Use Azure Media Encoder Standard to auto-generate a bitrate ladder


This article shows how to use Media Encoder Standard (MES) to auto-generate a bitrate ladder (bitrate-resolution pairs) based on the input resolution and bitrate. The auto-generated preset will never exceed the input resolution and bitrate. For example, if the input is 720p at 3 Mbps, output remains 720p at best, and will start at rates lower than 3 Mbps.

Encoding for Streaming Only

If your intent is to encode your source video only for streaming, then you should use the "Adaptive Streaming" preset when creating an encoding task. When using the Adaptive Streaming preset, the MES encoder will intelligently cap a bitrate ladder. However, you will not be able to control the encoding costs, since the service determines how many layers to use and at what resolution. You can see examples of output layers produced by MES as a result of encoding with the Adaptive Streaming preset at the end of this article. The output Asset contains MP4 files where audio and video is not interleaved.

Encoding for Streaming and Progressive Download

If your intent is to encode your source video for streaming as well as to produce MP4 files for progressive download, then you should use the "Content Adaptive Multiple Bitrate MP4" preset when creating an encoding task. When using the Content Adaptive Multiple Bitrate MP4 preset, the MES encoder applies the same encoding logic as above, but now the output asset will contain MP4 files where audio and video is interleaved. You can use one of these MP4 files (for example, the highest bitrate version) as a progressive download file.

Encoding with Media Services .NET SDK

The following code example uses Media Services .NET SDK to perform the following tasks:

  • Create an encoding job.
  • Get a reference to the Media Encoder Standard encoder.
  • Add an encoding task to the job and specify to use the Adaptive Streaming preset.
  • Create an output asset that contains the encoded asset.
  • Add an event handler to check the job progress.
  • Submit the job.

Create and configure a Visual Studio project

Set up your development environment and populate the app.config file with connection information, as described in Media Services development with .NET.


using System;
using System.Configuration;
using System.Linq;
using Microsoft.WindowsAzure.MediaServices.Client;
using System.Threading;

namespace AdaptiveStreamingMESPresest
    class Program
        // Read values from the App.config file.
        private static readonly string _AADTenantDomain =
        private static readonly string _RESTAPIEndpoint =
        private static readonly string _AMSClientId =
        private static readonly string _AMSClientSecret =

        // Field for service context.
        private static CloudMediaContext _context = null;

        static void Main(string[] args)
            AzureAdTokenCredentials tokenCredentials =
                new AzureAdTokenCredentials(_AADTenantDomain,
                    new AzureAdClientSymmetricKey(_AMSClientId, _AMSClientSecret),

            var tokenProvider = new AzureAdTokenProvider(tokenCredentials);

            _context = new CloudMediaContext(new Uri(_RESTAPIEndpoint), tokenProvider);

            // Get an uploaded asset.
            var asset = _context.Assets.FirstOrDefault();

            // Encode and generate the output using the "Adaptive Streaming" preset.


        static public IAsset EncodeToAdaptiveBitrateMP4Set(IAsset asset)
            // Declare a new job.
            IJob job = _context.Jobs.Create("Media Encoder Standard Job");

            // Get a media processor reference, and pass to it the name of the 
            // processor to use for the specific task.
            IMediaProcessor processor = GetLatestMediaProcessorByName("Media Encoder Standard");

            // Create a task
            ITask task = job.Tasks.AddNew("Media Encoder Standard encoding task",
            "Adaptive Streaming",

            // Specify the input asset to be encoded.
            // Add an output asset to contain the results of the job. 
            // This output is specified as AssetCreationOptions.None, which 
            // means the output asset is not encrypted. 
            task.OutputAssets.AddNew("Output asset",

            job.StateChanged += new EventHandler<JobStateChangedEventArgs>(JobStateChanged);

            return job.OutputMediaAssets[0];
        private static void JobStateChanged(object sender, JobStateChangedEventArgs e)
            Console.WriteLine("Job state changed event:");
            Console.WriteLine("  Previous state: " + e.PreviousState);
            Console.WriteLine("  Current state: " + e.CurrentState);
            switch (e.CurrentState)
                case JobState.Finished:
                    Console.WriteLine("Job is finished. Please wait while local tasks or downloads complete...");
                case JobState.Canceling:
                case JobState.Queued:
                case JobState.Scheduled:
                case JobState.Processing:
                    Console.WriteLine("Please wait...\n");
                case JobState.Canceled:
                case JobState.Error:

                    // Cast sender as a job.
                    IJob job = (IJob)sender;

                    // Display or log error details as needed.
        private static IMediaProcessor GetLatestMediaProcessorByName(string mediaProcessorName)
            var processor = _context.MediaProcessors.Where(p => p.Name == mediaProcessorName).
            ToList().OrderBy(p => new Version(p.Version)).LastOrDefault();

            if (processor == null)
                throw new ArgumentException(string.Format("Unknown media processor", mediaProcessorName));

            return processor;


This section shows three examples of output layers produced by MES as a result of encoding with the Adaptive Streaming preset.

Example 1

Source with height "1080" and framerate "29.970" produces 6 video layers:

Layer Height Width Bitrate(kbps)
1 1080 1920 6780
2 720 1280 3520
3 540 960 2210
4 360 640 1150
5 270 480 720
6 180 320 380

Example 2

Source with height "720" and framerate "23.970" produces 5 video layers:

Layer Height Width Bitrate(kbps)
1 720 1280 2940
2 540 960 1850
3 360 640 960
4 270 480 600
5 180 320 320

Example 3

Source with height "360" and framerate "29.970" produces 3 video layers:

Layer Height Width Bitrate(kbps)
1 360 640 700
2 270 480 440
3 180 320 230

Media Services learning paths

Media Services v3 (latest)

Check out the latest version of Azure Media Services!

Media Services v2 (legacy)

Provide feedback

Use the User Voice forum to provide feedback and make suggestions on how to improve Azure Media Services. You also can go directly to one of the following categories:

See Also

Media Services Encoding Overview