Chris Mendez in For Managers, Audio, Radio

AWS Elemental

Amazon acquired a company called Elemental back in 2015 and has now released a suite of new products that help broadcasters (big and small) distribute and syndicate video online. Think of Elemental as Amazon's in-house solution to Adobe's now defunct Flash Media Server and Wowza's cloud-based solutions. Like all AWS products, Amazon will manage the servers for you and you only have to pay-for-what-you-use so it's perfect for R&D teams and startups.

Elemental offers a suite of different products but they're sort of hard to understand so here's my plain-English breakdown.


If you are a broadcaster (such as a radio station) with a 24-7 broadcast feed and all you want to do is distribute it online, then your first step would be to encode the feed using MediaLive. MediaLive will encode signal and deliver it to MediaPackage.

For example, if you want to reach iOS users, then MediaLive will serve as the first step in the process.

Use Case

If I were planning to stream a live concert or award show online, I'd likely use MediaLive to encode the stream.


MediaStore is essentially the AWS S3 equivalent specifically designed for audio and video. You can still use S3 with Elemental but the performance on MediaStore will be slightly better.

Referring back to MediaLive, if you plan to both broadcast and record your live feed, then you'll probably want to use MediaStore to save your real-time stream.



If you want to simluate a 24-7 video channel but don't want to invest in heavy video infrastructure, then this will work.


If you want to simluate a 24-7 audio-only channel but don't invest in broadcast automation software such as SAM Broadcaster or WideOrbit, then MediaConvert will work.

MediaConvert can accept these formats as inputs:

  • PCM audio in a QuickTime container (.mov)
  • PCM audio in an MPEG-2 transport stream (.ts, .m2ts, .m2p)
  • AAC audio in an MP4 container (.mp4)
  • PCM audio in a self-contained WAV file (.wav)

Currently, MediaConvert MediaConvert does not support audio only HLS output but ElasticTranscoder does. ElasticTranscoder also offers auto-rotation of files.


MediaPackage is a real-time transcoder that I would describe as the competitor to Telestream. Basically, if you have a single video and you want to package it different devices and use cases, this is the tool.

If you are a new radio station and you're looking for something more affordable than Stream Guys or Triton Digital to distribute to different devices, then use MediaPackage. MediaPackage will prepare your feed for iOS (HLS format). Android (M3U) or even xBox(smooth stream).


If you want to earn a dollar by selling advertising, then this is the tool you'll need.