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 What Is Transcoding and Why Is It Important for Streaming? (Replace)
June 26, 2022

What Is Transcoding and Why Is It Important for Streaming? (Replace)

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Should you’re fascinated by streaming media, you in all probability fall into considered one of two camps: Both you already know one thing about transcoding, otherwise you’re questioning why you retain listening to about it. On this weblog, we’ll clarify what transcoding is (and isn’t), in addition to why a transcoder could be essential in your streaming success — particularly if you wish to ship adaptive streams to any machine.



So, What Is Transcoding?

First, the phrase transcoding is often used as an umbrella time period that covers a number of digital media duties:

  • Transcoding, at a excessive degree, is taking already compressed (or encoded) content material; decompressing (decoding) it; after which someway altering and recompressing it. For instance, you would possibly change the audio and/or video format (codec) from one to a different, equivalent to changing from an MPEG2 supply (generally utilized in broadcast tv) to H.264 video and AAC audio (the preferred codecs for streaming). Different fundamental duties may embrace including watermarks, logos, or different graphics to your video.
  • Transrating refers particularly to altering bitrates, equivalent to taking a 4K video enter stream at 13 Mbps and changing it into a number of lower-bitrate streams (also called renditions): HD at 6Mbps, or different renditions at 3 Mbps, 1.8 Mbps, 1 Mbps, 600 kbps, and many others.
  • Transsizing refers particularly to resizing the video body, say, from a decision of 3840×2160 (4K UHD) all the way down to 1920×1080 (1080p) or 1280×720 (720p).

So, while you say “transcoding,” you could be referring to any mixture of the above duties — and usually are.

This video conversion course of is computationally intensive, so transcoding often requires highly effective {hardware} assets, together with quicker CPUs or graphics acceleration capabilities. Transcoding is completed utilizing a stay transcoder — which is able to doubtless take the type of a streaming server or cloud-based streaming platform.

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What Transcoding Is Not

Transcoding shouldn’t be confused with transmuxing, which may also be known as repackagingpacketizing, or rewrapping. Transmuxing is while you take compressed audio and video and — with out altering the precise audio or video content material — (re)bundle it into totally different supply codecs.

For instance, you might need H.264/AAC content material, and by altering the container it’s packaged in, you’ll be able to ship it as HTTP Stay Streaming (HLS) or Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH). The computational overhead for transmuxing is far smaller than for transcoding.


When Is Transcoding Important? 

Merely put: Transcoding is essential while you need your content material to succeed in extra finish customers.

For instance, let’s say you need to do a stay broadcast utilizing a digicam and encoder. You could be compressing your content material with an RTMP encoder and choose the H.264 video codec at 1080p.

This must be delivered to on-line viewers. However in case you try to stream it instantly, you’ll have a couple of issues. First, viewers with out ample bandwidth aren’t going to have the ability to view the stream. Their gamers shall be buffering always as they await packets of that 1080p video to reach. Secondly, the RTMP protocol is now not broadly supported for playback. Apple’s HLS is rather more broadly used. With out transcoding and transmuxing the video, you’ll exclude virtually anybody with slower information speeds, tablets, cellphones, and linked TV units.

Utilizing a transcoder software program or service, you’ll be able to concurrently create a set of time-aligned video streams, every with a unique bitrate and body measurement, whereas changing the codecs and protocols to succeed in further viewers. This set of internet-friendly streams can then be packaged into a number of adaptive streaming codecs (e.g., HLS), permitting playback on virtually any display on the planet.

One other typical instance is broadcasting stay streams utilizing an IP digicam, as could be the case with surveillance cameras and visitors cams. Once more, to succeed in the most important variety of viewers with the very best high quality allowed by their bandwidth and units, you’d need to help adaptive streaming. You’d ship one HD H.264/AAC stream to your transcoder (usually positioned on a server picture within the cloud), which in flip would create a number of H.264/AAC renditions at totally different bitrates and resolutions. Then you definately’d have your media server (which could be the identical server as your transcoder) or streaming service bundle these renditions into a number of adaptive streaming codecs earlier than delivering them to finish customers.


Advantages of Utilizing a Transcoder for Stay Streaming

Video transcoding advantages publishers and viewers by optimizing content material for every stage of the streaming lifecycle.

On the publishing facet, utilizing a transcoder resolves:

  • Excessive prices and complexity related to encoding a number of totally different decision and bitrate choices.
  • Restricted playback capabilities primarily based on the codecs, protocols, and configurations obtainable within the encoder.
  • Incapability to leverage next-generation applied sciences and hybrid workflows.

On the viewer facet, utilizing a transcoder resolves:

  • Buffering because of low-bandwidth connections.
  • Incompatibility because of missing format help.
  • Playback failure because of insufficient machine help for the decision streamed.
  • Low-quality supply to end-users with higher connectivity and determination capabilities than that of the stream delivered.


Deciding Between a Cloud vs. Software program Transcoder

Though many streaming content material distributors use a cloud transcoding resolution to transform their stay streams, others would possibly select to make use of transcoder software program. Weighing the choices typically comes all the way down to whether or not they’re deploying their streaming infrastructure on premises or within the cloud. 

A cloud-based transcoder affords a number of advantages, together with simplicity, safety, dependable scaling, and a considerable discount in administration time. That stated, some streaming use circumstances leverage a big non-public community to make sure safety — wherein case a software program transcoder could be a greater match.


How Can Wowza Assist With Transcoding?

Wowza supplies strong stay transcoding software program capabilities to energy any workflow. With Wowza Streaming EngineTM media server software program, you’ll be able to take full management of your workflow by deploying downloadable software program onto an on-premises or cloud server. Should you don’t need to handle and configure your personal server, you should use the Wowza Streaming Cloud service — a totally managed stay streaming resolution that may transcode and ship your content material globally to audiences of any measurement.



4K Transcoding

For anybody trying to help 4K streaming, Wowza’s merchandise additionally match the invoice. Wowza Streaming Cloud and Wowza Streaming Engine can each transcode 4K content material, however you’ll need to contemplate the convenience of efficiency tuning. Whereas Streaming Cloud will robotically configure to fulfill the calls for of 4K as soon as UHD streaming has been chosen, Streaming Engine have to be configured manually.

You’ll additionally want a digicam and encoder able to producing a supply video that’s 3840 x 2160 pixels, in addition to optimization throughout your complete workflow. 4K streaming is a larger useful resource load at each step, so there’s lots to think about:

  • Encoding: The supply stream and codecs used have to be optimized for 4K streaming.
  • First-Mile Contribution: The community should bear the load of a high-bitrate stream.
  • Transcoding: For software program transcoders deployed on premises, CPU/GPU optimization and ample computing assets are required to help the big quantities of information. You’ll additionally need to create adaptive bitrate (ABR) renditions for viewers with out 4k capabilities.
  • Distribution: The community will once more have to bear a high-bitrate stream, and content material supply community (CDN) prices will improve with 4K distribution.
  • Playback: 4K streaming requires extra assets from the participant consumer (be it a pc or cell machine) and the viewer’s community. Adaptive bitrate streaming helps alleviate a few of these dynamics by solely serving up a 4K stream when the end-user’s machine can deal with it.



Transcoding is a vital step when streaming to quite a lot of end-user units. Fortunately, there are quite a few stay transcoding workflows supported in each Wowza Streaming Engine and Wowza Streaming Cloud. Whether or not you’re out there for a cloud transcoder, software program transcoder, or 4K transcoding resolution, we’ve bought you lined.

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Further Assets:

  • The Full Information to Stay Streaming
  • Video Codecs and Encoding
  • Streaming Protocols
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