Zencoder Wants To Be The Amazon Web Services Of Video Encoding

Transcoding videos, which changes the format, size and bit rate of a video file, is an arduous, yet necessary process for media content owners. Many sites outsource the transcoding technology to services like HeyWatch and Encoding.com, which offer a SaaS application to format videos. Today, Y Combinator-backed Zencoder is entering the space, hoping to become the Amazon Web Services for encoding.

Before launching Zencoder, the startup’s founders talked to hundreds of customers and prospects who need video transcoding services, and found that they consistently care about the same three or four things: speed, input compatibility, video quality, and ease of integration. Thus, Zencoder promises fast encoding, claiming to be at least 30 percent faster than the current encoding technologies.

While the startup’s pricing is similar to competitors, Zencoder differs from sites like Encoding.com in that it charges clients per minute of video encoded vs per gigabyte. The startup also claims to handle 95% of the unusual or corrupt files that other services can’t tackle.

Other unique features include the ability to autorotate iPhone videos shot in landscape mode (which is important for any UGC site) and compelling developer tools, including a code generator for API calls.

Zencoder also has experience and talent in its favor. The founders originally developed encoding technology Flix Cloud, that was used by video compression startup On2 technologies, before On2 was eventually acquired by Google. Zencoder, which is independent of On2, is based on the next version of Flix Cloud with improvements in speed, quality, reliability, and ease of use.

Although the startup only recently launched, Zencoder has already signed up a number of companies including Posterous to use its encoding services. Posterous will be switching over to Zencoder for all of their video transcoding in the coming weeks.