Major Changes Coming to Twitch TranscodesAug 23 2013 · 159 comments · New Features, News
If you’ve been following our recent string of service changes and announcements, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve been talking quite a bit about our impending video system upgrade. The long story short is that since the conception of Justin.tv, our services have always existed on RTMP video, and we’re looking to transition our entire network to a more modern format. This transition will allow us to more efficiently expand our current infrastructure, deliver highly requested and advanced features, ensure that your streams are available on all devices, as well as reduce our dependency on Flash. It’s going to be a massive win for everyone who uses Twitch and we can’t wait to roll it out.
It’s a process that is easier said than done, however, and when we say “roll it out,” we mean it. The minimum broadcasting requirements, removing the old channel page, and increasing the number of channels available on our apps have all been smaller pieces of this gradual transition, with plenty more still to come.
Today, we’d like to give you a heads up that in light of this transition, we’ll soon be changing the way we handle transcodes, both on the backend, as well as the way they’re labeled.
We’ll soon be changing our transcode labels from 240p/360p/etc, to “Low,” “Medium,” and “High.” Live (the actual quality set in your broadcast software) will continue being an option on web as long as partners are sending us an excellent quality stream, and will be renamed to “Source.” This is for a number of reasons, primarily to unify the Twitch experience across all platforms. We also want to shift viewers away from the idea that broadcasting at a higher resolution (without considering bitrates, framerates, hardware resources, etc) automatically translates to higher quality, which is what the current labels tend to do. Traditionally lower-res broadcasters, such as those in the speedrunning and retro gaming communities, should find this change especially beneficial as they’ll be receiving three transcodes regardless of their resolution.
There’s also the fact that we currently have two different transcode systems: one for web, and another for mobile. This means that, at the moment, we’re transcoding your streams twice, resulting in twice the work. By moving to this new system, and consolidating our transcodes, we’ll be on a singular video network, and the capacity that was being spent on transcoding twice can then be freed up for other vital needs.
We’re currently planning on switching over to the new labels early next week, and we’ll be talking a lot more about how to make the most of them in the very near future.