Accelerated Video Transcoding

What is Accelerated Video Transcoding?

Accelerated Transcoding increases the processing speed of file-based video encoding jobs by up to 25 times, and is a time-saving feature now included in AWS Elemental MediaConvert, a service that converts video into multiple output formats to support viewing from a broad array of devices at varying resolutions.

Using MediaConvert, video providers can quickly transcode a single movie or an entire library of on-demand content for broadcast and multiscreen delivery. MediaConvert functions independently or as part of AWS Elemental Media Services, a family of services that form the foundation of cloud-based workflows and offer the capabilities needed to transport, transcode, package, and deliver video.

Activating Accelerated Transcoding is easy: Just check a box and MediaConvert does all the work to optimize video processing resources for speed, with zero added cost. The advantages:

  • Publish and monetize content more quickly, for better ROI.
  • Satisfy customers and partners with fast turnaround times.
  • Free up staff and technology resources for other priorities.
  • Enhance quality control efforts by re-transcoding content to fix issues immediately.

What are the differences between video encoding, transcoding, and Accelerated Transcoding?

Video-on-demand delivery is booming as consumers expect broadcast-grade viewing experiences beyond the living room TV. This requires providers to accommodate a variety of consumer devices while maintaining video quality, budgeting appropriately for data rates, and minimizing latency. While the terms encoding and transcoding are often used interchangeably in the video industry, they are similar in some ways and different in others.

  • Video encoding starts with an uncompressed or a lightly compressed (aka mezzanine) format and applies a form of compression, such as MPEG-2, AVC, or HEVC, to make the file smaller and ease the burden on bandwidth and storage.
  • Video transcoding refers to the process of converting from one compressed format to another. However, transcoding can also mean the same thing as encoding, because uncompressed or mezzanine sources often require some degree of compression.
  • Defining Accelerated Transcoding is easier: Video conversion runs up to 25 times faster.

What challenges does Accelerated Transcoding address for streaming video?

Video transcoding is one of the most important steps in the streaming video process, but it can be difficult to facilitate. Video providers must be able to accommodate an increasing number of display devices with screen resolutions and frame rates that creep higher over time. And as devices, resolutions, and frame rates increase, so does the transcoding time required for complex video that is distributed on-demand.

Another challenge with transcoding video for delivery on-demand is its processor-intensive nature; if the time to transcode delays the time to revenue, the technology problem creates a business problem.

This can be particularly tricky for premium video content conversion. For example, a two-hour movie in 4K resolution can take more than 10 hours to transcode. Factor in the time needed to transcode an entire library of films, and video providers could spend weeks or months converting content for on-demand streaming.

AWS designed Accelerated Transcoding to enable broadcasters, over-the-top distributors, and other premium content providers to complete their video transcoding projects up to 25 times faster, and bring content to market more quickly.

How does Accelerated Transcoding work?

Accelerated Transcoding capitalizes on the scale and flexibility of the cloud to optimally divide video sources into multiple, smaller segments for processing. The service automatically determines the number of segments to be processed and transcodes them in parallel. The segments are combined back together into the desired output format(s), such as an adaptive bitrate (ABR) stack for delivery.

Where does Accelerated Transcoding provide the most benefit?

Transcode jobs that create premium content, such as those that incorporate UHD and HDR content, can have high computational requirements and take longer to complete. Consider using accelerated transcoding for tasks that would otherwise take 10 minutes or longer to run—for example, those that generate the following assets:

  • Ultra-high definition content
  • High dynamic range content in HEVC
  • Any long-duration, visually complex video

Note: Before enabling Accelerated Transcoding, make sure your job meets the following criteria.

What are the key benefits and differentiators of Accelerated Transcoding?

  • For ongoing workflows such as live-to-VOD content conversion, Accelerated Transcoding helps you consistently and reliably meet service level agreements, driving viewer satisfaction and retention.
  • By shrinking the time-after-event window, you can get fresh content in front of audiences quickly to maximize viewership and monetization opportunities.
  • Accelerated Transcoding supports your quality control efforts by quickly re-transcoding assets after corrections are made to the source content.
  • Accelerated Transcoding speeds up processing without adding cost: Each Accelerated Transcoding job uses a single slot in an on-demand queue, which is the same as for non-accelerated jobs, and the feature comes at no added cost to use within the MediaConvert on-demand professional pricing tier.
  • Customers who apply Accelerated Transcoding also benefit from the quality and efficiency features incorporated into MediaConvert. High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) is supported with Accelerated Transcoding, as is Quality-Defined Variable Bitrate control (QVBR), an AWS technology that reduces video storage and delivery costs up to 50% by automatically adjusting bitrate on a frame by frame basis during transcoding.
  • Compared to build-it-yourself solutions that use parallel processing, Accelerated Transcoding with MediaConvert is easy to set up, and simple to maintain and manage. Accelerated Transcoding also automatically stays up-to-date with evolving codecs and feature requirements, and is designed to maintain high video quality and compatibility with end user devices and video players.

Accelerated Transcoding significantly speeds conversion times even for complex content, such as 4K UHD resolution outputs, HEVC codec outputs, high frame-rate content of 60 FPS or more, multiple output groups, and large numbers of renditions in an ABR set. 

Accelerated Video Transcoding Explained

Process video files up to 25 times faster in the cloud with Accelerated Transcoding using AWS Elemental MediaConvert. To learn more about the MediaConvert service, visit

Accelerated Video Transcoding Explained

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