Announcing a major update to our Amazon S3 media delivery and protection plugin for WordPress…S3 Media Maestro version 4.0 has arrived and brings functionality enhancements including multi-language closed captioning, video transcoding, and more!
Do you deliver media or downloadable files to paying customers through a membership site, online course, or your own e-commerce store?
Did you put a lot of time, effort, expertise, or all three into creating that content?
Would you like to ensure that you get paid for that investment of your time, effort, and expertise?
Do you want to ensure a flawless media playback experience for your valuable paying customers?
Well, we have great news for you…S3 Media Maestro version 4.0 is finally here, offering a simple, yet complete, tool for managing, delivering, and storing your media with WordPress.
If you’re not familiar with our S3 Media Maestro plugin, it’s designed to allow you to store media on Amazon Web Services’ robust and cost-effective S3 cloud storage platform, embed that media on pages or posts within your WordPress site, and also prevent the sharing of links to that media (or downloadable files) between paying customers and non-authorized users (ie. folks who didn’t pay to access it).
Once S3 Media Maestro is installed and activated on your WordPress site, using it is as simple as three easy steps…
- Set up a free Amazon Web Services account (if you don’t already have one)
- Configure S3 Media Maestro to access and manage your media files on the S3 platform
- Embed your media in the appropriate page(s) using the S3 Media Maestro block in the WordPress Editor
After that, the plugin will automatically creating unique expiring and encrypted links each time a paying customer accesses your media. If they attempt to share the link to your media with someone else, the link won’t work.
Pretty slick, right?
We’ve been using S3 to store our own online course videos since 2010 and still do because it’s an extremely powerful and reliable cloud storage platform (meaning we can ensure a great media playback experience worldwide) and it’s also very cost-effective.
Storing and delivering hundreds of gigabytes of video to viewers all around the globe can get expensive very quickly, but with S3 you’re able to really scale up your membership or online course business without racking up a massive monthly bill.
(NOTE: If you’d like to learn more about how you can estimate what a typical monthly S3 bill might look like for your site, we’ve created a comprehensive guide to using their “less-than-crystal-clear” pricing calculator.)
But anyone who’s used one of the hundreds of services that Amazon offers through its AWS platform will attest, the platform was designed with developers in mind. The user console can be intimidating and difficult to navigate.
S3 Media Maestro not only allows you to embed S3-hosted media and protect that content, but it also allows you to upload and manage your media directly from WordPress without relying on the cumbersome AWS console. It’s just like using the WordPress Media Library, but instead of the media being stored on and delivered from the same server as your website (never a good idea!), the media is uploaded to and accessed from S3.
Even slicker, isn’t it?
Since launching S3 Media Maestro in 2012, we’ve logged hundreds of feature requests and suggestions from our incredible users. And just as with all of our plugins, we’ve done our best to continually improve the plugin by prioritizing and including as many of these as we can in our updates.
And S3 Media Maestro Version 4.0 delivers some of the most highly-requested features that our users have been asking for!
If we had to summarize the focus of this update in a sentence, it might read something like…
Our customers who deliver membership site or online course content often have customers all around the world and those customers might be accessing content from several different devices depending on what’s most convenient for them at the moment.
This means that ensuring a flawless playback experience can be difficult!
When users are sitting down at their desk with a large LCD monitor and a lightning-fast internet connection, you might want them to be able to watch video in the highest quality possible. But when they’re on the go and accessing your videos from a mobile phone over a cellular data network, you don’t want them to have to sit and wait forever before they can download and watch the 1080p high-definition version that they can easily access from their home or office.
With S3 Media Maestro Version 4.0, you can now take advantage of built-in, automated video transcoding so your users can easily select the resolution which is best suited for their internet connection and device!
When embedding your S3-hosted media using S3 Media Maestro, you’ll simply check each video resolution that you’d like to make available within your media player and the rest is taken care of for you. Your media file will remain on S3 at its original resolution, but it will also be converted into any other resolutions you specify and update the media player to display all of the available resolution options.
Now you can offer your customers a flawless playback experience no matter where they are or what device they’re watching from!
Want to see the transcoding feature in detail? Be sure to check out Ben’s video!
With customers of a membership site or online course singing up from all around the globe, another major priority is enhancing learning retention by catering to customers in their native language.
S3 Media Maestro Version 4.0 now allows you to upload closed captioning files in any language and make those languages available for selection in the media player. This can include multiple languages within the same video, so if you have customers in different locations you can allow users to select the language they’re most comfortable with.
As the cost of transcribing video for closed caption files has plummeted in recent years, this is a really inexpensive way to step up your media delivery experience. There are a number of web-based apps, such as Rev, which can create your subtitle files for around $1 per minute of video, and for heavier users, there are desktop options such as Telestream’s MacCaption or CaptionMaker which could save you money in the long-run.
Want to see the closed captioning feature in detail? Be sure to check out Ben’s video!
S3 Media Maestro has been “integrated” with Amazon Web Services’ CloudFront CDN (content delivery network) for several versions now, however, Version 4.0 completely retools and simplifies the process for using the CloudFront CDN from within the WordPress admin dashboard.
If you’re not familiar with CloudFront or even what a CDN is, you can take a glance at our original post announcing S3 Media Maestro Version 2.0 which discusses what CloudFront is, how it works, and how it can help you as a user of S3 Media Maestro.
S3 Media Maestro Version 4.0 now allows you to create CloudFront distributions right from within WordPress. It also allows you to navigate through distributions to select the media file you want to embed with S3/CloudFront.
Prior to this version, distributions needed to be manually created in the AWS console, while you’d also need to retrieve a file name from your CloudFront distribution in the AWS console and put that into S3 Media Maestro’s shortcode builder.
We just didn’t think that process was much fun!
Want to see the CloudFront feature in detail? Be sure to check out Ben’s video!
If you haven't yet purchased a license for S3 Media Maestro and would like to take advantage of all of this new functionality as well as additional updates we have planned for the coming months...
Now is the time!
As of 11:59PM EDT on Wednesday, September 30th the price of S3 Media Maestro will be increasing.
This is your chance to lock in your license at the current price level before it goes up for good, so please don't wait.
We will be unable to honor the current pricing tiers after September 30th.