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Thumbnail cost? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

    Since Azure Media Services is so expensive we are trying to use it as little as possible. So in regards of creating the Thumbnails on the server side, I assume that this can only be done if you create a Media Services task to do the thumbnail generation? If so - is the thumbnail generation job as "expensive" as creating an encoding job?

    Thanks
    Thomas

    Thursday, December 11, 2014 9:06 PM

Answers

  • You may be overlooking the hidden multipliers.  Zencoder's model is to use a lot of multiplication factors on top of minutes. 

    "Minutes refers to the length in minutes of an output video. So if you encode the full length of a 10 minute video, your total minutes is 10. If you are using multiple outputs and encode your video into 2 different formats, your total minutes for that encoding job is 20."   

    I'm not sure what you are encoding to exactly in your modeling above, but if you are using one of our multiple bitrate MP4 presets to generate multiple output files, you need to remember to multiply the minutes consumed in the Zencoder offer.  For example, a 10 minute video in Zencoder needs to be multiplied by 6 first to compare to one of our multiple output presets (6 layers, 6 output MP4 files) and then if you are using HD resolution for two of those files you have to multiply that by 2 for each HD track.  So assume in a typical 6 layer output that is probably the top two output files - so that is now 6 *10 minutes + 2 *10 minutes (for the HD tracks).   Then if you need to transmux to Smooth, DASH or other formats, it also costs 10 minutes * 1/4 for their transmux rate, so you add on a bit more if you need to output to other formats.  So you consume that 1000 minutes rather quickly depending on what you are really encoding to. After that it's overage at 4 cents per minute output.

    If you click the Advanced formats tab, you will see that you get charged 8x minutes for anything above 2K resolution as well.  And they charge a different multiplier for advanced output codecs.

    So, overall - the minute model can seem simple at first, but is actually a bit more complicated with lots of multipliers that hide and complicate the overall calculation.  GB is also more consistent with the delivery model as well, since we charge our CDN delivery and egress rates at per GB egressed.  If you already have the calculation estimates for your encoding data, then it is easy to just apply the CDN egress rates on that with an audience estimation and be done with your rough estimation of costs.   Zencoder does not offer a streaming service or own a CDN at this time, so they don't need that consistency.

    If you are doing low volume in our system, it is true that you pay a bit more. Higher volume tiers are discounted and we offer custom pricing for large deals.  We are looking at more "offers" in the future for the low volume tiers that are more bundled like the offer you point to at Zencoder. We'll keep the forum posted when we have more details there.


    Friday, December 12, 2014 3:47 PM

All replies

  • Thumbnails are charged by Output GB when you use the "Azure Media Encoder" Media Processor now.  We had a major price drop back in September to be very competitive with other cloud offerings when we dropped the charge for Input GB.  So you only get charged for Output GBs now, and with Thumbnail jobs, that's not very much.

    Where things start to get more pricey is if you want guaranteed access to Encoders.  When you start adding Reserved Units to your account, we give you a guarantee that you will get a machine when you submit a task. If you don't have those in your account... no promises on when we pick it up.   Also, we added different pricing tiers for performance.  Basic, Standard and Premium encoder reserved units give you access to different size machines on the backend.  The costs for those are actually below what it would cost you to run a comparable IaaS VM on your own for a month (although i should caveat that we do prorate reserved units per day, and not per-minute like IaaS machines at this time. But we are expecting that you are doing a lot of encoding when you need one of the reserved units.) We're not trying to be IaaS, but a complete managed service where we handle everything for you including the support, servicing, maintenance and updates of the encoders.... and hopefully giving you lots of great features and improving over time with your input.

    I'd love to hear more feedback about your exact scenarios and pricing concerns. 

    Thursday, December 11, 2014 10:56 PM
  • Hi,

    Thank you for a great answer - here is my response.

    When I compare your encoding services with for e.g. Zencoder I can't find your pricing "very compatitive". I may be missing something here but here is a quick calculation.

    Let say I have 1000 videos during a month I want to encode. Each video is 1 minute and have size of 100 MB.

    • Azure Media Services Encoding:
       1000 videos * 100 MB = 97,6 GB
       97,6 * $1.99 = $194
    • Zencoder: 40$ for 1000 minutes of output video (they don't seem to care about video size, instead they charge you per output minut. For me that is also a much easier way of calculating)
      Reference: http://zencoder.com/en/file-transcoding/pricing

    So $194 vs 40$ - and this is just a simple example with a low volume. Am I missing something here?

    Thanks
    Thomas

    Friday, December 12, 2014 10:16 AM
  • You may be overlooking the hidden multipliers.  Zencoder's model is to use a lot of multiplication factors on top of minutes. 

    "Minutes refers to the length in minutes of an output video. So if you encode the full length of a 10 minute video, your total minutes is 10. If you are using multiple outputs and encode your video into 2 different formats, your total minutes for that encoding job is 20."   

    I'm not sure what you are encoding to exactly in your modeling above, but if you are using one of our multiple bitrate MP4 presets to generate multiple output files, you need to remember to multiply the minutes consumed in the Zencoder offer.  For example, a 10 minute video in Zencoder needs to be multiplied by 6 first to compare to one of our multiple output presets (6 layers, 6 output MP4 files) and then if you are using HD resolution for two of those files you have to multiply that by 2 for each HD track.  So assume in a typical 6 layer output that is probably the top two output files - so that is now 6 *10 minutes + 2 *10 minutes (for the HD tracks).   Then if you need to transmux to Smooth, DASH or other formats, it also costs 10 minutes * 1/4 for their transmux rate, so you add on a bit more if you need to output to other formats.  So you consume that 1000 minutes rather quickly depending on what you are really encoding to. After that it's overage at 4 cents per minute output.

    If you click the Advanced formats tab, you will see that you get charged 8x minutes for anything above 2K resolution as well.  And they charge a different multiplier for advanced output codecs.

    So, overall - the minute model can seem simple at first, but is actually a bit more complicated with lots of multipliers that hide and complicate the overall calculation.  GB is also more consistent with the delivery model as well, since we charge our CDN delivery and egress rates at per GB egressed.  If you already have the calculation estimates for your encoding data, then it is easy to just apply the CDN egress rates on that with an audience estimation and be done with your rough estimation of costs.   Zencoder does not offer a streaming service or own a CDN at this time, so they don't need that consistency.

    If you are doing low volume in our system, it is true that you pay a bit more. Higher volume tiers are discounted and we offer custom pricing for large deals.  We are looking at more "offers" in the future for the low volume tiers that are more bundled like the offer you point to at Zencoder. We'll keep the forum posted when we have more details there.


    Friday, December 12, 2014 3:47 PM