On Nov 15, 2010, the Flix Cloud service will be shutting down. Flix Cloud is a video encoding service jointly offered by On2 Technologies (now Google) and Zencoder. Fortunately, Zencoder has made it easy for Flix Cloud customers to transition to the Zencoder service, which is a new and improved version of Flix Cloud.
So what is happening, and what does this mean for you?
On2 Technologies is one of the few commercial companies that produces high quality video codecs. Its VPx line has been hugely successful; VP6 is still the second most common video codec used on the web, behind H.263 (and ahead of H.264). And it is responsible for the two leading non-patent-protected video codecs in use today, Ogg Theora (which grew out of VP3), and the recently-launched VP8.
Back in 2008, On2 Technologies and Zencoder began working on Flix Cloud, which launched publicly in April 2009. Flix Cloud combined Zencoder’s cloud encoding software with On2’s Flix Engine encoder, effectively putting Flix Engine in the cloud.
In 2010, Google acquired On2, presumably for its VP8 codec (and others). Since then, Google has decided to stop offering the Flix Cloud service.
Zencoder is behind the cloud encoding software at both flixcloud.com and zencoder.com. We built Flix Cloud in 2008-2009 alongside of On2. While we continued to support Flix Cloud in 2009-2010, we also began work on a new and dramatically improved version of our software. In the winter of 2010, we participated in the Y Combinator program, and the new Zencoder launched in May of this year.
How is Zencoder different from Flix Cloud?
Zencoder is a major advance over Flix Cloud in several respects. While Flix Cloud is a great system, we’ve learned a lot by talking to hundreds of video encoding customers, and found ways in which we can make Zencoder even better.
Specifically, we’ve focused on the following.
- Speed. Zencoder is extremely fast – significantly faster than Flix Cloud. We run faster servers, faster encoding tools, faster encoding recipes, and shorter queue times. In fact, Zencoder is designed to offer near-zero queue times, and our average queue time across our entire system is less than 30 seconds.
- Quality. Zencoder’s H.264 encoding is unmistakably better than Flix Cloud’s.
- Compatibility. Zencoder supports hundreds of video and audio codecs, including many that Flix Cloud didn’t support. We also can handle many corrupt or unusual files, and can usually eliminate problems like audio/video desync.
- Ease. Zencoder’s API is better designed, our dashboard is more powerful, and the entire system is easier to use than Flix Cloud.
For most customers, Zencoder uses a different API than Flix Cloud, which allows us to make better decisions and enable more powerful options. But we’ve also designed our system to accept Flix-Cloud-style API requests for existing Flix Cloud customers. So if you want, all you have to do is redirect your API requests from https://flixcloud.com/api to https://zencoder.com/api/flixcloud, and everything will work like it did before.
So what do I need to do?
If you’re a current Flix Cloud customer, you can keep using Flix Cloud until Nov 15, 2010, at which point the service will go offline. If you want continuing service, you may switch to Zencoder. We’ve made the transition dead-simple.
Your first option is to continue sending your Flix Cloud-style API requests to Zencoder. We’ve put together a transition guide from Flix Cloud to Zencoder that gives you the three simple steps required to do this.
Your second option is to switch your API requests to use the Zencoder API. This allows you to use some new and advanced options that Flix Cloud didn’t offer. It’s up to you.
We’re here to help.
In any case, Zencoder is committed to offering hands-on support to every Flix Cloud customer customer during this transition.
The fastest way to get a hold of us is chat. Visit http://zencoder.com/chat and see if we’re online. During reasonable hours (US), we usually are. You can also email support at help [at] zencoder [dot] com. And as always you can contact us via our contact form if you have any additional questions.