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Review Of Video Transcoders and Encoding Products For Video Asset Management

by Naresh Sarwan on August 8, 2012 has posted a review of various commercial transcoding and encoding tools.  They cover hardware, software and cloud based tools, including the following:




It’s not only hard to choose an encoding product, it’s hard to choose the type of encoding that fits best with your workflow. The streaming media encoding universe has evolved into a complex space with multiple, often intersecting markets. In this overview article, I’ll identify the most critical market segments and discuss one or two key products within each market.” [Read More]

The article does cover a reasonable cross section of the options and is a great starting point for research.  If you are looking at video for DAM, encoding or transcoding tools are an essential requirement and typically they are pre-packaged with the DAM system in some form or other.  Depending on how your DAM system is delivered, you may or may not have a choice about which one to use.  If you are involved in an enterprise implementation (or a complex video DAM), however, while your vendor should have their own recommendations and preferences, you should still have some capability to have them integrate with a given encoder if there is a good business (or technical) case for it.

There are some open source transcoding alternatives to those mentioned in the article, notably FFMPEG which is one of the core workhorses of most open source DAM systems (and a number of commercial ones too).  Worth noting is that the Entermedia open source DAM system is already integrated with a number of these tools (especially the Harmonic/Rhozet range) without customisation.  ResourceSpace and FocusOPEN are also plug-in based (the latter having a separate outboard Asset Processing Server also).  Some of the more video oriented toolkits that provide DAM-like capabilities such as  Kaltura and Mediamosa (for Drupal) are further choices that use FFMPEG.  I’ve barely scratched the surface of the options there and most of the open source DAM systems available can support FFMPEG (at least) without modification and other dedicated products with some development effort.

If you are going to use an open source system like FFMPEG, what you might save on license costs, you may well spend on development time getting them to work properly with your DAM.  A few years ago I wrote a short intro article on building a very belt and braces transcoder using FFMPEG for Windows (Google will provide you lots of examples for getting it to work with Linux/UNIX) and while it’s an amazing tool, the management of it as an open source project is far from ideal and picking a working build that doesn’t have one or more show-stopper limitations seems a bit of a minefield.  With that in mind, you may want to consider one of the commercial options at least as a backup.

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