When Covid-19 hit the world, people thought that it would slow down the video industry considerably, with no new content being produced. But livestreaming caught on and proved this theory wrong. Livestreaming requires a bunch of equipment, including lights and a camera, plus editing and encoding software.
You can find hardware, as well as online stream encoders, and each has its own utility. It's up to you to decide which encoder is the best for your livestreams.
What is Video Encoding?
Video files are large in size. Encoding helps compress these large files, making them lighter for uploading on the internet. As your camera records your video, your encoder reads the signal from the camera sensor. This signal is then converted into audio and video codecs. The encoder then reads this compressed data and generates a new format that can be uploaded online and streamed.
Hardware Encoder vs. Software Encoder
You can either use a hardware encoder or a software encoder for your livestreaming.
What is a Hardware Encoder?
A hardware encoder uses an actual box to read the audio and video information from your camera. The encoder connects to the internet or the transmitter directly and produces the appropriate format for streaming.
Some of the areas where hardware encoders are more popular are cable studios and live broadcasts on the television. These encoders operate well on the field with hotspot data and can easily incorporate fluctuations in the bandwidth.
What is Encoder Software?
Video encoder software performs the same functions as hardware encoders. The main difference is that instead of a physical device, the encoder is software that reads the data from a computer and compresses it into the appropriate format for streaming. The video source sends this data to a computer where software can read it.
Both software and hardware encoders have their own unique benefits. A software encoder allows the freedom to customize the bitrate and codecs, thereby increasing the video output quality. It's also cheaper. On the other hand, a hardware encoder is much faster as it's designed specifically for the purpose of encoding, making the process hassle-free and streamlined.
Best Live Video Encoder Software
The right encoding software and the right streaming platform will set you up for success. We've shortlisted some of the best encoding software to choose from.
Telestream's Wirecast is one of the best video encoding software for Windows. It consists of an intuitive interface and default settings for the best streaming experience. There is a bit of a learning curve involved, but once you get used to it, it's easy to stream very large files.
Different Wirecast packages come in different price ranges. Obtaining access to all functionalities can be a little pricey, but it's worth the cost. When plugged in with the right streaming platform like MAZ, you will get your return on investment in no time.
Open Broadcaster Studio (OBS)
OBS is an open-source encoding software, which means it's free. One can get a livestream up and running in a matter of minutes on a laptop with OBS, even if they're new to it. The software is available for all popular operating systems -- Linux, Mac, and Windows.
The biggest advantages with OBS are the availability of numerous plug-ins and the open-source community support. If you're stuck at any point, just reach out to the community for a quick resolution.
An IP Camera is not a software encoder but a type of camera that doesn't require external encoding in order to stream. An encoder is built-in that compresses the videos automatically. In addition, IP cameras also provide additional security.
You have your encoding software, and you're one step closer to livestreaming. Now you need to find a streaming platform that provides all the required functionality and fits your budget, and you're set!
Looking for the right streaming platform? Contact us here.