I have this 1 GB video in high resolution that I’ve uploaded to my Amazon S3 account in order to play it in my site.

The video is an online class with the professor in video, talking and some text displayed into the screen.

I want to use our own site to play the video, but I’m afraid that it is so big, it will take forever to load into each student computer.

Is there a way to solve this? If I lower the resolution, the text inside the video won’t get even read!

  • 2
    Streaming the video is an option, but I don't know if that can be done on Amazon. Is the video compressed using MP4? May 4, 2014 at 10:13
  • Another idea is: Why not use Brightcove? Or YouTube? Or even Vimeo? Hosting video on your own is never easy or cheap compared to using a 3rd party service. May 5, 2014 at 1:54
  • @TeroKilkanen You can stream video on Amazon via files served on CloudFront. S3 is simply storage & nothing else. CloudFront is a CDN built for speedy content delivery. May 5, 2014 at 2:08
  • Wow, you must have a pretty good bandwidth deal! And your users aswell.
    – Martijn
    May 5, 2014 at 8:49

2 Answers 2


First, you say the video is 1GB in size, but are you sure it is properly encoded for online viewing? What is the running time of the video? I would recommend using a tool like Handbrake to ensure your video is encoded & compressed appropriately for downloading.

Next, Amazon S3 is not fast. It is simply Amazon’s “Simple Storage Service” which is exactly what the title says: It’s basically cheap network accessible data storage offered by Amazon in the “cloud.”

If you want to optimize download streaming, then you should use Amazon’s CDN service known as Amazon Cloudfront. The way it works is you basically a attach an origin source—which can be an S3 bucket or another server—and then connected it to CloudFront. Then Amazon’s CloudFront does the heavy lifting of detecting where your visitors are coming from & will serve content to them based on their geographic location.

You can read up more about the differences between Amazon S3 & Amazon CloudFront here and here as well as this thread on StackOverflow. The best explanation comes from Bucket Explorer: Comparison between Amazon S3 and Amazon CloudFront:

Amazon S3 provides a storage service on the internet while Amazon CloudFront is a web service for content delivery. Amazon S3 uses its own global network of websites while Amazon CloudFront delivers your content through a worldwide network of edge locations.

Also, of note for streaming media such as video:

  • S3 allows download first and then view the object.
  • CloudFront allows download as well as streaming access to view the object.

The issue is not with hosting the video online at all at Amazon S3. The issue is of the speed of the Internet connection on the side of viewers who want to watch it and download it.

Amazon's backbone to the internet is very fast for streaming, downloading, and using their services. The issue is if you have slow internet, you have slow internet. You can't help that part of it sadly.

  • And if the video is encoded badly, then how do you know that people will view it? Also, Amazon S3 is not “very fast for streaming”. It is simply storage based on your geographical location. It is not a CDN & is not appropriate for speed in any way. May 5, 2014 at 1:34

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