On-the-fly transcoding?

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On-the-fly transcoding?

Postby AdsDav » Tue Jul 01, 2014 5:14 am

Hi,

We have an ASP.Net application that serves mp4 (H264) files within a single page web app to HTML5 compatible browsers. No plugins, no user install, just HTML5.
Our clients have hundreds of terabytes of asf (containing wmv) and mpg (containing mpeg2).
Currently we transcode all of these files to mp4 but it is a mammoth task.

Instead we are looking to find a product that can take, for instance an asf file, transcode and serve it on the fly as mp4(H264). All transparent to the end user,; ie no plugins, no user install.

Can Unreal Media Server does this? If not, does anyone know of a product that does.

I've done a large amount of Internet research and whilst the internet does provides a vast amount of information; I can't find anything that definitely says any product provides this functionality - of course, it could just be that I am dense and not seeing the obvious answer!

Thanks in advance,

AdsDav
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Re: On-the-fly transcoding?

Postby admin » Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:59 am

Unreal Media Server doesn't support it, and there is no software that supports it.

FFmpeg is the closest, but it will not do what you want.

It is just a bad idea: transcoding takes a lot of CPU resources; transcoding "on the fly", without creating a file, will make it a live stream, with no seek support and no pause support.
Your viewers will not even be able to start viewing at the beginning of file, since everyone watches the same live stream being created from the file.
If you want to transcode per user, that will kill your CPU and still not allow seek and pause. Worst of all, you want HTML5 player! HTML5 does not support live streams at all, files only.
You must have a ready file for HTML5, or at least an m3u8 file for HLS (only some browsers support it). Converting to mpeg-ts chunks per user is the same overkill idea.

No solution exists. You really need to convert your library to mp4 files. Subscribe to some cloud transcoding service and be happy.
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Re: On-the-fly transcoding?

Postby AdsDav » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:01 am

Hi Admin,

What a brilliant reply. Succinct and authoritative!

In my obvious naivety, here's me thinking that the browser requests a small chunk of video; the media server reads the appropriate part of the mp4 file from the disk and sends it out... and with transcoding added the media server reads the appropriate part of the asf file from the disk; transcodes the small chunk to mp4 and sends it out.

Happy to subscribe to a cloud transcoding service. Send the hard drives off to Amazon to load; put it through a cloud transcoding service and then get Amazon to send it back - could take a while. Do you have any experience with specific hardware device designed to do fast transcoding or is cloud the best way?

Thanks again. I really appreciate it.

AdsDav
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Re: On-the-fly transcoding?

Postby admin » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:59 am

Nope, I don't think I can suggest any particular device/service.
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