What makes Zencoder different

We’re excited to publicly launch our Zencoder service today. Zencoder is the easiest way to transcode video, controlled by a developer-friendly API. We’ve been building video transcoding software for years, including ranging from small custom systems to Flix Cloud (partnered with On2 Technologies, now Google). But there are now several video encoding API services on the market today. So why should you be excited about Zencoder? What makes us different?

1. Speed.

Our service is fast. Really fast. In early benchmarks, we’re 30%-200% faster than our competition. We’ve optimized our system for speed in every way, and we have a lot of further optimizations in the pipeline. So what makes us fast?

  • Near-zero queue times. We don’t want you to wait. If our transcoders are all busy, we’ll fire up a new one immediately. And we’re committed to low queue times for all of our customers, not just the ones who pay us more money.
  • Fast servers. We use the fastest servers available in the cloud today.
  • Transcoding optimizations. Our transcoding workflow has several speed optimizations built in which make us faster out of the box, even on the same hardware.
  • Accelerated file transfer. We can get 2x-3x faster file transfer by using download acceleration. If your files are large, that’s a big deal.
  • The right options. We help you speed up your transcoding by offering the right options (e.g. CRF vs. 2-pass encoding).

2. Quality.

Fast transcoding is great, but only if the transcoding actually looks good. We’re obsessive over video quality; we automatically deinterlace interlaced video, rotate videos that are sideways (e.g. from the iPhone), help you optimize low-bitrate encoding, etc. We also have some advanced options, like auto color correction, noise reduction, deblocking, etc. And we use the best video and audio encoders available today.

3. Input compatibility.

We’ve talked to a lot of people in our Customer Development – hundreds – and this one comes up every time. Our customers want every file to work, every time. It’s easy to get 95% of input videos to work, but that last 5% is tricky. There are hundreds of video/audio codecs out there, and lots of ways that videos can get corrupted. So we’ve spent hundreds of hours on our input compatibility.

What does this mean?

  • We’ve eliminated audio/video sync problems.
  • We’ve fixed aspect ratio distortion.
  • We auto-rotate videos.
  • We can handle codecs that most people can’t.
  • We can actually correct for some corrupt files. Not every file yet, but give us time. :)

Our beta customers actually sent us hundreds of files that other systems couldn’t handle, including mainstream systems in wide use today. We handle 95% of them without problems. That’s 95% of the files that other people can’t handle – so if these other systems can do 99% of files, we can do 99.95%.

4. Ease of integration.

You can integrate with Zencoder in an afternoon, or less. Integration points are often the hardest part of an application – they’re often poorly designed, poorly documented, or poorly supported. Not Zencoder. We’re committed to providing fast support, great docs, a clean API, and a powerful dashboard. Our dashboard has several great API tools that make integration easy – like a powerful API Builder that helps you generate the actual API request you need to send us, complete with all the options you select. We show you your full API request history (every inbound request) and your complete Notification history (every outbound request). And you can get a ton of information about every job, every file, from our dashboard.

That’s what we’re building. The fastest, easiest, most consistent, and highest quality transcoding available. Not an incremental improvement over other options, but a huge step forward. We’re already there, we think, and we still have a lot of exciting things in the pipeline.

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