Introducing Azure Premium Encoder

John DeutscherCloud, Encoding, Media Services, Microsoft Azure, Standard1 Comment

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A few weeks back we introduced a new encoder to Azure Media Services called Azure Media Encoder Premium. This new encoder complements our existing encoding services by offering more advanced features for the media and entertainment industry. This new encoder allows you to build out more professional cloud encoding workflows on our platform with support for more file formats and a new visual workflow designer tool.

I’m really excited about the capabilities of the new Workflow Designer which allows you to graphically build custom encoding job logic.  You can use this to make decisions about the type of formats, resolutions, and the number of outputs that you want to encode in a job simply by drawing the flow of the decision logic in a simple to use tool. I look at this new tool somewhat like Visual Studio for Video. It’s a merger of the best ideas from AviSynth and the old DirectShow GraphEdit all in one tool.   For example, if you want to create a workflow that inspects the incoming file to see if it is HD 1080i vs. HD 720p on input, and then decide to only encode the bitrates needed for that resolution or include de-interlacing in the job.  Previously, with our standard encoder we would just upscale the incoming video to 1080p even if it was only 720p – this is a bit of a waste of bits and costs you money on the Output GB’s for content that you really don’t need.

In addition, the Premium Encoder offers superior quality and flexibility suited best for broadcast industry, studios, and professional media scenarios.  This includes support for encoding up to 4K Ultra HD in AVC,  closed captions, and MXF file format support.

Key new capabilities of the Premium Encoder include:

  • New ingest formats, particularly ones common in television broadcast industry.
  • More output formats, particularly ones common in television broadcast industry.
  • Built in support for closed caption workflows.
  • Advanced video and audio processing: broadcast quality de-interlacing, inverse telecine, Dolby® Professional Loudness Correction with Dialogue Intelligence™, graphic/video/audio/text/timecode overlays, black border detection and removal, and much more.
  • Workflow Designer that allows you to create automated decision logic in your encode jobs (e.g. If source is 720p, encode to a 720p adaptive streaming profile; else if source is SD, encode to an SD adaptive streaming profile)

We’ve included several pre-built “workflow” template files that you can use right away, or you can download from GitHub and modify  to create your own custom workflows.  The sample workflows provided are meant to be used for proof-of-concepts. Most of the encode settings can and should be tuned further to suit your specific encoding needs.  Being a “premium” encoder, the pricing for usage is different from our standard, so be sure to look here to find out more about the updated pricing before using it.

In the future, we will be adding additional capabilities to the Premium Encoder, including planned support for HEVC encoding.   All of the outputs from the Premium Encoder can still be used with our On-demand Streaming services, including full support for Dynamic Packaging and Encryption  to Apple HLS and MPEG-DASH file formats.

How Do I Get Access to the Workflow Designer?

Shortly after the preview release of this encoder, we will publicly release the Worfklow Designer tool that can be used to create your own workflows. Today you can email us to get access to this Workflow Designer tool. The tool requires a 64 bit version of Windows client (Windows 10, 8 or 7 should work just fine). Sorry we don’t have  Mac version!  To get the download link and a license for the tool, please send me an email at

Get the Premium Encoder Workflow Designer

To get a download link and a license for the tool during our Public Preview, please send an email to us by clicking this button.

For more details about the newly supported input and output formats and how to get started with the new Premium Encoder, visit our documentation center on MSDN. Also, stay tuned for videos on how to use Azure Premium Encoder. We recently recorded several getting started videos and will be posting them publicly very soon. I’ll upload them to Azure Media Services and put them in my blog with the new Azure Media Player (more on that this week!)

Additional Resources to learn more about Premium Encoder:

Get the Azure Media Explorer Tool

Easily manage multiple Azure Media Services account with this simple to use Windows desktop tool.

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One Comment on “Introducing Azure Premium Encoder”

  1. Pingback: Azure Premium Encoder Workflow Designer Training Videos | John Deutscher

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