Video Transcoding Clouds Comparison 2019
in cooperation
Lomonosov MSU
Graphics & Media Lab
(Video Group)

Video group head:
Dr. Dmitriy Vatolin

Project head:
Dr. Dmitriy Kulikov

Measurements, analysis:
Egor Sklyarov,
Sergey Zvezdakov,
Anastasia Antsiferova

Dubna State University
Institute for Information
Transmission Problems RAS

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This report represents the results of independent comparison of cloud-based video-encoding services. Cloud-based video-encoding services are becoming more popular, and selecting one for your tasks is quite difficult. In our experience, encoding performance may entirely differ from service to service. The results of our comparison showed that in the case of cloud services that provide the same quality, the file-size difference can reach 100% and the price difference is 700%.

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Cloud Report
Objective comparison of cloud-based video-encoding services
Released on December, 3

Free full version
(PDF & HTML documents)

6 cloud encoding services
Alibaba, Amazon Elastic Transcoder, AWS Elemental MediaConvert, Coconut, Qencode, Zencoder
4 FUllHD video sequences
epson, fountains, hawk and hockey from vimeo website
Three resolutions
FullHD, HD, SD
Three encoding use cases (presets)
Encoding with similar options, default options of tested services and with tuned options for our test videos
HTML and PDF documents
118 interactive charts and 33 pages

List of compared services

Cloud Encoding Service Supported standards
1 Alibaba
H.264, HEVC
2 Amazon Elastic Transcoder
3 AWS Elemental MediaConvert
H.264, HEVC
4 Coconut
H.264, HEVC
5 Qencode
H.264, HEVC
6 Zencoder
H.264, HEVC

Overall conclusions

The report includes the results of services comparison with three sets of encoding presets. The first is a comparison using similar (balanced) encoding options (equal encoding recipes set for all services). The second is a comparison using presets which are set as default on service. And one more part included a case with our options chosen for test videos, which were applied to one encoding service which was the only that has an ability to provide a big number of options.

  • Boasting high compression efficiency and low price, Qencode and Coconut HEVC are the winners
  • Zencoder and Alibaba cloud encoding services shows the best results considering only compression efficiency
  • H.264 encoding is cheaper, but the loss of compression efficiency becomes noticeable

Similar encoding presets

According to only YUV-SSIM quality scores, the least bitrate for similar quality among our competitors on average is provided by:

  • First place: Zencoder (HEVC, balanced preset)
  • Second place: Alibaba (HEVC, balanced preset)
  • Third place: Qencode (HEVC, balanced preset)

We did not take into account encoding time, but considered the price. The price and quality trade-off on average for test videos is shown in the plot below. There are three Pareto-optimal encoders: Qencode (H.264), Qencode (HEVC) and Zencoder (HEVC).

Tuned presets

One part of our comparison involved the use of additional encoding parameters to increase encoding performance. It involved pre-measurements to find good presets for each video, which then was provided to encoding service. The only service which allows users to vary a big number of encoding settings is Qencode (11 options which influence encoding performance: trellis, me_method, partitions, b_strategy, me_range, i_qfactor, qcomp, refs, directpred, sc_threshold, subq).

First place in the quality competition goes to Qencode (H.264, tuned presets), second place goes to Alibaba (H.264, balanced preset), and third place to Qencode (H.264, balanced preset).


Test video set

Test video set included 4 FullHD videos which were chosen from MSU video collection. In this year, the collection was enlarged up to 18418 sequences which were chosen from 700000+ user-generated videos posted on Vimeo website.

Epson printer commercial, frequently changing short scenes.
FullHD, 24fps
Static camera, several fountains in front of which people walk.
FullHD, 25fps
Hawk sitting on a branch against the background of the sea.
FullHD, 30fps
Video about the hockey team, contains dynamic and slow scenes.
FullHD, 24fps

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Contact Information
in cooperation
Lomonosov MSU
Graphics & Media Lab
(Video Group)
Dubna State University
Institute for Information
Transmission Problems RAS

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Materials about MSU Codec Comparison

See all MSU Video Codecs Comparisons

MSU video codecs comparisons resources:

Other Materials

Video resources:

Last updated: 12-May-2022

Server size: 8069 files, 1215Mb (Server statistics)

Project updated by
Server Team and MSU Video Group

Project sponsored by YUVsoft Corp.

Project supported by MSU Graphics & Media Lab