Happy Friday! It has been a while, which means I have so many updates that have built up over the holidays and before... Expect a few posts from me in the coming weeks.
I've been saying for months that a new transcoder is in the works, and as you might expect we really wanted to get it up and running in time for gen:LOCK. Happy to say it has passed all its tests and is ready to start rolling into our production environment (SLOWLY)! In the next week we'll test it for the first time on a select few videos, and barring any complications we hope to use it for all gen:LOCK episodes. It should be running on every newly published video within a month at most. The plan is to re-transcode some of the library over time.
The new transcoder should bring you noticeably better quality video, video previews while you scrub through a timeline, and most importantly faster load times. For those interested in proof this will be faster, our engineer Kalman (@thekal), who integrated this whole thing, said I could share his test results with you.
Quick description of what you're looking at: when you click play on a video, our product loads a manifest file at a resolution chosen based on your connection speed, device, and a bunch of other factors. Every video loads in segments, piece by piece. Buffering time is dependent in part on how big the segments are - ideally the maximum segment size is relatively small, and also ideally the segments are all around the same size (the standard deviation is small).
Here's what Kalman found when he tested segment sizes and standard deviations for all the manifests of a recent RWBY episode and a recent Achievement Hunter episode (values are all in MBs, and don't include audio. Audio adds some data, not a ton):
The largest 1080p segment of RBWY used to potentially be over 30MB(!), and now it's just over 3MB. That's...a lot better.
If you spot a video using the new transcoder, let me know! More to come very soon, but as always feel free to leave some questions and I'll answer them throughout the weekend.