Microsoft and Imagine Communications Release Public Preview of Azure Media Services Premium Encoder

Cloud-based service enables broadcast-quality streaming for global multiscreen deployments

Imagine Communications, a global leader in video infrastructure, advertising management and workflow solutions serving media networks, broadcast stations, on-line and communication service provider, and enterprise markets, and Microsoft Corp., today released a public preview of Azure Media Services Premium Encoder. This new cloud offering for on-demand workflows provides exceptional agility and scalability for global multiscreen deployments – enabling media companies to stream broadcast-quality content to virtually any device, anywhere in the world. Imagine Communications and Microsoft will demonstrate the Azure Media Services Premium Encoder at the NABShow2015 in Las Vegas, April 13-16.

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“The collaboration between Imagine Communications and Microsoft is about solving critical multiscreen delivery and monetization challenges while also transitioning to a future network architecture that is defined by IP, software and the cloud,” said Charlie Vogt, CEO of Imagine Communications.  “As a key technology partner in the development of this solution, we are helping global media companies and enterprises efficiently design and launch scalable, end-to-end media processing applications, workflows and services on demand – using reliability and virtually unlimited capacity of Azure.”

Cloud-based encoding, which provides media companies the ability to effortlessly utilize transcoding only when required, is an advanced alternative to investing in premises-based encoding platforms that may sit idle for long periods of time. The Azure Media Services Premium Encoder enables media companies to rapidly and efficiently design and launch scalable, cloud-based media processing applications, workflows and services on-demand, while dramatically reducing their IT implementation and maintenance costs.

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The innovative solution streamlines common workflow problems through the integration of a studio quality processing engine with automated decision-making logic and advanced metadata processing. It also supports additional input and output codecs and file formats such as 4K Ultra HD in AVC and closed captioning, streamlining the ability to deliver across all classes of outputs from mobile to broadcast. Accessible through a standards-based, programmable web interface with Media Services REST API, the Azure Media Services Premium Encoder can be used as part of an end-to-end Azure Media Services workflow such as adding on-demand capacity to an existing on-premises datacenter. Included with the solution is a graphical workflow design tool that supports parallel tasks and in-line logic, allowing users to customize media processing by creating sophisticated, intelligent workflows that are streamlined for exact processing requirements.

“Microsoft Azure Media Services is a comprehensive media platform designed to enable end-to-end multiscreen solutions in the cloud for premium content owners” said Sudheer Sirivara, Partner Director of Engineering, Microsoft Azure. “The addition of Azure Media Services Premium Encoder in partnership with Imagine Communications to our platform enables a truly differentiated experience for premium content owners.  Premium Encoder gives our customers the operational freedom, agility, and transparency to rapidly design, deploy, and manage complex studio grade transcoding workflows.”

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The companies previously announced plans for this innovative collaboration and utilization of the Zenium™ software defined workflow management solution from Imagine Communications as a key technology component of Azure Media Services Premium Encoder.

To see this innovative new solution first-hand, visit Imagine Communications (booth N2702) and Microsoft (booth SL6605/SL6610) at the NABShow2015.

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