parameters like 'quality' that allow users to define visual quality without mucking around with bit rates and keyframes.
The lack of flexibility extends to content workflow. Amazon Elastic Transcoder requires users to pull source file from S3 and place finished renditions on S3. This is a severe limitation for content providers who need to pull files from local storage, and who need to distribute files beyond S3.
Zencoder can be integrated with and supports any workflow. We want to support your architecture and not force decisions.
Amazon Elastic Transcoder has a limited feature set, while Zencoder offers a feature-rich service built on years of encoding and cloud application expertise.
Unique Zencoder Features
- Transcoding for live video
- The most complete and efficient solution for Apple's HTTP Live Streaming format
- Industry leading input and output support. Amazon Elastic Transcoder supports only a handful of codecs and formats
- Encoding audio-only files
- Two-pass encoding — Elastic Transcoder has one-pass encoding, which negatively impacts quality
- The ability to "clip" a file out of a longer file by specifying time-in and time-out points
- Easily get relevant metadata about a file, such as duration, bitrate, codecs, etc.
- While AWS locks users into their SNS messaging system for notifications, Zencoder allows users to publish notifications to any URL or email, giving you the flexibility to use technologies like SNS, SMS, WebSockets, Twilio, or whatever you can dream up!
Zencoder HLS Advantages
- Since Amazon Elastic Transcoder keyframing is inconsistent there are wide variances between HLS segment lengths
- Amazon Elastic Transcoder also has a much higher packaging overhead than Zencoder. Elastic Transcoder averages 16% to Zencoder's 3-6%. This leads to greater storage and delivery costs, and a degraded viewing experience
- Zencoder supports closed captioning for HLS video and for CEA-608 caption tracks embedded in MP4 files
- Zencoder can transmux pre-encoded H.264 file for HLS distribution, which can greatly bring down costs
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