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Media Services

Last Updated: Sep 12, 2018

Alibaba Cloud for AWS Professionals

Media Services Contents

1. Media processing

ApsaraVideo for Media Processing (for media processing on Alibaba Cloud) is a transcoding computing service for multimedia data. The service provides cost-effective, flexible, and scalable transcoding of multimedia content into formats suitable for playback on PCs, televisions, and mobile devices. It can also provide smart moderation, content analysis, and smart editing through deep learning based on massive quantities of data. Media processing service features include a web-based console, service API, and SDKs. You can use these tools to implement and manage transcoding services or integrate transcoding functionality into your own applications and services.

Amazon Elastic Transcoder is media transcoding in the cloud. It is designed to be a highly scalable, easy to use and a cost effective way for developers and businesses to convert (or “transcode”) media files from their source format into versions that will playback on devices like smartphones, tablets and PCs.Users simply use the web-based console, service API, or SDKs to create a transcoding job, where they specify the input file, transcoding settings, and output file.

1.1 Comparison of Main Functions

Service Type ApsaraVideo for Media Processing Amazon Elastic Transcoder
Formats Output formats; FLV、MP4、HLS(m3u8+ts)、MPEG-DASH(MPD+fMP4)MP3、PM4 and more Output formats:MPEG-DASH、MP4、PM3、HLS、FLV and more
Video encoding Supported Supported
Video processing Supported Supported
Audio encoding Supported Supported
Import file template Supported Supported
Transcoding control Supported Supported
Video security Supported Supported
Transcoding presets Presets + custom presets Presets + custom presets
Watermarks Static and dynamic watermarks Static and dynamic watermarks
Cutting Clip stitching and video editing Video clip generation and editing/stitching
Screenshots Supported Supported
Media storage Supports retrieval of audio and video file encoding and content stored in OSS You can store the original versions of your media content in Amazon S3 for progressive download of video and audio files.
Subtitles Supports import of external subtitle files and designated subtitle encoding formats Subtitles can be added, removed, or retained
Video moderation Supported Unknown
Playback Provides a web-based player; supports Flash, HTML5, and an adaptive mode.Provides a mobile device player SDK and supports iOS and Android Commonly used to reach iOS and Android devices, set-top boxes, and browser-based players
Notifications Supported Supported

1.2 API & SDK

Multimedia processing service features include a web-based console, serviceAPI and SDK。You can use these tools to implement and manage transcoding services or integrate transcoding functionality into your own applications and services.The available SDK supports three languages: Java, Python, and PHP.

Developers using Amazon Elastic Transcoder simply use the web-based console, service API, or SDKs to create a transcoding job, where they specify the input file, transcoding settings, and output file. In addition, the SDKs support six languages: Python, Node.js, Java, .NET, PHP, and Ruby.

1.3 Transcoding presets

The media processing service provides two kinds of transcoding presets:

Preset template:

  • Smart presets: These automatically adjust encoding parameters according to the specific details of the input file to meet output file video requirements. Since input files are all inherently different (resolution, bit rate, etc.), not all smart presets will necessarily be suitable. Therefore, we recommend that you use the preset analysis task to determine which presets are usable with your designated input file. Transcoding of multimedia files involves balancing the maximization of file size (i.e. bit rate) compression and the minimization of quality, of which the smart presets prioritize quality.
  • Static presets: These can be used immediately with no need to run preset analysis. There are three types of static presets: video transcoding presets, audio MP3 transcoding presets, and media container conversion presets. These include the most common playback devices and bandwidth conditions and prioritize controlling bit rate.

  • Narrowband high-definition TM presets: These can be used immediately with no need to run preset analysis. Video transcoding presets are included for three output file formats: FLV, MP4, and M3U8. Narrowband high-definition TM presets are unique to Alibaba Cloud multimedia processing. They provide a lower bit rate while maintaining the same level of clarity as other presets to help reduce your costs.

Custom presets:

These presets are created from user-defined transcoding parameters. These collections of transcoding parameters (such as for audio, video, and containers) can satisfy your individualized transcoding needs.

Amazon Elastic Transcoder also provides two types of transcoding templates:

  • System transcoding presets:Amazon Elastic Transcoder provides a set of transcoding presets to eliminate the guesswork involved with figuring out which transcoding settings are appropriate for which different devices. You can choose from presets that create output files playable on any device or select a preset for compatible with a specific device. For maximum compatibility, select a “breadth preset” to create an output file that can be played back on most devices. For optimum quality and file size, select an “optimized preset” to create an output file suited to a particular device or category of devices.
  • Custom transcoding presets:

Some customers may need to create certain presets for a specific output target. Custom presets can be used to define existing transcoding presets for use across all pipelines in your AWS account within a region.

1.4 Notifications

Notifications for media processing services have been integrated into the MNS service. Media processing fully supports the message queuing and notification features of the messaging service. It establishes a messaging attribute in the pipeline, and the return message from the asynchronous interface of the transcoding task within the pipeline can be automatically pushed to the user’s message receipt service through the message notification service.

Amazon Elastic Transcoder uses Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) to notify you of transcoding events. You will receive notifications when your transcoding task begins and completes and for any warnings or error conditions. Using notifications is an efficient way to monitor and manage your transcoding workload.

1.5 Video security

Video encryption is a method for protecting video content. Encryption can effectively prevent video leakage and theft and is widely used online in the education and finance fields.

Alibaba Cloud media processing services currently support two types of encryption methods:

  • Private encryption:Video files are converted into an encrypted HLS format that can be decrypted and played back by the Alibaba Cloud player, ensuring video security on mobile devices and Flash. This provides a high level of security appropriate for scenarios such as online education and paid-for viewings.

  • HLS standard encryption:Video content is encrypted according to the HLS AES-128 encryption standard and can be played back by any HLS standard player, ensuring video security on mobile devices. This provides a comparatively high level of security compatible with many client devices and software。An introduction to HLS encryption.

Amazon Elastic Transcoder supports the following encryption methods:HLS with AES-128 Encryption: You can generate HLS streams protected with AES-128 encryption. Jobs created with this option will encrypt the media files and reference the decryption key in the playlist.

In addition to the job object, you can also choose to use SSE-S3 to have Elastic Transcoder write the encryption data keys directly into S3; data keys in S3 will be protected by the AWS-KMS master key.

1.6 Service region

Media processing services (MPS) are currently available in 11 regions: China North 2 (Beijing), China East 1 (Hangzhou), China East 2 (Shanghai), China South 1 (Shenzhen), Hong Kong, US West 1 (Silicon Valley), Asia-Pacific Southeast 1 (Singapore), Asia-Pacific Northeast 1 (Tokyo), Central Europe 1 (Frankfurt) and Asia-Pacific South 1 (Mumbai), Middle East(Dubai).

Amazon Elastic Transcoder may be used in the following eight AWS regions: Eastern US (N. Virginia), Western US (Oregon), Western US (N. California), EU (Ireland), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Asia Pacific (Sydney), and Asia Pacific (Mumbai).

1.7 Cost

Pricing for the Alibaba Cloud media processing service is calculated as follows: transcoding fee = duration of output file x transcoding unit price:Duration of output file: Pricing is calculated per minute for each transcoding output file, to a precision of two digits after the decimal, with the second digit rounded. Durations under 1 minute are calculated as 0.02 minutes. The transcoding unit and output file format affect pricing, as different formats have different unit prices. For pricing specifics, please see Media Processing Pricing.

Amazon Elastic Transcoder works on a pay-as-you-go basis. Pricing depends on the duration and resolution of the content that you output, with no minimum fee. Each output file is billed per minute, rounded to the nearest minute. If your Amazon S3 bucket is located in a region different from the one from which you submit your transcoding job, you will be assessed a data transfer fee. Additionally, pricing varies across regions.

2 Live Video

Alibaba Cloud ApsaraVideo Live is a live audio and video platform based on leading content access and distribution networks and large-scale distributed real-time transcoding technologies. It provides conveniently accessible and smooth high-definition live audio and video services with low latency even at high concurrency.

AWS Elemental MediaLive is a video-processing service that enables video providers to encode high-quality real-time video streams for delivery to a variety of broadcast televisions and multi-screen devices. The service works by encoding real-time video in real time by using larger real-time video sources and compressing them into smaller versions for distribution to viewers.

2.1 Comparison of Main Functions

Service Type ApsaraVideo Live AWS Elemental MediaLive
API & SDK Supported Supported
Protocols supported RTMP, FLV , HLS,… RTMP、RTP、HLS,…
Live stream broadcast Supported Supported
Console management Supported Supported
Security Theft prevention, URL encryption, and HTTPS secure acceleration Customer identity and access management (IAM) roles, security groups, and IP address whitelist
Authentication for live streaming Supported Not Supported
Screenshot management Supported Not Supported
Streaming notification callback URL, Supported Not Supported
Resource monitoring Supported Partially supported
Domain name management Supported Not Supported
Recording index management Supported Not Supported
instructor in broadcasting service Supported (Chinese site) Not Supported

2.2 Video standards supported

Alibaba Cloud ApsaraVideo Live supports iOS, Android, and Web stream push SDKs and Demo. It also supports common third-party stream push software such as OBS, XSplit, and FMLE and common third-party codecs and boxes based on the RTMP stream push protocol. It supports the RTMP, FLV, and HLS streaming delivery protocols as well as common third-party player software like VLC.

AWS Elemental MediaLive supports a broad range of video industry standards for the input, output, and archive of real-time video. It supports the latest codecs standards used for video compression, such as h.264/AVC and h.265/HEVC, and media communication protocols standards used to send video over the Internet, such as Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP), HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), and Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP).

2.3 Security

ApsaraVideo Live offers comprehensive security protections

  • Anti-theft:Supports referrer blacklists and whitelists to protect your resources from being used by other sites.
  • URL encryption:Collaboration between live stream accelerator nodes and your resource sites provides more secure and reliable protection for your live stream content resources against theft from illegitimate sites.
  • HTTPS secure acceleration:Enjoy the reliable enterprise-grade HTTPS acceleration service that protects against hijacking, tampering, and leakage.

AWS Elemental MediaLive automatically protects video content as it moves between components by locally employing AWS security features.

AWS Elemental MediaLive automatically protects video content as it moves between components by natively employing AWS security capabilities. The service uses customer identity and access management (IAM) roles and security groups within their AWS environment. You can also add input security groups to whitelist IP addresses for input types used to push content to the service.

2.4 API & SDK

ApsaraVideo Live provides a web-based management console, API, and SDKs used to manage live video services and integrate them into your own applications and services.

API Management

  • API stream management:Create, modify, delete, enable, or disable a live video domain; check the number of concurrent viewers; create or stop a recording; and create or stop a screenshot task.
  • Live video screenshot:Use the API to take screenshots during a live stream and save them to the Alibaba Cloud OSS platform.
  • Live video transcoding:Supports transcoding of multiple formats through the API.

SDK support

  • Stream push SDK:Adjust stream pushing parameters and adaptive bit rate, frame rate, watermark, and beautification parameters in real time according to push-side network conditions.
  • Player SDK:iOS, Android, and Web player SDKs and multiple playback formats.
  • Live video SDK: Supports iOS and Android SDKs, packaging of pushed streams, and player SDKs.

AWS Elemental MediaLive can delete data using the management console, RESTful APIs, AWS CLI, or AWS SDKs. Of these, RESTful APIs provide URLs for each AWS Elemental MediaLive REST operation and information about content requests and responses. Any software application using a RESTful API or SDK must have the appropriate rights.

2.5 Resource monitoring

ApsaraVideo Live offers the following resource monitors:

  • Traffic bandwidth:Supports peak traffic bandwidth values by namespace, cloud operator, region, and period of time; callback statistics; HTTP code traffic monitoring; and traffic bandwidth monitoring for user-specified time periods.
  • Visitor data: Supports corresponding domain names, unique visitors (UV) per period of time, and statistical data on geographical distribution of users including region, total traffic, traffic proportions, visits to the current stream, visit proportions, and response time.
  • Log management: Supports the download of logs for the most recent month.

AWS Elemental MediaLive does not support resource monitoring relating to traffic bandwidth or visitor statistical data.

AWS Elemental MediaLive can use the CloudWatch Logs standard feature to check and manage logs. Channel logs will be sent to Amazon CloudWatch Logs. These logs are extremely useful when the information in a warning message is insufficient to resolve a problem.

2.6 Availability

Alibaba Cloud’s superior infrastructure delivers enhanced link quality and availability for live video. Over 1,300 live video nodes cover all major countries around the world so that your live video business can seamlessly go abroad.

ApsaraVideo Live can utilize the functionality of Alibaba Cloud accelerator products around the world to provide users with a high-speed pipeline between the area where video is captured and the area of the origin site from where it is broadcast. This creates the shortest and most optimal transmission link between the two locations to help your business resolve the problems of slow response times for users around the world and excessive delay.

Alibaba Cloud currently has two independent domestic live video centers in Beijing and Shanghai. Internationally, there are currently live video centers in Singapore and Japan (one in Germany is currently awaiting whitelisting). The 2018 World Cup stream link plan made full use of these multiple centers for disaster tolerance: two encoders pushed output streams simultaneously to Shanghai and Beijing to prevent any single center from becoming inoperable.

Each live video channel created with AWS Elemental MediaLive is operated on redundant infrastructure, which is physically distributed across multiple Availability Zones. When a channel is created in AWS Elemental MediaLive, the service deploys redundant infrastructure in two AWS Availability Zones (AZ). The service can monitor the status of encoding resources and automatically replaces any poorly performing component so it will not interrupt the channel. All resources flexibly expand with demand, ensuring consistent service for viewers.

2.7 Cost

ApsaraVideo Live product pricing comprises the following parts (for pricing specifics, refer to Live Video Broadcast Pricing

  • Live stream pricing according to traffic: Billed according to relevant tier of domestic traffic volume, with all traffic added up until the end of the calendar month and resetting on the next month.
  • Live stream pricing according to peak bandwidth: Billed according to the total amount of download traffic used on a given day for the live video service
  • Live video transcoding pricing: Billed according to the various bit rate formats used throughout the day and the respective totals of their durations on a given day
  • Live video screenshot pricing: Billed according to the quantity of live video screenshots taken, according to the service area, with a corresponding charge for each one thousand screenshots taken.

AWS Elemental MediaLive offers pay-as-you-go pricing according to the following: inputs, outputs, added functionality, idle resources, and data transfer. AWS Elemental MediaLive provides two pricing models. You can choose to pay by the minute, which requires no pre-payment or long-term commitment.

Pricing is based on a simple per-minute model that simplifies the budgeting process and allows users to accurately predict how much they will spend for each of their channels. The price you pay will increase as you select more inputs and outputs, and you only need to pay for the encoders/decoders, resolutions, bit rates, and frame rates you actually use. There is no minimum usage requirement for the service, and you don’t need to sign a long-term contract separate from the set prices. There is also a yearly plan with a set monthly price for 24/7 channels. For more information, please visit the AWS Elemental MediaTailor Pricingpage.