These Customers Chose Zencoder

Comparing Zencoder & AWS Elastic Transcoder

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

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.

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Quality of service is important and should be backed by an SLA

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Encoding is challenging, and customers should be supported
every step of the way

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An encoding service should support a customer's
workflow, not dictate it.

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.

Workflow Flexibility

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.

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Key Feature Differences

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

  • 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!
Key differences

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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