Amazon Interactive Video Service FAQs

What is Amazon Interactive Video Service?

Amazon Interactive Video Service (Amazon IVS) is a managed live streaming solution, built on the same technology that powers Twitch, that is designed to be quick and easy to set up, enabling you to leverage the same innovative technology that Twitch has built and refined over a decade. Send your live streams to Amazon IVS using standard streaming software and the service is designed to do everything you need to make them available to your viewers around the world, letting you focus on building interactive experiences alongside the live video. You can easily customize and enhance the audience experience through the Amazon IVS player SDK and timed metadata APIs, allowing you to build a more valuable relationship with your viewers on your own websites and applications.

Who can use Amazon Interactive Video Service?

Amazon Interactive Video Service is designed for developers who want to add live video and enable interactivity with video in their app or site without investing in streaming infrastructure. Developers who are not video experts can focus on creating interactive video experiences using a simple set of APIs to synchronize features such as polls, surveys, and other overlays with live video. For example, a developer making a live trivia or a live retail app can use the API to ensure viewers see the same questions at the same moment in the video stream.

What’s the key difference between Amazon Interactive Video Service and Twitch, and other live streaming platforms?

Amazon Interactive Video Service is a managed live streaming solution, which lets you build your own interactive live video applications or websites to develop a valuable relationship with your audiences with increased engagement. Twitch and other live streaming platforms enable users to host and stream their own content, so you can send your audiences to them and the platform manages the viewer for you.

What’s the difference between Amazon Interactive Video Service and AWS Elemental Media Services or Amazon CloudFront?

Amazon Interactive Video Service lets you focus on building your own engaging application and audience experience on top of a low latency live stream with no need to manage infrastructure or develop and configure components of video workflows to be reliable and cost effective. Amazon IVS is built on the same technology that powers Twitch and provides a simple-to-use managed service that takes care of ingest to playback and everything in between. AWS Elemental Media Services and Amazon CloudFront are building blocks for customers with more granular video requirements looking to set up a broadcast-grade traditional live TV or OTT service. They let you create high-quality video streams for delivery to broadcast televisions and internet-connected devices, like connected TVs, tablets, smartphones, and set-top boxes. With AWS Elemental Media Services, you have a high level of control over all workflow components: transcoding and packaging configurations; levels of resilience; personalized ad insertion; and features like content protection for digital rights management (DRM). You also get to choose which video players and CDNs are used.

What’s the difference between Amazon Interactive Video Service and Kinesis Video Streams?

Amazon Interactive Video Service is a simple-to-use managed service that takes care of ingest, playback, and everything in between. Amazon Kinesis Video makes it easy to securely stream videos from connected devices to AWS for real-time and batch-driven machine learning, video playback, analytics, and other processing. It enables customers to build machine vision-based applications that power smart homes, smart cities, industrial automation, security monitoring, and more.

How much does it cost to use Amazon Interactive Video Service?

Amazon Interactive Video Service pricing is based on the duration of live video sent to Amazon IVS (hours input) and the duration of video delivered to viewer (hours output). For more details, visit the pricing page.

Can I use Amazon Interactive Video Service for video-on-demand (VOD) content?

Amazon Interactive Video Service creates live streams. You can save your live video content to an Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) bucket. Saved video files are available for editing or streaming as video-on-demand (VOD) content.  Recordings saved in Amazon S3 incur standard costs for storage and requests. There is no additional cost for enabling the feature on Amazon IVS channels.

What AWS regions is Amazon Interactive Video Service available in?

The Amazon IVS console and APIs for control and creation of streams are available in the US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Asia Pacific (Seoul), Asia Pacific (Mumbai), Europe (Ireland), and Europe (Frankfurt) regions. Video ingestion and delivery are available around the globe over a separate managed network of infrastructure that is optimized for live video.

What is the end-to-end latency for an Amazon Interactive Video Service stream?

Amazon IVS utilizes the same technology that powers Twitch and is designed to provide low latency for live video streaming. All components from stream ingest and transcode to delivery and playback with the Amazon IVS player SDK are optimized to reduce latency. Actual latency for viewers is usually less than five seconds and can be less than three seconds. A combination of factors determine which result your viewers experience. Some factors that can have an impact are the location of the streamer sending the live stream to Amazon IVS, the location of the viewer watching the stream, and the Internet Service Provider (ISP) that both the streamer and viewer are using. Settings on streaming software used to send video to Amazon IVS should also be optimized. For information on the best practice for streaming software like Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), visit the Amazon IVS documentation pages. You must use the Amazon IVS player SDK to get the best low-latency performance across different platforms and devices.

What kind of interactive features does Amazon Interactive Video Service support?

Amazon Interactive Video Service uses tags in video and a simple timed metadata API lets customers synchronize their interactive experiences with video streams. By providing tags and an API to sync metadata with video as the first step, customers can then focus on developing the interactive experience. The API format is familiar to most developers and does not require special video hardware, access to video libraries, custom broadcasting tools, or an understanding of video protocols to enable.

Amazon IVS attaches structured text data to video streams that are delivered alongside the video stream. This allows customers to create polls, live surveys, leaderboards, and other real-time elements that are automatically synchronized to the video content. Amazon IVS provides customers a simple REST API to inject metadata into a stream, and an event-based interface within the Amazon IVS player SDK to retrieve the metadata for clients.

Amazon IVS also has a stream chat feature with a built-in moderation option designed to accompany live streaming video. With this feature, streamers and viewers can build community relationships by asking questions and participating in discussions. Amazon IVS Chat provides chat room resource management and a messaging API for sending, receiving, and moderating chat messages.

Can I restrict access to Amazon Interactive Video Service streams?

Amazon Interactive Video Service lets you enable playback authorization on video playlists. You can use playback authorization to restrict your streams by channel and viewer. When playback authorization is enabled for a channel, only playback requests with valid authorization tokens will be served the video playlist. Use the Amazon IVS API to generate an asymmetric key pair and view and manage the active key pairs in your account. This key pair allows you to create and sign authorization tokens, and deliver these tokens to the intended viewers who will attach them to a playback request to Amazon IVS. Deleting a key pair will revoke all authorization tokens generated with that key pair. This allows you to maintain control over who can access the video playlists.

For instructions on configuring playback authorization for your live channels, visit the documentation pages.

Amazon IVS does not support stream content encryption and Digital Rights Management (DRM) features.

What output streams does Amazon Interactive Video Service produce?

Amazon Interactive Video Service will produce different adaptive bitrate (ABR) sets of transcode output, based on the quality and resolution of the ingested RTMPS stream. If you send the maximum 8.5Mbps, 1080p60 stream, Amazon IVS will create 8.5Mbps 1080p60, 3Mbps 720p60, 2Mbps 720p30, 1.2Mbps 480p30, 800Kbps 360p30, and 400Kbps 160p30 renditions in an ABR stream.