Today is a big day here at Sorenson Media -- and, we hope, for our customers.
Today marks the launch of new "Squeeze 9" -- our first major "point" release in nearly 1.5 years. A lot of creativity and good old-fashioned blood, sweat and, yes, even perhaps some tears went into this one. But, its inspiration -- and the overall new features and significant improvements -- came directly from our customers and their feedback over the past several months (which bubbled up via numerous channels, including our technical support team, sales team, proactive development outreach, user forums, conferences, briefings, press reviews and "bake offs," analyst and press calls, etc. -- you get the drill). The point is this -- the significant enhancements to Squeeze 9 were not developed in a vacuum. And, hopefully that shows.
Over the years, Squeeze has been the go-to video encoder/transcoder for video professionals everywhere. It is the most award-winning product in its class -- winning 6 consecutive coveted Streaming Media "Readers' Choice" awards. In new Squeeze 9, our over-arching goal is to streamline the video professional's overall workflow. To simplify. To take-away encoding/transcoding pain points. To make encoding/transcoding as invisible as possible so that our customers can get back to what matters most -- their craft of creating and distributing the most powerful, beautiful and impactful videos possible.
That is Squeeze 9's central theme. So, how did we do it? Here are some of Squeeze 9's headline features (and here is the official press release for added detail):
(1) A significantly streamlined, enhanced, and aesthetically pleasing overall UI and UX -- in fact, Squeeze 9 marks the first significant enhancements in this regard since Squeeze 6 over 3 years ago; BUT, importantly, we did not make changes simply for "change" sake; nor did we overhaul the user experience/workflow that our long-time users have come to love. Rather, the UI's fundamental structure has remained intact -- it is the execution of those elements that is different. That means the color palette is more pleasing. That means that the UX is more intuitive. It is clearer. We made these changes based on extensive usability testing and customer feedback. And, it seems like we got it right. Every single press briefing in advance of this launch reacted extremely favorably during live demos;
(2) New industry-first HTML5 optimized encoding to simplify multi-screen video. One HTML5 preset creates a single "squeezed" file that plays nicely, natively and intelligently in all major browsers. All of them. That means no more worries about iOS devices not playing nicely with Flash files, among other things. Again, this innovative significant feature was received extremely favorably in essentially all of our pre-launch press briefings and demos;
(3) Higher quality -- yes! Always a priority here for me and my team. We are (and always have been) known as being the best -- and we fully demand from ourselves that we retain that title. And, our users tell us that they can never have enough quality. So, we have now integrated new and better codec packs -- for H.264 and AVCHD 2.0 video -- we also have more optimized presets (encoding recipes) than ever before;
(4) Faster speed. Much! Our customers -- and video professionals in general -- can never have enough speed. After all, it ain't fun watching your workstation be tied up with encoding/transcoding when, instead, you could be creating great video (and billing out for your creative services). That's why being the fastest desktop software encoder is a top priority for us. So, Squeeze 9 is over 2X faster on average than Squeeze 8. And, according to outside industry expert Jan Ozer -- and his independent testing -- our encode times already were up to 6X faster than competitor products. That was even before further speed enhancements in Squeeze 9 (including integration of more efficient codecs);
(5) Closed captioning -- by popular demand. Our customers wanted it -- especially our broadcasting customers who absolutely need it. It is mandatory at this point. So, we have it -- integrated seamlessly into the overall workflow;
(6) New video stitching -- yet another critical requested feature. Now, Squeeze 9 enables users to easily add pre- and/or post-roll video to create a single stitched file; think about the marketing benefits here for the video professional. Now, as one use case, a branding pre-roll can be added at the front of the job;
(7) Better time-code options -- this too was important to many of our users. Among other things, now users can take full advantage of time codes from source files;
(8) Enhanced "Review & Approval" -- this is a feature that is a feature unique to Squeeze -- and which has become a central feature that customers have come to know and love. Now, this functionality is even snappier -- with lots of improvements under-the-hood. And, as always, an integrated Sorenson 360 account -- and 5 GB of storage -- come free of charge as part of the overall Squeeze 9 purchase price.
Lots lots more too. But, you get the gist.
And, we hope you agree that it is a helluva "gist" ...