Definition

Amazon Elastic Transcoder

Contributor(s): David Carty

Amazon Elastic Transcoder is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) tool that allows an enterprise to convert media files into formats that a range of devices support, including smartphones, tablets and desktops.

The service establishes a transcoding pipeline, taking a media file from an input source and converting it to a developer's desired format. It then stores the media in an Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) bucket. Amazon Elastic Transcoder, which is available through the AWS Management Console, supports different input and output formats -- including 3GP, AVI, AAC, MP4, FLV and MPEG-2 -- resolutions, bitrates and frame rates. The service also provides additional media customization tools, including support for multiple closed caption tracks, thumbnail generation, overlay of up to four visual watermarks and automatic video bit rate optimization.

To use the Amazon Elastic Transcoder service, a developer creates a transcoding pipeline from the storage input to the storage output, sets up an AWS Identity and Access Management role to guard permissions to the content and creates the transcoding job. Transcoding time depends on various factors including the size of the video and resolution.

If a developer needs to convert a large file, he can do so using AWS Import/Export, AWS Direct Connect or third-party file-acceleration tools. After converting files, a developer can integrate Elastic Transcoder with Amazon CloudFront to distribute transcoded files to end users via a Content Distribution Network. A developer can set up messaging using the Amazon Simple Notification Service to receive notifications when a transcoding job begins or ends.

A developer can establish custom presets -- or choose from AWS-provided presets -- in Elastic Transcoder, which serve as templates for how media files convert. Presets specify which devices can play a media file and video resolution, among other designations.

Amazon Elastic Transcoder allows a developer to input encrypted files and encrypt transcoded files, thumbnails, captions and watermarks. The service supports encryption through S3 server-side encryption and AWS Key Management Service.

AWS provides a free tier of service for Amazon Elastic Transcoder, allowing a developer to use the service for free until he exceeds the number of free minutes. The developer is then charged according to media runtime and output quality.

This was last updated in September 2016

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