Choosing the right video hosting service? Need help
I just found out about this forum and was hoping some resident gurus can help us out.
We are developing a website that revolves around the car industry. We want to host/stream our videos but can't seem to find the right service. We can't use YouTube, Vimeo..etc..etc. It has to be our own Video Player with our videos hosted somewhere. Somebody already suggested that there are 3 main players in worldwide streaming services but failed to mention who the heck they are.
I tried Googling but didn't really find anything worthy.
The players mentioned probably include Akamai and EdgeCast, but I don't know who the third would be. Fastly is an excellent CDN nonetheless. And if you're doing serious video streaming and have the budget, a CDN is without a doubt what you want. Then you just need a site that handles the PHP and MySQL (or whatever), while the heavy video lifting is done by the CDN.
If you can't commit to high levels of bandwidth right away, you'll need to find a reseller of Akamai and EdgeCast. Rackspace resells Akamai, and SpeedyRails resells EdgeCast. To give you an idea of the scale, Akamai is what serves Netflix's videos and they're used to dealing with contracts of that size.
Last edited by Ryan Williams; 01-19-2014 at 11:02 AM.
You just sign up for a CDN like any other hosting package. With smaller ones like Fastly, MaxCDN, KeyCDN, and CDN77 you can get going directly via their websites; with the giants like Akamai and EdgeCast you need to sign up via the resellers I mentioned above.
Typically, with a CDN you pay in the region of $0.15 per GB but this will go down as you hit certain levels of usage (e.g. 2TB). Every CDN has its own specific pricing scheme but they'll all be close to that.
As for how that translates to your usage, it's impossible to say. Would a single visitor watch one video or 10? Would the videos be 20MB or 200MB? For a HD video you can definitely cross into hundreds of megabytes quickly. You'll just have to tally things up based upon your expectations using the aforementioned numbers.
You will probably be able to get bandwidth cheaper from a more conventional web host (e.g. an unmetered 100mbps line) but that has the downside of being in one place, so if your server is in the US and your viewer is in the EU the latency can cause quality/buffering issues — that's why CDNs are almost universally used for video delivery. Still, if you can't afford that kind of infrastructure then something like an OVH server would do the job well.
I think you have a lot of research to do, for example another question you need to answer is how you're going to be encoding the videos for delivery to your users. Take YouTube: they have on average five different versions of each video, optimised for different connection speeds. At the very least you'll want two: SD and HD. Will you need your server to convert the source videos or will you be doing it personally? YouTube needs tens of thousands of servers to convert videos and it still takes minutes, and in all honesty encoding one video at a time is probably all most servers can handle unless you want it to take a long time. You may want to consider finding a cloud video encoding service.
Essentially I see you needing three components to your infrastructure:
Server to host your website on
Servers or service to encode your videos
Servers or CDN to distribute your videos
To begin with you could probably combine #1 and #3, but if you get popular your website will quickly need its own dedicated server. You'll definitely need something dedicated to handle the encoding alone though, as that will absolutely kill the CPU and ideally the server will have GPUs too (which is why a proper streaming service might be better as few providers offer them).
Last edited by Ryan Williams; 01-19-2014 at 05:17 PM.
I'm afraid I have no services I can offer right now if it involves commercial work or similar. I'm completely up to my eyes in projects.
But I'm glad I could help and am happy to give further advice in the forums as needed, as others will be I'm sure.
Also, one thing you might not be aware of is that providers aren't allowed to advertise themselves outside of the offers forum. There are likely some providers here who can consult/aid with your business but they can't volunteer. Keep an eye out for them and maybe do a search for 'video' — signatures are a giveaway!
There are streaming providers out there that will do all the work for you. They work with Wowza all the time and can create your own private CDN, depending on your budget. Google Wowza dedicated servers