Cloudflare Stream makes it easy (and cheap) for developers to work with video

Cloudflare Stream makes it easy (and cheap) for developers to work with video

Cloudflare has announced the general availability of Cloudflare Stream, its streaming video service, almost one year after it first launched in a limited beta.

In a nutshell, Cloudflare Stream makes it easy for developers to insert video into their websites and applications without having to deal with existing players — like Vimeo, Facebook, and YouTube.

Previously, if a developer wanted to roll their own video platform, they’d have to build an entire infrastructure capable of handling encoding, content delivery, and playback. This is no small task, and can explain why there are so few video startups, despite the massive popularity of video as a content format.

Cloudflare Stream essentially bundles the aforementioned moving parts into a single product, which can be branded and turned into something bespoke to that particular website or application.

Crucially, it allows developers to have a level of control they otherwise wouldn’t get with the existing video giants.

For example, developers will be able to choose what content gets monetized with adverts. Another bonus is they won’t be at the mercy of content policing systems that often act arbitrarily, and can seldom be appealed.

Instead of charging by data transferred or taking a cut of advertising revenue, Cloudflare uses a per-minute pricing model for Cloudflare Stream.

The base product sees customers charged $1 per thousand minutes viewed, with discounts for sites that stream higher volumes of video.

Sites that use Cloudflare’s infrastructure to store their video content pay $5 per thousand minutes of video stored. The company doesn’t charge extra for encoding, bandwidth, or player licensing fees.

Cloudflare reckons that sites using legacy video providers can halve their costs by moving to Stream. In a statement, Dane Knecht, Head of Product Strategy at Cloudflare, said:

“Stream was designed to be the high-quality, low-cost solution in the video market. It’s typical for users of legacy video solutions to save more than half their costs by switching to Stream.”

During its beta period, the service has been used by some fairly well-known sites, like the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Rave Media.

However, it’ll be especially interesting to see how Cloudflare Stream is ultimately used by hobbyist developers.

In the same way Stripe made it easy for sites to accept card payments without any expertise in the complex and murky world of payment gateways, Cloudflare wants to do the same for video. And by the company’s own attestation, it’s pretty easy to use.

According to Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince, a company engineer used Cloudflare Stream to build a “full-featured video sharing service” over a weekend coding sprint.

Cloudflare Stream is available from today. If you’re tempted to give it a spin, you can read more and sign up here.

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