Biographical Information

Jan Ozer

Contributing Editor

Jan Ozer (janozer@gmail.com) is a streaming media producer and consultant, a frequent contributor to industry magazines and websites on streaming-related topics, and the author of Video Encoding by the Numbers. He blogs frequently at streaminglearningcenter.com.

Articles for Jan Ozer

Video Capture Dongles Buyers' Guide

When live streaming using video mixers like OBS, vMix, or Wirecast a capture dongle is the missing link between the camera and a notebook, providing access to titling, transitions, and effects. Dongles can run anywhere from $40 to $700; here's a look at how to pick the one that's right for you.

Buyers' Guide to Low-Latency Solutions

If you need low latency, here's how to pick the technology solution that's right for you. But it's not a one-size-fits-all affair.

How to Produce CMAF Output and Testing Playback

CMAF has reached maturity. Here's one way to go about using it, with AWS Elemental MediaConvert

Buyers' Guide to Essential Video Utilities

Any good compressionist needs tools to help reveal critical data about encoded files, from codecs and resolution to GOP structure and quality levels. Here's a look at some of the most useful.

How to Encode with LCEVC

Unlike other cutting-edge codecs coming to market, LCEVC will have an immediate impact on the streaming landscape. Here's how to use it.

Buyers' Guide to Live Streaming Platforms

Looking for live streaming services? Whether you're streaming church services, school events, enterprise meetings, entertainment content, or just about anything else, this buyers' guide has you covered.

The State of CMAF: The Ultimate Format or Just Another Acronym?

It's all the buzz on the conference circuit, but deployment challenges mean CMAF hasn't taken over the streaming world yet. Here's why it's getting so much attention.

Hardware-Based Transcoding Solutions Roundup: Testing Performance

We put hardware-based solutions from NVIDIA, Intel, and NGCodec to the test to see which offers the strongest performance and the highest quality.

HEVC, AV1, VVC: How to Make Sense of 2019's World of Codecs

The old realities that used to dictate codec adoption no longer apply. Opening up new markets now matters more than reducing operating expenses. How are HEVC, AV1, and VVC positioned for the future?

Announcing the Swift Death of Per-Title Encoding, 2015-2019

Once revolutionary, pre-title encoding was replaced by shot-based encoding and then context aware encoding. Here's how to evaluate vendors when choosing a solution.

Review: Adobe Premiere Pro Auto Reframe

Modifying aspect ratios and resolutions for multiple social media platforms can be time-consuming, but Adobe Premiere Pro's new Auto Reframe tool can save you hours of manual adjustments.

The Need for Speed: Demand for Low-Latency Streaming Is High

Low latency video streaming is on everyone's mind, but figuring out the latency your project needs—as well as how to get it—can be a slow process. Let this article be your guide.

Buyers' Guide to Per-Title Encoding

Per-title encoding is now a required feature on most encoding platforms. Here's an overview of the features to look for, and how to get the most out of them.

Buyers' Guide to Video Quality Metrics

Video quality measurement is more crucial than ever. In this buyers' guide, we'll identify the most commonly used metrics and discuss tools that deploy them.

How to Launch a Cloud Encoding Computer

Once you've launched an AWS EC2 instance, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it. This tutorial walks you through how to set it up.

How to Automate FFmpeg and Bento4 With Bash Scripts

With just a few beginner-level scripts, you can encode and package multiple filds to HLS and DASH output using open source tools.

AV1: A First Look

FFmpeg 4.0 gives many video engineers their first chance to test the new AV1 codec against H.264, HEC, and VP9. The results? In our tests, quality was impressive, but glacially slow encoding times make AV1 a non-starter for most publishers.

Inxpo Studio: Reviewing the Premium Tier Webinar Platform

For outstanding results with online marketing, sales, and training web webinars, look to Inxpo Studio. This review explains how to get up and running.

New Codecs Are Coming; Here's How to Evaluate Codec Evaluations

When comparing the video quality created by different codecs, consider the companies running the comparisons and the metrics they're offering.

Testing HEVC: Please Take a Moment to Help Measure Performance

Early testing of HEVC playback in HLS showed positive but inconsistent results. We need StreamingMedia.com readers to step up and help provide more data.

Per-Title Video Encoding: The Time to Get Started Is Now

Now widely available, per-title encoding makes whatever codec publishers are already using more efficient by creating a custom optimized encoding ladder.

How to Measure Video Encoding QoE

An insightful new service called Mux Data makes quality of experience monitoring and analysis easy. This illustrated guide explains how to use it when diagnosing problems big and small.

How to Create a Live HLS Feed With HEVC

It's not easy, but it can be done, as long as you have the right tool and know the tricks. Here are eight steps to success using Softvelum Nimble Streamer.

How to Live Stream to Multiple Destinations

Reaching multiple viewing platforms with a single live video stream used to be impossible, but not anymore. Here's how to do it with Switchboard Cloud.

Buyers' Guide to Per-Title Encoding 2018

If you're not already using per-title encoding, it's time. Here's a guide to choosing the tool that's best for you.

Buyers' Guide to Live Encoders 2018

While nearly any encoder can connect to any streaming service, some encoders make it easier than others. Here's how to choose the right tool for the job.

Divideon Creates xvc, an HEVC Codec With Reasonable Pricing

The surprise royalty payments on HEVC have some publishers looking for alternatives. Learn how one company created a better codec price plan.

Status Update: Encrypted Media Extensions and the Future of DRM

While publishers wait for a single content encryption system that works across all browsers, standards bodies debate the future of EME. Here's what rights management will look like in a post-plugin world.

Review: Softvelum Nimble Streamer Is Flexible and Well-Featured

Publishers looking to stream live video in multiple formats should take a long look at the Live Transcoder function of Softvelum's Nimble Streamer.

Cellular Bonding for Live Event Streaming: The State of The Art

To catch up on the past, present, and future of cellular bonding, we spoke with executives from four companies that manufacture and distribute cellular bonding products and services.

AV1 and Legal Challenges: Does the Codec Have a Future?

Some of the best minds in the streaming industry say AV1 will be challenged by infringement claims, but some of the best minds could be wrong.

Measure it, Improve it: For Video Publishers, QoE and QoS are Critical

Today's market is too competitive for subpar experiences. If companies aren't monitoring quality of service and quality of experience, they're likely losing viewers—and profits.

The Changing State of MPEG DASH Royalties: How Bad Will it Get?

MPEG LA's recent announcement of a DASH royalty pool is the first such royalty on free internet video. And this is only the beginning.

Facebook Live: A Progress Report After One Year of Growth

How are organizations such as PBS and TechCrunch using Facebook Live to reach and grow their audiences? The platform has been with us for a year now, so it's time to check in.

NAB 17 Codec Roundup

Netflix shared its encoding secrets, while Beamr, Capella, Haivision, Harmonic, Hybrid, and V-Nova showed off advances in HEVC, HDR, cloud encoding, and more

Bitmovin Pushes AV1 Forward, Joins Alliance for Open Media

Bitmovin announced that it's adding AV1 to its VOD and live encoding service, and will demonstrate live AV1 encoding at NAB. It's still too early to assess whether AV1's performance claims are true, though.

How to: Dynamic Packaging

Need to reach the widest possible audience with the fewest encoding steps? Here's how nonprogrammers can use Wowza Streaming Engine to serve both live and on-demand video.

How to Assemble the Perfect Production Platform for Facebook Live

Streaming live video to Facebook is easy, but if you want professional results you'll need to build a professional system first. Here are the best products to consider.

Buyers' Guide to Blocking the Ad Blockers 2017

The best ad-blocking strategy doesn't rely on technology alone, but looks at the root causes that made viewers want to block ads in the first place.

Buyers' Guide to Quality Analytics 2017

For both video encoding and quality of service, content providers need to make sure their viewers get the best experience possible. Here's how to select a quality control service.

Ozer to Break Down HEVC Codecs, Royalties at Streaming Forum

Jan Ozer will share his test results comparing multiple HEVC codecs, and he'll also give his insights on royalties for HEVC, H.264, and MPEG-DASH in light of recent announcements from HEVC Advance and MPEG LA, as well as the possible implications of the Nokia-Apple lawsuit.

What the Nokia-Apple Lawsuit Means for the Streaming Industry

If Nokia's standards infringement lawsuit prevails over Apple, the costs could be steep to any company relying on H.264 or even HEVC. Here are the issues at stake.

The Changing Cloud Encoding Market Leads to Cost Savings

New offerings in cloud video encoding let companies both large and small find the option that makes the most sense for them.

Livestream Mevo Review: An Essential Tool for Social Video

While it has a few rough edges, the hotly anticipated Livestream Mevo lives up to the hype. Create the appearance of a multi-camera shoot with one small 4K device. After testing, we call it a must-have.

Review: Capella Systems Cambria FTC Offers Per-Title Encoding

The benefits of per-title optimization aren't just for the major players, anymore. Streaming Media reviews the first solution for smaller content owners and finds the results promising.

The Decline of the Standards-Based Codec—and Good Riddance

Online is different from broadcast and doesn't need formal standards. HEVC isn't considered by many online video streamers, as the future belongs to VP9 and AV1.

VP9 Finally Comes of Age, But Is it Right for Everyone?

Publishers and encoding companies alike are beginning to embrace VP9, Google's open source codec. Here's how it stacks up on quality and data rates.

Eventstream Review: Profit From Paid Live Online Video Events

The combination of Eventstream, Eventbrite, and YouTube Live lets anyone charge for a live webinar, generating leads they can use to grow their business. While a strong contender, the help system could be a lot more helpful.

Life After Flash: Will Producers Move to HLS, DASH, or Both?

While it's clear that Flash's time is coming to an end, it's less clear what will replace it. A survey shows DASH support, but its real-world use is around one percent.

Buyer's Guide to Enterprise YouTube Platforms 2016

An enterprise YouTube system lets businesses organize and share videos with employees and partners. Read this to learn the features that separate the best from the rest.

How to Encode and Deliver to Multiple ABR Formats

Use a single adaptive group, packaged differently for different targets, to keep encoding and storage costs down.

Buyer's Guide to Webcasting Platforms 2016

Customization, mobile compatibility, and marketing features are just a few of the checkboxes to tick off.

How to Choose a Live Streaming Schema

Whether you want a provider to handle everything or want to add cloud transcoding and packaging to an existing workflow, these are the questions you need to ask.

HEVC's Journey in 2015: Going Downhill and Gaining Speed

This year, HEVC has gone from the heir apparent to an unmanageable mess. Meanwhile, open source codec efforts are focused and progressing. What happened?

Choosing a Capture Card for Multicamera Live Production

To choose the best capture card for mixing live events with PC-based software, pursue a multi-part analysis. This article teaches shoppers the crucial features to look for.

Review: Libcast, an OVP for Small Business and Higher Education

This French online video platform offers strong customization and is priced right for budget-minded companies. Read on to learn what essential features it lacks.

How to Keep Enterprise Video Safe and Secure…Most of the Time

The CEO wants company videos shared in-house, but doesn't want trade secrets ending up on YouTube. Here's a primer on video security for the enterprise.

Review: Bitcodin, a Cloud Video Encoding Service From Bitmovin

While Bitcodin is still in development and has a few rough edges, it displayed impressive performance and quality in our testing.

Red Bull Media Readies Its Esports Studio for Prime Time

It's not a niche market anymore: Esports is massively popular. Go behind the scenes at Red Bull's gaming headquarters to learn how it streams to millions of fans.

Survey: The Future of Encoding

What will the video encoding landscape look like in 2020? We're conducting a survey to find out, and in exchange for your input, you'll be entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

Ad Blocking Technology: It’s Not User Choice, It’s Stealing

144 million people around the globe are using ad blockers to skip ads, and some of the biggest companies online are sitting back and letting it happen.

How to Package Video for Multiscreen Delivery

The video landscape is vast and fractured, so making sure that video plays on every screen requires careful planning. Here's what publishers need to know.

The Great UHD Codec Debate: Google's VP9 vs. HEVC/H.265

Which delivers better quality, encoding time, and CPU performance—HEVC or VP9? We put them to the test to decide once and for all.

Review: vMix GO Portable Live Production Solution

vMix GO is an affordable, portable, SDI-based live production and recording solution that showcases the vMix 4K live production software, which, in my view, is probably the best software in the space that you've never heard of, though it is Windows-only.

How to Encode to HEVC: A Simple Guide for H.265 First-Timers

It's time to get started. Here's a look at best practices for encoding to H.265/HEVC with the MainConcept and x265 codecs

Review: Nideo Professional Video Hosting

Smaller companies that need an online video platform for hosting should consider Nideo, which stands apart thanks to its compact, attractive player and comprehensive analytics.

Buyer’s Guide to Live Video Encoders 2015

A range of factors—from video formats needed to encoder portability—will impact the decision-making process for a live streaming solution.

Buyer’s Guide to Cloud-Based Video Encoding and Transcoding 2015

Encoding for VOD is very different from live transcoding. Here's what you need to know to find a service that serves your needs.

Buyer’s Guide to On-Demand Encoders 2015

In the market for a VOD encoder? Learn the important product categories, the top choices in each, and the right time to upgrade to a more powerful encoder.

The Changing Face of DRM: Where Do We Stand in 2015?

Digital rights management is more important than ever. Here's a look at the options available and how they can help you protect and monetize your content.

Review: Moscow State University Video Quality Measurement Tool

Never heard of it? Learn why we call this video encoding analysis tool invaluable, and a must-have for anyone serious about encoding or compression.

HEVC: Are We There Yet?

If you've spent any time at NAB or IBC, you'd think that HEVC is ready for prime time. The reality is that, for almost every use case, it's nowhere close.

Will MSE/EME/DASH Lead to Simpler Workflows? Don't Bet on It

What the online video industry needs is simple standards for reaching all viewers. But when have standards ever simplified online video?

MPEG LA's HEVC Licensing Terms Are Flawed, Will Prevent Adoption

There's no reason for Adobe to add HEVC support to Flash, and that keeps HEVC from becoming relevant for general purpose streaming.

Streaming Forum Preview: Producing and Distributing HEVC

Once the clear codec heir apparent, HEVC isn't anywhere near replacing H.264 on a widespread basis. Learn about its limitations—as well as its still-significant promise—at this year's Streaming Forum.

How to Produce High-Quality H.264 Video Files

It's time for an H.264 tune-up. Lean how choose the right encoding tool and optimize H.264 encodes for ideal quality and device compatibility.

The Codecs That Make UHD Video Possible: HEVC Vs. VP9

Which codec delivers better image quality? Which is more compatible? And what about Daala, the spoiler codec currently being developed from scratch?

Review: Panopto Lecture Capture and Webcasting System

This software-as-a-service solution lets companies and educators create libraries of on-demand content, or stream live to employees or students. We find it well-conceived, but difficult with longer files.

Streaming Forum Preview: Choosing a Live Encoder

The product categories and workflows for live encoding have exploded in number and complexity. This session at Streaming Forum will help you make sense of it all, and put you on the path to deciding what live encoders work best for your productions.

Streaming Forum Preview: How to Encode for Multiple Screen Delivery

Encoding for multiple screens is a huge topic, but this session at the Streaming Forum will help you understand the basics and offer some tested tricks for efficiently delivering to as many devices as possible.

Streaming Forum Preview: Choosing a Cloud Encoder

If you haven't seriously considered cloud encoding, it's about time you do. This session at Streaming Forum will give you the information you need to choose the best service for your needs.

How to Make the Move to HEVC

It's still early in the game, but here's everything you need to know about moving to the next-generation video codec.

A Buyer’s Guide to Cloud Encoders

Here's what you need to know before you take your encoding to the cloud. (Hint: It's not about video quality.)

How to Choose and Implement a Webcasting Solution

So you need to start webcasting—should you choose a webcast platform, a live streaming service provider, or a conferencing solution?

A Buyer’s Guide to Live Encoders

Considering producing a live event? Read this to learn the different live encoder categories, as well as the features to look for before buying.

Onstream Vs. Livestream: Which Is Better for Online Events?

It's a battle between a webcasting service and a live streaming service. Learn the differences that set them apart.

Elemental Cloud: Streaming Media's Comprehensive Hands-On Review

Elemental is a strong choice for high-volume video publishers or those already using Elemental hardware, but it doesn't come at a bargain price.

Cloud Encoding: One Name, but Many Variables to Consider

Digging into the competing cloud encoding solutions shows that they're far from similar, making comparisons difficult.

Behind the Scenes With Windows Azure Media Services: Case Study

The 2012 Olympics, NBC Universal, and the European Tour have all learned the benefits of migrating to the cloud with Windows Azure.

Streaming Forum Preview: Encoding for Multiple Devices

Jan Ozer will present four sessions at the Streaming Forum, including a how-to session designed to help attendees establish an encoding workflow to produce a single set of files for the three primary delivery platforms: PC, mobile, and OTT.

Review: Telestream Vantage Transcode Multiscreen

It's a valuable addition to the Vantage Workflow family, but is Transcode Multiscreen the fastest encoder around? Read our detailed test results.

Commentary: DASH Is Overrated—Enough Already!

The problem MPEG-DASH solves isn't that big a deal, and it's not going to make anyone's life simpler in the short term.

The Future of HEVC: It's Coming, but with Plenty of Questions

Everyone agrees that HEVC is the codec of the future, but an unclear royalty picture and a paucity of compatible devices means widespread adoption is a long way off.

A Buyer's Guide to Live Encoders

What used to be a simple choice has become much more complex as output options and viewing devices have multiplied.

A Buyer's Guide to Cloud Transcoding

For both live and on-demand video transcoding, there are compelling reasons to move to the cloud. Read this before making a decision.

A Buyer's Guide to Enterprise Video Platforms

Every company wants an affordable and useful ‘YouTube for the enterprise'; here's how to pick the right approach for your organization.

Encoding for Multiple Devices

Reach viewers no matter where they are. Check out these strategies for reaching the most devices with the smallest number of files.

Livestream Studio HD500: Review

With its compact form factor, built-in monitor, and proven BlackMagic and NVIDIA components, the Livestream Studio HD500 is an impressive portable video mixer

Review: The Vitec Optibase MGW Nano

The Nano is a compact, quiet live streaming appliance, but its steep price will put it out of range for some companies.

News Flash for Compressionists: Garbage in Means Garbage Out

Rigorous testing comparing encodes from lower-quality and higher-quality source material gives unsurprising, but much needed, results.

The 2012 Encoding and Transcoding Buyers' Guide

Discover the best hardware and software for video encoding and transcoding in the European market. We spotlight solutions from Thomson Video Networks, Envivio, AmberFin, CombiTech, and more.

Livestream Broadcaster Review: Deliver Rich Live Events for Less

This $495 device helps Livestream transition from a channel-based service to an event-based service.

Closed Captioning for Streaming Media

Whether you're required by law to offer closed captions or not, there's good reason to add them to your online video workflow. Here's how.

Flash Forward: Why Most Sites Still Depend on Flash over HTML5

HTML5 video gets all the attention and is certainly the future, but most sites don't yet see a competitive benefit to leaving Flash.

Telestream Episode Engine Review: Room for Improvement

While Episode Engine is a solid standalone enterprise encoder, a few caveats keep it from taking the top spot.

Elemental Server Review: The One to Beat

If you need a tool to accelerate H.264 encoding, Elemental Server should be on the top of your list.

Livestream: No Computer Required

Livestream introduces Broadcaster, an H.264 hardware encoder that works over 3G/4G and ethernet or Wi-Fi

There's Nothing Pro about Final Cut Pro X

FCPX fails because Apple insists on controlling the experience, something that doesn't work with a professional audience.

Buyer's Guide: Portable Capture and Transcoding

Streaming from the field offers enough challenges without having to worry about the transcoding. Here's what to look for in both hardware and software portable transcoding tools

Buyer's Guide: Light Kits

Looking to light that CEO talk or customer testimonial? You'll get what you pay for. Here's what to look for in lighting kits, and a chart comparing five leading options.

Buyer's Guide: Cameras

When it comes to choosing the right equipment for producing online video, it all starts with the camera. DSLR or Camcorder? We help you decide.

How to Produce for Adaptive Streaming

Adaptive streaming is the ideal way to deliver video content online. Here's how to do it right.

Buyer's Guide: Live Streaming Services

Production capability and user experience distinguish services. If you're in the market, look to our comprehensive chart comparing Livestream, Justin.tv, Bambuser, MultiStream, and Ustream.

Buyer's Guide: Online Video Platforms

With dozens of OVPs in the market, it's harder than ever to select the right one. Here are some guidelines to help you choose.

Buyer's Guide: Windows Production Stations

From the operating system to the graphics card, here is all you need to know to buy the best workstation for your budget.

Buyer's Guide: Software Encoders

There are bundled, desktop, and enterprise offerings. Read on to learn which one is right for your needs.

Enough About HTML5 Video Already!

HTML5 video appeals to "tree-hugging, sandal-wearing standards lovers," says Jan Ozer, and he's sick of hearing about it.

Quality Control Roundup: Catch the Mistakes Before they Go Live

Do you QC? Read this to learn what quality-control software is, how even low-volume producers can integrate it, and what it can do for your videos.

For Google and Apple, Profits Outweigh Ideals Everytime: Commentary

Even the biggest, most industry-defining computing companies will turn against their ideas when there's a buck to be made. Just look at the Android operating system and Final Cut Pro X.

Choosing a Streaming Encoding Tool

Our annual test of the leading desktop encoding programs.

Live Streaming from a Notebook

Live streaming on a notebook can be the best of all possible worlds, but how powerful a machine do you need, and how do the various live streaming software programs stack up? We look at tools from Adobe, Kulabyte, Microsoft, and Telestream.

Flash Player 10.2: More Efficient than WebM

The latest version of the Flash Player significantly reduces the CPU resources required for video playback, and beats HTML5-based WebM in most deployments

Sorenson Squeeze 7: The Good, The Bad, and the Lovely

The latest iteration of Sorenson Squeeze isn't perfect, but it's still the best desktop transcoding tool on the market.

Commentary: Welcome to the Two-Codec World

With WebM, Google hasn't created any new revenue opportunities, opened any new markets or increased the size of the pie. They've just made it more expensive to get your share, all in the highly ethereal pursuit of "open codec technologies."

How to Encode to WebM

With Google's announcement that it's dropping H.264 support in Chrome in favor of WebM, it's time to start looking at the format. Here's a look at how to get the best WebM quality.

Adaptive Streaming in the Field

How do organizations like MTV, Turner, NBC, Deutsche Welle, Harvard, and Indiana University actually deploy adaptive streaming technologies? Read on for all the juicy details.

Producing H.264 Video

Video Review: Telestream Episode 6 Interface and Workflow

A first look at the latest version of Telestream Episode 6's interface and workflow options. The verdict? Click to watch.

WebM vs. H.264: A First Look

Commentary: The Five Key Myths About HTML5

Pay no attention to the man behind the Mac. HTML5 won't be a serious consideration for at least a few years.

Producing H.264 Video

What you need to know to get the most out of the web's most popular codec

WebM vs. H.264: A Closer Look

Google's decision to open source VP8 in the form of WebM was the opening salvo in yet another codec war. We take a look at encoding efficiency, output quality, and CPU horsepower required for playback of both WebM and H.264.

First Look: H.264 and VP8 Compared

VP8 is now free, but if the quality is substandard, who cares? Well, it turns out that the quality isn't substandard, so that's not an issue, but neither is it twice the quality of H.264 at half the bandwidth. See for yourself.

Google Open Sources VP8

As anticipated, Google open sourced VP8 today, in a new container format called WebM

Adobe to Enable Flash Hardware Acceleration on the Mac

New Apple API will let Adobe take advantage of hardware-accelerated video decoding for Flash Player on the Mac, though not in 10.1

Choose Wisely: Selecting An Online Video Platform

Today, if streaming video is at all integral to your enterprise, and if you're currently hosting your own videos or posting them to user-generated content (UGC) sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, it's time to consider using an online video platform.

Producing Video Case Studies

An in-depth analysis of eleven video case studies, evaluating presentation and encoding issues.

Brightcove Announces iPad-Friendly HTML5 Video Support

The New York Times and Time already plan to take advantage of Brightcove's HTML5 offering

Ogg, MPEG LA, and Submarine Patents

HTML 5 may be the future of online video, but currently it's bogged down in a debate between supporters of H.264 and advocates of Ogg Theora. Here, representatives from both camps address concerns over licensing.

Flash Player: CPU Hog? It Depends.

Apple's Steve Jobs has been making headlines by slamming Flash as a "CPU Hog." Is it really?

Commentary: Google Closes On2 Acquisition; Better Check Your Wallet

Think Google should open-source VP8? Think again. It would be better for everyone to make the switch to H.264.

Where The Rubber Meets The Road: 2010 Encoder Comparison

Our annual look at the features and output of video encoding tools in four categories: free, standalone, enterprise-grade, and hardware co-processor.

The Player's the Thing...But So Is The Codec, Format, and Protocol

MPEG LA Continues No-Royalty Licensing Of Free H.264 Video

MPEG LA president and CEO Larry Horn discusses the reasoning behind the decision to continue the royalty-free AVC License for H.264 video that's free to viewers
Wed., Feb. 3, by Jan Ozer

Windows 7 Performance for Streaming Encoding

A Windows 7 upgrade can cost more than $300 for the software alone. Is it worth it if you're a streaming producer looking to shave encoding times?

Webcasting for the Masses

Between live streaming service providers and rich media communications solutions, there have never been more options for webcasting live events.
Friday, Jan. 22, by Jan Ozer

Testing YouTube's 1080p HD Offering

On November 12, YouTube announced that "1080p HD Is Coming to YouTube." In this article, I'll describe the type of file you should upload to trigger 1080p encoding, analyze the 1080p files created by YouTube, and detail the other files created by YouTube in addition to the 1080p file.
Wed., Dec. 16, by Jan Ozer

Review: Microsoft Expression Encoder 3

With outstanding VC-1 output and surprisingly good H.264 output, Expression Encoder 3 is an impressive update to the encoding component of Microsoft's Expression Studio.

Review: StreamCity Magic Publisher

StreamCity's campaigns are both highly useful and exceptionally usable, and Magic Publisher is the easiest-to-use OVP platform that I've worked with. While others do more, none do it as simply or elegantly.

New Features Abound in Sorenson Squeeze 6

The latest version of Sorenson's Squeeze includes integration with YouTube and Twitter, uploading to Akamai and Limelight, and new encoding features such as parallel VP6 encoding and an online preset exchange.
Tues., Nov. 3, by Jan Ozer

Commentary: Is Smooth Streaming Microsoft's Trojan Horse?

Despite its attraction for developers, Silverlight has been slow to catch on. Will Smooth Streaming change that?
Tues., Aug. 18, by Jan Ozer

Streaming Gets Smarter: Evaluating the Adaptive Streaming Technologies

With adaptive bitrate streaming, companies can post a video and let the technology sort out the rest. So which product is best for you?

Apple's New Final Cut Studio Offers Workflow, Output Improvements

The new Share command in Apple Final Cut Pro lets you bypass Compressor, while Compressor itself now features Job Actions for output directly to YouTube, MobileMe, and Blu-ray.
Thurs., July 23, by Jan Ozer

Review: Telestream Episode Engine

Telestream Episode Engine performs well when encoding to VP6, H.264, and MPEG-2, but Windows Media producers should look elsewhere.

Encoding in the Cloud

Is it time to put cloud encoding on your radar?

Choosing an Online Video Platform

Host your own, use a UGC site, or deploy a fee-based, SaaS approach? Here's how to decide which approach is right for you.

Streaming Media Podcast #24: Sorenson Media

An interview with Peter Csathy, the new president of Sorenson Media, about the company's plans for expansion and new updates to Sorenson Squeeze coming in Q2.
Wed., Mar. 25, by Jan Ozer

Choosing a Camera for Online Video Production

High-quality video starts at the source, and today's camcorders offer more options than ever to help you capture a first-class image. But with choices comes confusion; here are five questions to ask that can help you pick the camcorder that's right for you.
Mon., Feb. 16, by Jan Ozer

The Future's So Bright: H.264 Year in Review

H.264 was definitely the 'it' codec of 2008, and despite its complex and potentially expensive licensing, it will likely only become more pervasive in years to come.

2009 Encoder Shootout

Report cards on the seven leading software encoding tools

Nonlinear Video Editors for Streaming Postproduction

The last year saw developments—some big, some small—to all of the major nonlinear video editing platforms. Here's a look at the latest word from Adobe, Apple, Avid, and Sony.
Wed., Feb. 11, by Jan Ozer

Review: LSI Tarari Encoder Accelerator LCPX-6140

The LSI Tarari Encoder Accelerator is a solid and affordable option for high-volume producers who need to accelerate their VC-1 encoding.

The HD Showdown: Codec Vendors Battle It Out for Supreme Quality

Microsoft, On2, and Jan Ozer square off to determine which codec produces the highest quality video: VC-1, VP6, or H.264.

H.264 Lessons from iTunes

For all the talk about H.264, it's still not widely used for streaming, at least in the U.S. In iTunes, however, it's the norm. We take a look at how well it's working for Apple.
Tues., Oct. 21, by Jan Ozer

Decoding the Truth About Hi-Def Video Production

Many low-powered computers have trouble playing back high-definition video encoded using one or more of the big three codecs, but there are ways to improve performance.

Tutorial: Encoding for Screencams

How to wring the last bit of quality out of your codecs and encoding tools when compressing screencams for internet delivery.
Tues., Oct. 7, by Jan Ozer

Tutorial: Producing Screencams in Camtasia Studio

There is no one right way to produce screencam tutorials, but the tools and procedures described here provide a good blend of precision, production efficiency, and output quality using Camtasia Studio.
Mon., Sept. 22, by Jan Ozer

So Many H.264 Codecs, So Little Time

Unlike the quality of either WMV or VP6-based Flash files, which are relatively homogenous due to their common origin, the quality of H.264 video varies depending upon who developed the codec and, to a lesser degree, the encoding tool. Here's a comparison of H.264 files produced using codecs from Apple, Dicas, and MainConcept.
Tues., Aug. 26, by Jan Ozer

Cracking the H.264 Codec

H.264 is undoubtedly the hottest codec around, but there are inherent market forces that complicate producing files that meet the needs of your target playback device or player. These include the fact that there are multiple H.264 codecs available, each with different configurable parameters, and that each H.264 encoding tool reveals a custom set of compression options.

Under the Hood: File Analysis Tools for Streaming Video

For the most part, streaming files provide a pitiful amount of useable data, which makes programs that provide insight to the content of these files invaluable to compressionists. Depending upon your needs and operating system, there are a number of programs—most free, some at a price—that may fit the bill quite nicely. In this article, we look at a several such programs, including Apple’s QuickTime Pro, Steve Greenberg’s GSpot Codec Information Appliance, Inlet Technologies’ Semaphore, Jerome Martinez’s MediaInfo, and Sliq Media’s WMSnoop.
Tues., June 17, by Jan Ozer

Review: Sorenson Squeeze 5

With Squeeze 5, Sorenson took baby steps in some critical new directions. Unfortunately, unless it's your child, baby steps are seldom graceful or particularly effective, and that's the case here.

Review: Rhozet Carbon Coder 3

"Impressive" turns out to be a good adjective for the version 3.0 update in general, which significantly improves an already highly competent product. Rhozet has made several useful streaming-codec-related improvements, enhanced watch-folder functionality, and improved the program's interface. Encoding trials immediately revealed that Carbon Coder remains highly tuned for fast, multiprocessor efficiency.

Commentary: Microsoft Should Embrace H.264

Streaming Media East was abuzz with rumors that Microsoft would add H.264 playback to Silverlight and Windows Media Player. The official word is that no such thing is in the cards, but there are plenty of good reasons why it'd be a great idea.
Fri., June 6, by Jan Ozer

Review: Anystream Agility

The term “industrial-strength” is probably overused, but it’s definitely appropriate when describing Anystream’s Agility Web encoder, an extremely robust system that delivers more than adequate video quality along with stellar stability and performance.
Thurs., April 24, by Jan Ozer

The 2008 Encoder Shootout

In this roundup, Jan Ozer examines the compression capabilities for Adobe Creative Suite 3 and Apple Final Cut Studio 2, then reviews primary multiformat batch compression tools Grass Valley ProCoder, Sorenson Squeeze, and Telestream Episode Pro, all with an emphasis on output quality.

Special Delivery: High-Def Video

Case studies of Akamai, Hulu, and more reveal different approaches to delivering high-definition video online.

Express Yourself

Getting to know Microsoft Silverlight's Expression Encoder

Review: TechSmith Camtasia 5

Overall, the latest version offers more streamlined workflow, with a single-screen Recorder that replaces the multistep wizard, and SmartFocus, which takes some of the work out of applying pans and zooms even if it’s not perfect.

Testing the New Windows Media Encoding Profiles

Microsoft recently released upgrades to its Windows Media Video codecs. How do they hold up against WMV9, Flash VP6, and Apple's H.264? As usual, the answer is a resounding "It depends."
Fri., July 27, by Jan Ozer

Review: VX30 Universal Video Encoder

While Maui X-Stream has conceived of a brilliant feature set—and the serverless, playerless modes and DRM have undeniable appeal—VX30 offers little if any competitive advantage when it comes to video quality, and its quirks ultimately lend it a rookie feel. Once you get by the rough edges, however, it makes sense as a low-cost alternative to a player upgrade.
Fri., July 6, by Jan Ozer

Q&A With Microsoft's Ben Waggoner

In this companion piece to "The Right Profile"—a critical look at the new Windows Media Video codecs in the June/July issue of Streaming Media magazine—the author sits down for an in-depth Q&A with the program manager for Microsoft's codecs division.
Wed., June 20, by Jan Ozer

Q&A With Adobe's Chris Hock

With all the attention on Silverlight, plus the new encoding profiles for Windows Media Profile, we thought it was time to sit down with a longtime Macromedia/Adobe team member to find out what's going on with Flash.
Wed., June 20, by Jan Ozer

The Right Profile

Microsoft has released updated codecs and enhanced access to Windows Media-related encoding parameters that enable streaming publishers to improve the quality of Windows Media Video. Should you make the switch?

Shooting for Streaming, Part 4

How to deal with the progressive vs. interlaced dilemma

Review: Adobe Captivate 2

Captivate 2 is a "must download" for anyone creating application-based screen cams, online quizzes, or simulations, and—despite some significant flaws—don’t be surprised if you quickly find it invaluable as a standalone tool or a way to supplement video training materials.

Review: Rhozet Carbon Coder

Carbon Coder's feature set and video quality are outstanding, but its performance is what's really impressive, especially in multiple-processor workstations.
Mon., April 9, by Jan Ozer

Review: Sorenson Squeeze 4.5

If you produce streaming video, Squeeze 4.5 is a product you need to download and try, even if you’re completely satisfied with your current workflow and encoding tools.
Mon., Nov. 27, by Jan Ozer

Tutorial: Shooting Top-Quality Streaming Video Part II: Designing Your Set

Quality streaming video begins long before the camera's even on, with the design of the set and considerations such as color and texture.

Smart Choices

We contacted six organizations that make extensive use of streaming media, whether for internal communications or for consumer delivery. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Accenture, the state of Montana, DL.TV, blip.tv, and ESPN.com were all kind enough to share with us the decision-making processes behind their streaming video implementations, as well as the reasons behind their choices of video formats.

Tutorial: Shooting Top-Quality Streaming Video—How to Minimize Motion

Excessive motion can ruin otherwise terrific video. From codec to camera to edit, this tutorial tells you how to keep it to a minimum
Fri., Oct. 6, by Jan Ozer

Review: Adobe Captivate and TechSmith Camtasia Studio

Adobe Captivate and TechSmith Camtasia both have killer features that may swing the pendulum in their favor, but once you get to know their strengths and weaknesses, it really is hard to imagine living without either one.
Tues., Aug. 22, by Jan Ozer

Studies in Flash Video: Best Practices from Real-World Producers

These three video production companies take very different approaches to delivering Flash Video for clients. But each one maximizes the format’s capabilities while downplaying its limitations.
Tues., May 30, by Jan Ozer

Choosing a Video Codec

Picking the right video codec isn’t as easy as it used to be. But with the right information, you can determine which one will work best for your project.
by Jan Ozer