Top 10 Questions about Expression Media Encoder

April 19, 2007

Hot on the heels of last night’s Top 10 for Silverlight, the other product making major waves at NAB is Microsoft Expression Media Encoder – a template-based video publishing tool for Silverlight and more. Expression Media Encoder supports live and on-demand video encoding and is a feature of Expression Media (our upcoming Digital Asset Management tool based on the lauded iView Media Pro). Tim Sneath has a great writeup on the encoder here.

Top 10 Questions about Expression Media Encoder

  1. What video formats can I import with MEME?
    A: QuickTime, AVI, WMV, and any other format with a well-formed DShow filter. Yep, we did the extra work to support the QT API’s and are showing it working on the show floor. If you have QT installed, it will work.
  2. What can MEME do with Silverlight?
    A: MEME can quickly add chapter points with thumbnails and publish out your video into WMV/SMPTE VC-1 – no coding required. Then just add the Javascript and video to your site and away you go. You can also do basic enhancements – add a transparent .PNG or .GIF as an overlay, add leader/trailers, crop and even do A|B compare.
  3. Can I encode for devices? Web sites? Streaming servers?
    A: Yes! We’ll include device profiles for outputting just the video for now šŸ˜‰ Silverlight works with any web server as well as the more efficient Windows Media streaming platform. Profiles are just .prx same as Windows Media Encoder.
  4. What about live support?
    A: Another big hit at the show is EME’s ability to handle multi-angle, multi-source video. You’ll be able to do pre-roll from local disk, then output, even archive to disk. Yes, I think some vloggers will find this handy for both live broadcasting and on-demand.
  5. Tell me more about these templates?
    A: The beauty of Silverlight apps is that they can be written with Javascript + XML (XAML). As a result, the chrome/skin/templates can be created in Expression Blend (or other tools, even notepad) and then swapped- much like blog site, website, or powerpoint templates. This feature is a huge hit at NAB. We’re showing how Blend can be used to create template easily from scratch, then use the template in EME.
  6. Expression Media is available for Mac and Windows. What about EME?
    A: EME is a Windows-only product and was actually built with Expression Studio- it’s a WPF-based application.
  7. How fast is encoding with Expression Media Encoder?
    A: Very fast- about the same as WM Encoder but we know time is money in encoding, so we’re working with Intel spin-off and Red Herring darling Tarari to add hardware acceleration! Tarari’s boards are used by major broadcasters and post houses to encode today. With EME, Tarari is seeing up to 15x faster encoding times when compared to software only solutions. Just drop the board into a PCI slot and away you go
  8. Can EME run on the server?
    A: Yes! EME is scriptable, automatable, and templatized (is that even a word?) so you can integrate it into your server workflow. We think some user-generated content sites may find this interesting for example where long encoding times mean customers leave your site.
  9. Will EME support output to other formats?
    A: We’re considering it based on feedback. We know there’s a demand for better, simpler transcoding tools, and EME is really optimized for Silverlight which uses VC-1 (as well as older. Silverlight could add more formats, but when you consider the entire package is 1MB in size, just adding another video codec could increase that by 50%. Keep the code tight!
  10. What is the coolest feature of EME?
    A: For me, it’s the A/B Encode Compare feature. Today most tools require you encode the entire file, then review the quality. Then tweak – a huge time sink. EME will improve the quality of videos in general because you can encode a segment or snippet you define (such as a high action sequence) and then review. You can even wipe back and forth in the frame, reviewing side by side the original and compressed, or even multiple encoder settings side by side to get the best quality possible. The metadata features are pretty cool too.
  11. Does Expression Media Encoder replace Windows Media Encoder?
    No. EME is a new product, optimized for fast and simple publishing of video on your website with Silverlight. WME continues to be made freely available at www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia EME will cost about $299.

2 responses to Top 10 Questions about Expression Media Encoder

  1. 

    Please please please please please please please please please support export to .MP4. Btw, how VOB is the container format for DVD and DAT/MPG is the container format for VCD, what’s the container format for HDDVD and Blu-ray? Is it based on .MP4?

  2. 

    I agree with anonymous up there! please do support export to mp4 format! That would make life so much nicer!!!