Video Encoding: Everything You Should Know
Video streaming technology has undergone massive changes in the past couple of decades. Having moved from motion pictures, today, video encoding extremely improved content delivery via the Internet. Due to this technology, live and VOD streaming is possible.
Let’s talk about encoding and related processes as a huge part of IPTV solutions for business.
What is Video Encoding?
Video encoding is the process of converting RAW video files captured from a video camera to digital files. It is done so that the file is stored as a video instead of multiple images. An IPTV video encoder prepares a video for transfer via the Internet.
Before the encoding process takes place, a video file is uncompressed, which means that it is so large that it can never fit on the DVD or Blu-Ray disk. Moreover, it cannot be delivered via the user’s Internet connection.
Another problem is that viewers have different devices and Internet connection conditions. So, to ensure a great viewing experience for each of them, you need to have many variants of a video. The video should have different resolutions and compression rates to meet the requirements of a receiving device. An encoder compresses large video files into chunks that are more manageable.
It is otherwise called encoding for adaptive bitrate. To make it clear, adaptive bitrate streaming is delivering an appropriate rendition of a video to a viewer’s device based on network conditions.
When your internet signal is good, the video quality is high. And when the signal drops, the video quality is lowered. It is adaptive bitrate streaming working.
What is Video Compression?
Video compression is when the encoder reduces the size of a video file. It decides what frames of the video are necessary and which can be removed.
Video compression uses video encoding algorithms known as codecs. Codec stands for coder and decoder (co + dec). There are many of them, as different devices support different streaming codecs. The most common is H.264 video codec – almost every device maintains it. However, there are other codecs, such as HEVC and VP9.
- 264/AVC is the most widely adopted codec suitable for low-latency streaming. It is compatible with any device. However, it doesn’t support 4K and higher resolutions.
- 265/HEVC was designed to create smaller files, decrease bandwidth, maintain 8K resolutions, and improve compression. It is excellent for premium content.
- VP9 has a predecessor known as VP8. But VP9 is faster and provides better quality encoding and decoding. It is also more advanced than H.264 but less compatible.
Encoding and Transcoding: the Difference
The terms encoding and transcoding are often used interchangeably. However, these processes are not quite similar.
To clarify, encoding refers to the process of compressing a RAW video file, while transcoding is creating multiple versions of that video in different sizes. For example, you don’t need to stream a 4K quality video to a smartphone, and a Smart TV will require such quality, in turn.
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To retain customers on your platform, you need to take some measures. Sometimes it means obtaining particular equipment, such as an encoder/transcoder, which ensures adaptive bitrate streaming for your viewers.
Encoder will compress a video file into smaller chunks more suitable for delivery via the Internet. And the transcoder is necessary for creating multiple copies of a file so that each device can play the receiving video. As a result, your videos can be watched on multiple devices in the highest quality possible.