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While it may seem easy, making video play across a hundred different devices (like Netflix does) is actually a giant pain in the butt — unless you use a service like Amazon Web Service’s new Elastic Transcoder service.

AWS’ new service, which launched today, is basically focusing on cloud video. More specifically, it targets customers (video services, cable networks, and anyone that produces lots of professional video content) who want to convert (aka transcode) video into formats optimized to play on a variety of devices, like smartphones, tablets, PCs, and smart TVs.

With streaming video media on the rise, it makes sense for Amazon to turn its attention to transcoding in the cloud. Previously, the process required web publishers to dedicate hardware and software to convert their original video files into enough formats to play across the growing number of devices. But pushing this process to the cloud to transcode that video is a much easier option.


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Amazon is hoping to challenge others in the video transcoding space, including Brightcove’s Zencoder,, and the recently launched Azure Media Service from Microsoft.

One thing that may lure people to the new Amazon service is its pricing model of paying for what you use, rather than signing up for an expensive monthly service package. It’s offering 20 minutes of free video to customers per month. After that, customers pay between $0.015 and $0.036 per minute of video, with the price varying based on the quality of video and regions the video will be transcoded. (For perspective, Zencoder offers a pay-as-you-go plan that starts at $0.05 per minute of output.)

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