Brightcove has announced a new encoding technology that it says will reduce storage and delivery costs for video providers and mean less data charges for many consumers as well. At Brightcove’s PLAY 2017 event in Boston this week, the company demonstrated its Context Aware Encoding, which analyzes what it “sees” in the video and creates streams that are optimized for quality viewing while simultaneously cutting down on the stream size.
“We are making it easier than ever, at a lower cost, to deliver great video experiences at the highest level,” Brightcove CEO David Mendels told Found Remote.
When a company encodes video, it typically will have a whole bunch of flavors based on presets. So it will encode a high quality, high bitrate stream for those watching on a big screen TV. It will encode another version for people watching on a computer, another for mobile phones – maybe eight to ten versions of the same show you’re watching. This makes sense, since you don’t need the giant file your TV does when you’re watching on your phone.
But Boston-based Brightcove looked at that notion and took it a step further. The Context Aware Encoding technology “looks” at the video and says, essentially, “This is animation. It doesn’t need as much data as a sporting event.” It is then able to create fewer streams that are more efficient and still look great. Fewer streams means less storage costs for companies. And the efficiency of the streams makes for a better deal for those who watch the video.
“That means less cost for the user, because you’re using a ‘thinner’ stream that is still optimized,” said Brightcove VP and Principal Media Evangelist Matt Smith. “You can compress a cartoon in half. A talking head can be compressed by a 35%. With sports, we’re very candid, (it can be compressed by) 30-33% because it’s so complex.”
Tom Cotter, the CTO of MediaWorks New Zealand attended the conference and lauded Brightcove’s work. MediaWorks owns radio and TV stations and digital properties as well. It needs a lot of different flavors of video across its platforms. The companies have been working together for more than two years, and Cotter says Brightcove innovations have made a big difference.
“Every time you look at the state of video you see where (you think) things are,” Cotter said. “Then you come to Brightcove PLAY and you see – Wow! – how advanced it’s becoming.”
Brightcove is much more than a compression company. It delivers a suite of products designed to make the video delivery process easier and more efficient. Mendels spoke about the importance of having a full-on process for users that doesn’t require every company to have its own dedicated tech team to be on call every time someone wants to publish a video.
“We are making an easy video experience for a typical business user to create experiences that are not just about watching the video, but that can also include a call to action and an option for what happens after the video is done,” said Mendels. “(You can now) do that without having to hire a development team. Anyone can create these experiences now.”
What’s next? Brightcove sees OTT delivery as an important step, and has been working with companies that want their video delivered “Over The Top” to screens via set top boxes like Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and the like.
Brightcove’s Luke Gaydon is the VP for its OTT solutions. Gaydon, who is based in the company’s London office, says Brightcove helps clients create a successful channel with its product, OTT Flow. Gaydon touts Brightcove’s veteran status in the video delivery business as one of the reasons for its success. (The company started in 2004.)
“In order to deliver lots of video, you need to know a lot about it,” Gaydon told Found Remote. “There are a lot of companies that have great technology, but with respect to them – do they have the scars? The answer is that they don’t. We’ve the experience of growing scale and we can pass that along to customers.”