With all the changes taking place in the digital recording frontier, what are the criteria that a video producer should assess for selecting the best video encoding solution today? This is the most common question that is in the mind of producers who want to purchase a new or upgrade to the latest video encoding technology.
A quality video encoding solution is essential if you want the best quality output of the video. Without quality video encoding software, your video will not project the best on HD TVs and cinema screens. Here we will provide you information about different factors that you should assess before selecting a video encoding solution.
Software-only Encoding Solution: An Overview
Latest software based digital encoding solution use built-in FireWire or USB connectors on PC systems, smartphones and tablets. Analogue software encoding solution, on the other hand, uses analog-to-Fire Wire or analog-to-USB convertors. FireWire is the standard connector for tape based and MiniDV HD Video cameras. Both Windows and Mac operating systems recognize FireWire cameras.
With the popularity of tapeless HD cameras, FireWire connectors are now replaced by USB 2.0, which provides similar bandwidth to the FireWire connector i.e. 400 Mbps. And with Apple’s decision to eliminate FireWire from their latest MacBook, it’s just a matter of time before USB 2.0 will become the mainstream connector for software encoding solution.
In case of cloud based encoding software solution, you should know that the content of the camera is encoded at 17 Mbps to 25 Mbps, which is about 10 times the average sustained bandwidth of DSL, cable and other broadband internet service providers. That is why the content from the camera needs to be encoded from a baseband video. The video needs to be converted into an analog form for encoding and then transcoded to another format before streaming it to the cloud server. This reduces the bandwidth required to stream the video, while maintaining the same codec used in the camera.
A number of software based transcoders are available in the market that works best when implemented in a SAS (software as a service) or cloud environment. Some software based transcoders pre-encode the video based on particular rules such as bit rate, popularity and other key factors. With development in video recording technology, the use of file-based transcoders for caching will become the core that will provide integrated caching as well as server side transcoding as a part of streamlined service.
Hardware Encoding Solution
With increased demand of robust video encoding and transcoding solution, the shift towards hardware based encoding solution is gaining momentum. A hardware video encoding solution consists of a single purpose computer that contains the required software and hardware for real time encoding and transcoding of video.
The hardware video encoding solution is divided into two parts:
- portable systems
- rack-mounted systems.
Portable hardware encoding solution consists of high quality portable streaming audio and video capture stations. These systems come with integrated monitors that eliminate the need for a separate monitor to verify the captured video. Examples of portable hardware video encoding solution include ViewCast GoStream SURF and Digital Rapids TouchStream, the former of which requires purchasing a separate monitor. Both of the portable hardware encoding solution offer on-site live streaming of events such as remote news, sports, concert, and other live-encoding situations.
Rack mounted hardware encoding solution is preferable when analog cameras with coaxial cable are running to a control room. It allows connection of two to six or more analog cameras that are managed from a rack placed in central location. The rack allows different encoder blades to be mounted and therefore offers high density, flexible and expandable video encoding solution.
In the end, we can say that the number of choices is growing rapidly regarding video encoders, transcoders as well as hardware cards and appliances used for video encoding. Your primary needs and requirements will determine the kind of encoder you can choose for encoding the videos.
Be sure to stay tuned, as we update you about additional options regarding video encoding solutions as they become trendy and popular among video producers.