The Livepeer Media Server is an open source media server that is capable of taking input streams of live video and audio and transcoding them into alternate encodings, transrating it into different bitrates, and transmuxing it into different delivery formats. This is necessary so that a video, recorded in one format and bitrate, can now reach every screen on every device on every platform, each of which may have their own requirements about format and bandwidth restrictions.
There is no shortage of media server solutions on the market, however most are proprietary, developed and sold by a single company, are not open source, and come with high costs or licensing fees. The open source solutions are limited, and are typically incomplete, out of date, lack support, or require you to upgrade to proprietary service packages in order to receive the full set of features.
Since the Livepeer Media Server is a core component of an economically efficient protocol and network, its development is financed by the protocol itself. This allows it to be fully open source and transparent, and as a result benefits from community in the form of peer review, open discussion around features requests and bugs, and community driven contribution.
The media server can be used as a standalone component in any media streaming application that anyone wishes to build using it, however it is truly powerful as a tool that is running within the Livepeer Network.