Frequently asked questions about migrating from Azure Media Services to Bitmovin

Learn more about migrating from AMS to Bitmovin in our guide here. We’ve collected some frequently asked questions about AMS retirement, migration process, and Bitmovin features below.

Azure Media Services Retirement

Which Azure Media Services are being retired?

Microsoft is retiring Azure Dynamic Packaging, Content Protection, VOD Encoding, Live Streaming, and Media Player.

Why is AMS being retired?

Microsoft has chosen to retire these services as part of their focus on secular growth and long-term competitiveness plans. They are also prioritizing media services solutions from the Microsoft partner ecosystem to improve access to the highest-quality services.

What does this mean for my current services in Azure?

The retirement of these services means that they will no longer be actively supported or maintained by Microsoft. It is recommended for users to explore alternative solutions or migrate to other services such as Bitmovin to support their future streaming and encoding needs. It’s fairly straightforward to transition away from AMS to a SaaS solution such as Streams; and we’re here to guide you through the process alongside our ISV partners Eyevinn and Southworks.

How long do I have to change over services?

You will have until June 30, 2024 to switch over your on-demand encoding, live streaming, on-demand streaming and content protection workflows. For those needing more time, Bitmovin Streams can continue to serve your existing content library from Azure Blob Storage for a limited period until June 30th, 2025. The monthly fee for this service will be $110 USD per Origin Service, and billing will occur directly through the Azure Marketplace.

Where can I find more information about the retirement of AMS services?

Microsoft prepared a retirement guide to support you in the transition from their services.

Migration Process and Logistics

Can files already encoded with AMS can be kept in the same storage location or they need to be moved?

Existing files can be kept in the same storage location and don’t need to be moved. New files can be added to the same storage location once configured as an Azure Output.

Can files already encoded with AMS can be reused directly in Streams or do they need to be re-encoded?

Existing files don’t need to be re-encoded but you may want to convert them into static CMAF containers with HLS and DASH manifests using the AMS migration tool.

Can I migrate AES encrypted assets from my back catalog?

Yes, the AMS migration tool from Azure supports migrating AES encrypted assets without additional transcoding.

Are there any API calls to be changed?

It’s likely that most or all of your API calls will need to be updated to use one of the Bitmovin SDKs as it’s different from the AMS APIs. That said, the Bitmovin SDKs are highly customizable and offer a lot of powerful capabilities when compared to AMS.

We are currently using react-native-video to stream the DRM-protected videos. If we switch from AMS to Bitmovin, is it necessary to switch to your own player as well?

You are not required to use Bitmovin’s player SDKs but there are many benefits to doing so such as the broadest device & DRM support on the market, custom web UI, ads, analytics, offline playback, casting, etc. You can learn more about the Bitmovin React Native SDK here.

Can I use a third-party CDN to deliver content from Azure Origin / Blob Storage?

You can use a feature called Routing Preference Unmetered from Azure. You will benefit from free data egress from Azure.

Bitmovin Support and Capabilities

What Azure Regions are supported by Bitmovin?

Bitmovin Encoder supports the following Azure Regions as listed in the API reference.

Does Bitmovin support token-based DASH URLs?

Bitmovin supports token-based URLs for both DASH and HLS manifests using the Network API to sign URLs as needed in accordance with your token-based configuration of the Azure CDN.

Does Bitmovin support embedding images to assets while encoding?

Bitmovin’s Live Event Encoder supports creating insertable content in a variety of image formats including BMP, TIF, GIF, PNG, JPG, and many others. Video content can be inserted the same way.

Can we customize the encoding logic? i.e. We should be capable enough to set the bitrate and define the number of resolution copies to be made.

Yes, absolutely. While Bitmovin Streams automatically creates an ideal adaptive bitrate ladder with our award winning Per-Title algorithm, Bitmovin VOD Encoding provides the most flexibility when it comes to customizing your encoding workflow logic. Just follow the getting started documentation on our portal and choose how much or how little you’d like to customize.

What is the number of requests that can be processed per minute with Bitmovin?

Bitmovin provides up to 25 parallel VOD encoding slots and 25 parallel live event encodings by default. The processing rate for VOD encoding jobs varies based on the input type, size, and storage location as well as the output configuration and storage location (e.g. UHD takes longer than HD which takes longer than SD). Learn more about our optimizations to reduce turnaround time.

That said, Bitmovin’s VOD encoder leverages a highly optimized cloud-native split and stitch control plane to process VOD assets at factors of up to 100 times faster than real-time. Additionally, the Bitmovin team invests into dedicated resources to tweak and optimize our codec implementations with ready to deploy presets intended to offer speed vs quality options on a job-by-job basis.

As Azure media player is also set to expire, we are also looking for an alternative. Do you provide a Player for streaming the URLs?

Yes, of course. Bitmovin is one of very few providers in the industry who offers both content preparation and playback technologies which can be used standalone but are also guaranteed to be interoperable when used together.

Bitmovin Playback is our product group that encompasses rich, multi-platform player SDKs as well as sophisticated granular near real-time telemetry about your audience + ad engagement and quality of experience and also a stream lab to validate those URLs before publishing them to ensure problems are not discovered in the wild.

How secure is it to allow Bitmovin to our storage account?

The Bitmovin Encoder is trusted by some of the biggest media brands in our industry to handle their video content including BBC, Discovery+, Stan, Hulu Japan, Globo, Red Bull, and over 200 others.
It works by securely accessing your cloud-based object storage only when needed to download an input asset, transcode it, then output the adaptive bitrate renditions back to your cloud-based object storage. The access to your storage is temporary and fully within your control.

Bitmovin does not store any copies of input or output content and all cloud compute instances used for transcoding are destroyed immediately after the job is complete. The whole process is ephemeral and entirely within your control.

Are there customers that have already made the migration from AMS to Bitmovin? If yes, how long did the whole process take?

So far we’ve seen dozens of AMS customers migrate to Bitmovin successfully without any migration assistance from Bitmovin. It’s hard to tell how long the process has taken but it appears that some of them launched within minutes and others are still working on it days after signing up. We expect this varies substantially depending on the complexity of their use cases (workflows) but it’s not expected to be a substantial migration effort for most.