According to Wordstream, one-third of online activity is spent watching video and according to CISCO predictions, “IP video traffic will be 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2021, up from 73 percent in 2016.”However, managing, hosting and streaming videos online is not so easy and it requires expertise to be sure the video is instantly delivered in good quality.

How does transcoding work?

Video encoding or video transcoding is the process of exporting digital video into a format and specification suitable for playback by a user. A video file is composed of two elements : Codecs, or “compression-decompression“ and formats. Codecs (such as H.264, HEVC, VP9, and AV1) are algorithms that compress the video and format (such as AVCHD, MP4 or MOV) is the type of file the data is composed to. There are hundreds of different combinations and ways to encapsulate video into different formats, which leads of infinite ways to tune encodings. Screens also progress fast and bring new pixel formats.

The new habits of mobile users bring even more complexity. Indeed, the use of adaptative bitrate is now required to make sure the audience can watch video smoothly. As a reminder, the adaptative bitrate (ABR) is a protocol that delivers video in small chunks at different bitrates. Concretely, it allows the viewer to watch a video in the best quality possible with a better user experience. The video quality adapts every chunk to the viewer’s bandwidth. Technically, there are even more variants to be encoded to adapt video quality to the network bandwidth. It requires a constant keyframe frequency across all variants to be sure ABR video stream are displayed on all devices, OS or clients. Some online video web services such as api.video arbitrarily decide arbitrarily which combinations suit the most of the video uploaded.

Dealing with high volume everyday

The use of online video in our everyday’s life implies a strong technical infrastructure. To deal with high volume everyday, it is required to have a scalable computing and service.

There are dedicated web services specialised in the hosting and streaming of a huge number of videos. For example, api.video has a minimum of 50 virtual machines to run under a minimum load which can be upgraded to 10x that number under heavy load. Also, to be sure your videos are immediately loaded and encoded, you must use dedicated encoders which insure a minimum latency. Once again, this is an expertise of online video web services.

How to be sure the delivery is secured?

To ensure the delivery of multiple videos in the best definition possible across the world, you must use a global Content Delivery Network to stay close from your users. Indeed, the response time can be huge if you only rely on one server to deliver your video across the world. It is even more challenging when you live stream your events online. The video has to be viewed without any trouble, in a good definition, and most importantly, without any lag. Live Streaming is exploding and servers must handle a critical traffic in a constrained time. For all these reasons, the use of CDNs is required.

With more and more confidential videos being shared online, the control of who can access the videos is also another constraint, especially when dealing with internal or corporate videos. To insure the privacy of these videos, we recommend to use a tokenized system with strong access policies.

What can you retain from this article?

Dealing with hosting and delivering videos is complex. Building your own architecture is time consuming and very expensive. The use of a web service dedicated to online video with an API and a strong documentation is highly recommended.