Staying Ahead of the Game on Video

Around 2007 video became “the next big thing” for media companies. While everyone was creating video – in whatever format they thought best (read: in just about every format known to man and machine) – Mainstream Data was able to step in and make video a technologically viable product. Probably as important as creating the video for these media companies was being able to get it into their customers’ hands. But with the aforementioned flood of video format types, it seemed no two systems were compatible with the same set of formats. The logical answer was to get one video into multiple formats. So that’s what we did.

We built our first transcoding product for specific customers in 2007. While this system was adequate for the needs of those customers, it became evident that the system would not scale well as more customers signed on to use the product. Consequently, we began designing a new system that could handle the additional workload. By 2008 we had built a highly scalable transcoding product that would suit our customers’ needs well into the future.

Our turn-key solution allows a customer to be up and running on a video hosting platform on the Mainstream cloud very quickly. If a customer requires only a subset of the services, we can accommodate them as well. This ability to customize our video transcoding product is what has kept Mainstream at the forefront of video delivery technology.

Our customers are thrilled we can deliver videos in the desired formats. Andwe continue to add features that make this system even better. The reliability, stability, and flexibility of the system have been paramount to its success.

At a high level, the system behaves as follows. First, a customer delivers a high resolution video to us typically via FTP. Metadata may be delivered along with the video. The system uses a combination of the metadata and a predefined set of rules to determine the customer’s desired output formats. The video is then processed according to those rules. The core transcoding system consists of a server farm of both Windows and Linux systems. Each server has a set of codecs. The video is routed over a high speed network to the appropriate server or servers for transcoding. When transcoding is complete, the output is packaged for delivery. The output is either sent to the customer or hosted on a MediasBrowser platform.

As the principal designer of the system and as a software engineer, I think the transcoding engine is really cool – beyond the reasons our customers like it. It allowed me to exercise my abilities in the creation of a system that is highly distributed, fault tolerant, and exists in a heterogeneous environment.

If you work with video delivery or multiple formats of video and you think Mainstream Data could help you, please get in touch with us. We’re really good at tailoring solutions to fit your needs.

Joe Novak

Senior Software Developer