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What Is Cloud Transcoding & When Should You Use It?

Cloud transcoding is taking over, leading the way by allowing businesses and individuals to offer a smooth and optimum playback experience for their entire audiences, without needing a huge team of staff or tons of equipment. It’s becoming an increasingly popular way for video content creators and/or distributors to transcode their streams, appeal to and engage with larger audiences due to the adaptive playback you can provide. 

Cloud-based video transcoding offers an ideal alternative to in-house encoding, which, depending on the scale and purpose of your stream, will require a large team ready to encode multiple versions of your stream, a powerful encoder equipped to process all the files and huge internet bandwidth to accommodate this. 

Zidivo is here to clear up what cloud transcoding encompasses and who can benefit from it, as opposed to tackling all the encoding of your live streams in-house. 

What is cloud transcoding?

Cloud transcoding can be defined as a way for live streamers or on-demand video providers to transcode existing encoded files of their media into various different formats, enabling smooth and high-quality playback on any type of device or with any strength of internet connection. 

Cloud transcoders essentially take your files from your encoder, whether this is a physical piece of hardware or another cloud-based solution, and transform the feeds into a number of resolutions or ‘levels’, so viewers are automatically provided with or can choose the resolution that suits their device and internet capabilities. The ability to provide multiple levels of your on-demand video is known as ‘adaptive playback’ or, for live streams, as ‘adaptive bitrate streaming’. It’s an effective way to increase your reach, viewer numbers and engagement as you can provide each and every viewer with the optimum playback experience, rather than only offering your videos at one resolution which may buffer or fail to load completely on some people’s devices or internet connections. 

What are the benefits of cloud transcoding?

The sheer scalability, adaptability and accessibility of cloud-based video transcoding have led to this being a preferred method for many professional content providers. While the benefits of cloud transcoding and the offering of adaptive playback may seem obvious, it’s important to take a look at the wide range of more specific benefits that this method can offer both businesses and individuals. 

Playback experience

The overarching positive of using cloud transcoders is the adaptive playback experience. You have probably experienced watching a video before, where the resolution is either too low or too high for your screen so it appears blurry or constantly buffers. Cloud transcoding eliminates this risk, offering viewers a resolution that suits their device type and internet bandwidth. 

By offering each viewer a top-quality, reliable and adaptive playback experience, you can grow your audience and improve your professional reputation. Live streams or on-demand videos that don’t offer adaptive playback, for example, can end up limiting the success of their content, cause viewers to click off and even harm their online reputation in the long run by failing to offer an enjoyable viewing experience. Videos that only offer a 1080p HD or 4K HD version will be slow to load and buffer for viewers that don’t have a strong or reliable internet connection due to the pockets of content loading gradually and let’s face it, no one wants to stick around to watch a stream that buffers. 

On top of the fact that cloud transcoding allows you to offer your streams at multiple resolutions, you can also offer multiple versions to improve the compatibility of your content for various devices. In this day and age, most of us won’t be sat watching our video content on a desktop. Instead, we use tablets, laptops, smartphones, smart TVs and more to consume content from any location or while travelling. Adaptive playback opens your live streams and VOD up to a wider audience by offering multiple types of files and letting viewers engage with your content wherever and whatever they’re doing. 

Network utilisation

Next, there’s the freeing up of your network bandwidth. Cloud transcoding takes the pressure off your internet connection by allowing you to send off your encoded files to another company/platform to deal with. This way, you can utilise your network for other important components of the live streaming or video uploading process, reduce the need for a powerful internet connection and the risk of anything going wrong. 

Cost-effective

Cloud transcoding also allows businesses to reduce and manage their costs far easier. As well as the money you will save by not needing a powerful encoder and large teams of staff to manage larger-scale virtual events or videos, you can also keep a lid on your outgoings by only having to pay for what you need. Most cloud transcoders will offer pricing packages or pay-as-you-go options so you only need to pay as and when you are hosting a live stream. 

Flexibility

Finally, it’s important to draw attention to the flexibility of cloud transcoding. It can be used for small projects or high-production virtual events being broadcasted to huge audiences due to its scalability and adaptability to various budgets. It isn’t just limited to live streams or events either, cloud-based video transcoding can be used to offer adaptive playback for on-demand videos or 24/7 video feeds where there are constant and ongoing video and audio feeds to be transcoded. 

When should you use cloud-based video transcoding?

Cloud encoding can be used by those looking to stream a one-off virtual event, who don’t have the necessary equipment, internet bandwidth, or staff to transcode the video files in multiple resolutions in-house. On the other hand, it can be an ideal solution for professional broadcasters or content creators that want to make sure they are offering top-quality and adaptive video content consistently. 

It’s important to make sure that you do plenty of research before working with a cloud transcoding platform to ensure you have plenty of advice and support at your disposal. Weigh up your options in terms of budget, equipment, staff, audience and goals when deciding if adaptive streaming is a priority. 

Start using cloud transcoding when live streaming today! 

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At Zidivo, our live streaming and on-demand video players allow professional-quality video content to be broadcasted from any device and encoder, whether you are using cloud solutions or have a physical encoder. Our platform is suitable for businesses, professionals or individuals, whether you’re looking to implement large scale live video campaigns or simply need support with a one-off virtual event. Benefit from our huge range of features such as 24/7 streaming, customisable HTML5 players, analytics and video security options so you can control who has access.

To find out more about the Zidivo platform, use our ‘live chat’ or start a free 30-day trial of the platform today to have a go for yourself and see what our live streaming solution has to offer.

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