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Table of contents
How Elemental MediaLive works
AWS Elemental MediaLive Inputs
AWS Elemental MediaLive Channels
Related services
Accessing AWS Elemental MediaLive
AWS Elemental MediaLive feature rules and limits
What is Elemental MediaLive?
What is AWS Elemental Media connect?
What is AWS MediaPackage?
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

AWS Elemental MediaLive

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AWS Elemental Medialive is a cloud-based broadcast-grade video processing service with the power to deploy live channels within minutes. The service encodes video in real-time compressing live sources into high-quality streams for delivery to televisions and connected devices with high availability of advanced broadcast features. Pay-as-you-go pricing media live makes it easy to bring live events and 24/7 channels to consumers without costly investment in infrastructure media life also works with other AWS media services as a complete set of tools for reliable cloud-based media processing and delivery of live broadcasts and events.

How Elemental MediaLive works

A live streaming workflow that includes media live requires three systems:

  • A mediaLive channel, which consumes and transcodes source content.
  • One or more upstream systems that prepare the source content for MediaLive.
  • One or more downstream systems are the stopping place for the output that MediaLive produces.

To create an AWS MediaLive workflow, we can create one or more MediaLive inputs. The inputs have information about how MediaLive and the upstream system are connected. We can also create a MediaLive channel and attach the inputs to the channel.


                                                  Source: AWS

We have to start the channel to start processing the content. When the channel is running, it consumes the source content from the upstream system identified by the input. After that, the channel transcodes that video and creates output. MediaLive then sends the output to the specified downstream system.


The processing within AWS MediaLive takes place within one or two pipelines. If you set up the workflow so that the channel and inputs have two pipelines, both the pipeline will work independently of each other, but they will work to perform identical processing. Setting up with two pipelines provides flexibility within AWS MediaLive.

AWS Elemental MediaLive Inputs

An input has information about how the upstream system and the channel connect. The connection between the input and the upstream system can be a push or a pull. A push input has a MediaLive input security group connected with it. The input security group recognizes a range of IP addresses involving the upstream system's source addresses. The IP address in this range is allowed to push content to the input.

                                         Source: AWS 

AWS Elemental MediaLive Channels

A channel can have multiple inputs attached to it, but it only consumes source content from one input at a time. The channel consumes the source content, transcodes it, and packages it into output groups. Channel has one or more output groups. There are different types of output groups to handle the requirements of different downstream systems.

The output group includes one or more outputs. Each output contains a particular combination of encodes. The rules for combining encodes into outputs and combining encodes into outputs groups depend on the type of the output group.

                                          Source: AWS

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  • CDN: CDN stands for the content distribution network. It is a network of servers that is downstream of the origin server or packager. The content distribution network distributes the content from the origin server to dozens or hundreds of networked servers that serve the content to the viewing user. 
  • Channel: A AWS MediaLive channel consumes(ingests) and transcodes source content from the inputs attached to that channel and packages the new content among outputs.
  • Channel class: There are two types of channels:
  • Standard class: A channel with two processing pipelines belongs to the standard class.
  • Single-pipeline-class: A channel with one processing pipeline belongs to a single pipeline class.
  • Downstream system: It is a set of one or more servers positioned after MediaLive in the workflow.
  • Encode: There are three encoding types: audio, video, and caption. Each encodes the instructions for one audio stream, one video stream, and one caption track that the transcoding process will create.
  • Input: A AWS MediaLive input contains information illustrating how the upstream system and the MediaLive channel are connected.
  • Pipeline: In AWS MediaLive, one or two different and independent pipelines perform the processing within the input and the MediaLive channel.
  • Schedule: The source content usually consists of audio, video, captions, and metadata.
  • Upstream system: It is a system that is in front of MediaLive in the workflow and that carries the source content.

Related services

  • Amazon cloudwatch: It is a monitoring service for AWS cloud resources and the applications that we run on AWS. Amazon cloudwatch is used to track MediaLive events about the progress of active channels and to view matrics about your resources. 
  • AWS Identity and Access Management: It is a web service that helps you ensure secure access to AWS resources for your user.IAM is used to control who can use your AWS resources and in what ways and what resources users can use.
  • AWS Elemental MediaPackage: In the nick of time, video packaging and origination service run in the AWS cloud. It is used to package content that MediaLive has encoded.
  • Amazon simple storage services: It is a storage for the internet. Amazon s3 can be used to store assets that MediaLive recovers and uses when transcoding and as a destination for output from MediaLive.
  • Amazon Virtual Private Cloud allows you to set up a virtual private network within the AWS cloud. 
  • AWS Elemental MediaConnect: A transport service for live video runs in the AWS cloud.

Accessing AWS Elemental MediaLive

Different methods in which you can access AWS Elemental MediaLive are as follows:

  • AWS Management Console: The methods throughout this guide explain how to use the AWS Management Console to carry out tasks for AWS Elemental MediaLive.
  • AWS SDKs: You can use an SDK to access AWS Elemental MediaLive if you use a programming language that AWS provides SDK for. It simplifies authentication, combines effortlessly with your development environment, and provides smooth access to AWS Elemental Medialive commands.
  • AWS Elemental MediaLive API: If you are using the programming language for which SDK is not available, you can see AWS Elemental MediaLive API for information about API actions.

AWS Elemental MediaLive feature rules and limits

  • Limits for inputs: 
  1. Feature - Input number, push inputs

            Rule: You can bind(attach) 0 to 2 push inputs to a channel.

      2.   Feature - Input number, pull inputs

Rule: You can bind up to 20 inputs to a channel. After counting the push inputs, the remaining can be pulled inputs.

      3.   Feature - Input number, Elemental Link inputs

Rule: You can bind up to 2 Elemental link inputs to a channel. These links are push inputs; thus, each counts towards your maximum no. of push inputs in the channel.

      4.   Feature - Input types- for dynamic inputs

Rule: As dynamic inputs, only MP4 and Transport stream file inputs stored in Amazon S3 or AWS Elemental Mediastore can be set up.

      5.   Feature - Input-audio and captions selectors

          Rule - It can add a maximum of 32 audio and captions selectors in one channel

      6.   Feature - Input charges

          Rule: Input from an AWS Elemental Link UHD device is charged at one rate.


  • Limits for outputs:

      1.   Feature - Output, types

           Rule: It should have one archive output group in a channel.

      2.   Feature - Output encodes, frame capture.

 Rule: For frame capture encodes, it should have a maximum of 3 frame capture encodes in a channel. Each frame capture encodes in an HLS output group, both count towards this limit.

      3.   Feature - Output - audio encodes

           Rule: It can have a maximum of 33 audio encodes in one channel.

  • Limits for other features
  1. Feature - Image Overlays

Rule: Maximum of 8 different overlays can be active at one time in a channel. In other words, the video can show up to 8 different overlays simultaneously.

      2.   Feature - Motion graphic overlay

          Rule: Maximum of 1 motion graphic overlay can be active at one time in a channel.

      3.   Feature - Multiplexes, channels in a multiplex

Rule: Each channel can contain only 1 output group of type multiplex. Each channel is single-use.

      4.   Feature - Multiplexes, programs in a multiplex

Rule: Each multiplex can have a maximum of 20 programs. Each program in a multiplex is single-use.


What is Elemental MediaLive?

It is a broadcast-grade live video processing service that lets you create high-quality video for delivery to broadcast tv and internet-connected multiscreen devices.

What is AWS Elemental Media connect?

It is a high-quality transport service for live video streaming.

What is AWS MediaPackage?

It is a video delivery service. It lets video providers securely and reliably distribute streaming video at scale.


In this article, we discussed AWS Elemental MediaLive, how it works, its terminology, related services, how to access AWS Elemental MediaLive, and its features, rules, and limitations.

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