AWS Launches Amazon Interactive Video Service

Amazon’s Interactive Video Service (IVS) is now generally available to help set up live, interactive video streams for web and mobile applications.

IVS uses the technology that underpins Twitch, its streaming service used widely for gaming and esports. According to AWS (Amazon Web Services), which launched IVS, this enables customers to configure and start streaming live video with scalable delivery capable of supporting millions of concurrent viewers globally within minutes. AWS also claims that customers can deliver live content with total latency from camera to viewer under three seconds, compared with 20-30 second commonly with online streaming video today.

With the Amazon IVS SDK and APIs, customers can build interactive features into their live streams like virtual chat spaces, votes and polls, moderated question and answer sessions, and synchronized promotional elements. There are no additional charges or upfront commitments required to use Amazon IVS, with customers paying on the basis of video input to Amazon IVS and video delivered to viewers.

AWS contends that online audiences are increasingly turning to mobile and web applications for live video across sports, entertainment, education, and work. They are demanding quality more comparable with traditional broadcast with higher resolution and smoother playback than before, without buffering or delays. Viewers have also come to expect more interactivity in live streaming, so they can engage with those experiences, and with others watching, as events unfold, not seconds or even minutes after they happen.

AWS then has set out its stall to eliminate the time and complexity associated with building interactive applications and video workflows for content ingestion, processing, and distribution. AWS also pointed out that traditional streaming involves producing video in different resolutions and be divided into multiple segments for delivery. These segments are then stored in a buffer by the viewer’s video player so that playback resolution can be changed, depending on the viewer’s network and device, to optimize quality of service. This process is largely responsible for the extra 20-30 seconds latency, which precludes content creators from interacting live with their audiences unless they sacrifice quality. Amazon IVS circumvents this need for buffering.

To get started, customers send their live video to Amazon IVS using standard streaming software like Open Broadcaster Software (OBS). IVS ingests the video, then automatically transcodes and optimizes it, making it available for live delivery across AWS-managed global infrastructure in seconds using the video transfer technology employed by Twitch for its live streaming service. 

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