New Kinow encoding system: on-the-fly packaging

2020/03/30

A few months ago, we announced the launch of our new video hosting service based entirely on AWS Elemental. Today, we would like to give an insight about "on-the-fly packaging".

AWS has recently introduced this packaging functionality available for Video on Demand (VOD) content. And Kinow has been quick to make it its own!

What benefits? How does it work? This article defines on-the-fly packaging, explores its advantages and describes some implementation options.


About on-the-fly packaging

Video playback devices such as mobile phones, connected televisions, computers...have their own requirements for video distribution. With on-the-fly packaging, traditional video or live video can be packaged in multiple distribution formats and content can be protected using multiple Digital Rights Management (DRM) standards. As a result, video is made available on a wide range of playback devices.

The traditional way to support multiple video formats was to store multiple instances of the same video to ensure compatibility and then upload all files to the origin servers for delivery. Now, thanks to the on-the-fly packaging, it is possible to create content in just two steps:

  • Simply encode the content once, uploading it to a streaming point.

  • Then the last server dynamically detects and produces the format required by the end user.

It is therefore a very fast operation since the server simply changes the container format of the file. It is also a solution where savings can be significant, especially on storage and encoding costs.

To carry out this operation, Kinow chose to trust AWS again by choosing the SaaS Elemental MediaPackage solution to process VOD (Video On Demand) content.


MediaPackage: what is it?

MediaPackage is a packaging service that performs in the AWS cloud. With it, it is now possible to deliver highly secure, scalable and reliable video streams to a large number of playback devices. For example, during video packaging, when a playback device requests content, MediaPackage dynamically customizes the video streams and creates a source in a format compatible with the requesting device.

MediaPackage functioning:

MediaPackage uses on-the-fly packaging to send a video over-the-top (OTT) from a source to a wide variety of playback devices, which can adapt to load upscaling.

1) Live content processing

In live content processing, an encoder such as AWS MediaLive sends a video stream to AWS MediaPackage, which then takes care of packaging the content in the best possible format for the end user, while allowing the use of DVR features such as a pause during a live, rewind and replay.

2) VOD content processing

In the workflow for VOD content, MediaPackage integrates video content based on files from an encoder such as AWS MediaConvert and then ensures that the content is optimally packaged for downstream devices.


And concretely, how does Kinow use it?

First, we use AWS Elemental MediaConvert to transcode the file. From there, we get a file in HLS format, which is then stored on Amazon S3 and integrated by MediaPackage.

As an output, MediaPackage provides a video format that is suitable for most multimedia devices. It then adjusts the quality to use the one that best suits the end user. Finally, these files are stored on the Amazon CloudFront CDN to optimize the speed of content delivery.

Besides that, Kinow uses MediaPackage with the content protection part for encodings with Hollywood DRM. We manage Apple FairPlay (broadcast on iOS/Safari), Microsoft PlayReady (broadcast on Internet Explorer and Edge) and Widevine (broadcast on Chrome).


On-the-fly packaging: what are the advantages in summary?

As previously announced, packaging on-the-fly is clearly a cost-effective solution because the content only needs to be encoded once to be transformed into a dynamic product. In addition, the storage of multiple sources is no longer necessary as only one source will be compatible with any device.


However, these are not the only advantages of this miracle solution:

  • Easy and timesaving

Thanks to on-the-fly packaging, there is no longer any need to think about the best output format for each device/connection as the source is dynamically packaged in the format required for on-the-fly playback.

In addition, the service supports Digital Rights Management (DRM) providers, which saves a considerable amount of work time.

  • Reaching multiple connected devices

Content can be delivered to a wide range of end-user devices (smartphones, game consoles, tablets, connected TVs, box operators, etc.).

  • A better user experience

This service allows you to set up a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) type experience for live stream users. This makes it possible to enjoy an optimal experience without having to accurately predict the video load.

It also makes it easy to implement video features that users appreciate (Start-Over, pause, rewind, etc.).


In conclusion

The many advantages of this solution are therefore no longer to be proven. Now is it the time to explore the alternative that suits you best.

If you wish to adapt this solution to your streaming service, the Kinow team can accompany you in the transformation and improvement of your video contents. Contact our experts!

So, what are you waiting for to switch to on-the-fly packaging?