Encoding

About the team

The Encoding Team (ET) is the team that touches the video at the beginning and transforms it into the format served to Showmax customers. It's our team’s responsibility to serve the best possible viewing experience to our customers, regardless of what, where, or how they watch.

In Africa, this is a particularly interesting challenge. We have binge-watchers on big-screen smart TVs in their living rooms, people watching on a shaky cellular network on a bus while commuting to work, and everywhere in-between. In every case, it means that our video streams must be high quality while consuming reasonable bandwidth — every extra bit is costly. That requires constant improvement in our video encoding process.

We work very closely with several other teams — especially the CMS team of which we used to be a part. We are also very close to the CDN, Analytics, and Frontend teams in a constant effort to improve Showmax for every single user.

How we work

We’ve preserved the startup, agile (not SCRUM!) culture from when we started Showmax in a small apartment in Beroun, Czech Republic.

What we work on?
  • The video/audio encoding pipelines processing content to be playable on all supported devices — from smartphones, to smart TVs, to video game consoles.
  • Servers with Unified Streaming Platform packaging and encrypting content so that content is streamable with compliant DRM protection.
  • We study current and next-gen codec implementations like HEVC/HEIC, and AV1 to find the optimal set up for encoding tools to improve quality and speed.
  • We experiment with different content-based encoding approaches such as per-Title and per-Scene encoding.
  • Last but not least, we analyze the effects of all our changes on playback’s quality of experience, and suggest new ways to measure and improve it.

Basically, working with video is our daily bread.