How Wiredrive creates fast and stable video playback across devices

‘Selective Transcoding’ is an exciting feature that enables nearly all your media files to playback consistently and smoothly in Wiredrive, no matter the format or resolution.

What is selective transcoding?

Wiredrive will play most audio and video files in their original format. Instead of transcoding every file that is uploaded into Wiredrive, we scan every video and audio file uploaded into the system to identify and anticipate which files need our help to ensure they play back smoothly.

If Wiredrive will play the source file smoothly, we leave it alone. This is the case for 9/10 files in Wiredrive.

For files that won’t play in their original format, we go the extra mile to identify exactly what’s wrong. We create an alternate version of the file, transcoding only the parts that need it. For example, if the video is fine but the audio needs to change, then the video stream remains untouched. This keeps the transcoded version as close to the original version as possible, and enables it to play in the browser without a problem.

Why not just transcode everything?

First, let’s talk about why video files fail to play and why blindly transcoding everything isn’t the silver bullet.

The reason high resolution media files suffer during playback is based on how the files are played in the browser. If you are using a plugin, the plugin doesn’t have access to the computer’s video card so it has to decode the video in the CPU, resulting in choppy playback and degraded video quality.

The broadest consumer solution is to transcode every video file and create many versions to ensure that the video will play on as many browsers, OSes, and devices as possible. This works fine for watching “Frozen,”  on your iPad, but if you work in marketing or production and share professional-grade video files, this doesn’t work great.

Don’t transcode before you upload

With Wiredrive, there’s no need to add extra steps to the process. Since we selectively transcode for you, you don’t need to transcode video or audio files before you upload–video and audio files will just play. Even very large, high-resolution files like ProRes, will play back with the highest possible resolution (even with high bitrates!)

We also keep your original file so you can still download or send it just as easily as always. Just make sure you think about your system capacity before you go wild with uploads.

We never alter original files

It is extremely important for us to maintain the original file, and we go to great lengths to make sure you always maintain access.  In all cases, the original file is never altered; we will never change the file you upload. If a file is selectively transcoded, we make an alternate version for playback in Wiredrive only. You can rest assured knowing that every file that’s downloaded is always the exact same file that was uploaded.

For technical details, check out our support blog post.

By Rich Zurad