Encoders For Live Streaming- Software And Hardware

When it comes to streaming solutions, it is important to understand which encoders for live streaming will be right for your broadcast.

Encoding is the process of compressing your video, audio, and files for easy uploading to the internet. 

If you want to broadcast your live streaming using video cameras in your setup then you need either a hardware or software encoder.

In this article, we will learn about encoders and later we will discuss the software and hardware encoders.

What Is Meant By An Encoders For Live Streaming?

Encoders are a key component required in live streaming. In the most basic terms, an encoder takes the images, sound, video, and graphics you wish to stream and turns them into data that can be sent across the internet for streaming across the devices.

Encoders for live streaming are devices that convert data from one format to another. They are essential for converting your audio and video feed to the streamable data. The most popular format for converting data is RTMP (Real Time Messaging Protocol). The encoder takes the necessary format and converts it into codecs through a compression or decompression process. They can be either hardware-based or software-based.

Now, we will take a closer look at the two different types of encoders: hardware and software.

Software Encoders

Software encoders for live streaming are the most common type of encoder in use today.

A software encoder requires a computer to encode programs to run on various devices. In setup, video and audio sources send signals to the computer with a video and audio capture device. You can easily change the most aspects of codecs to get the bitrate and video quality of your needs. You can easily update the encoding software when a new version is available. 

They are appealing for their low cost and best customization features. Software encoders for live streaming lack the latency speed that hardware encoders offer because a computer runs multiple programs at the same time and it can not provide all of its resources to encoding.

Hardware Encoders 

Hardware encoders for live streaming are generally used by professional broadcasters. It acts as a reliable tool used by professionals to stream their online videos. It doesn’t allow you to change the video quality to a large extent. A hardware encoder connects directly to the internet to send your data to the users.

A hardware encoder takes the feed from your video and audio devices into a physical box. These may be small, portable boxes or large permanent fixtures. Sometimes these encoders also required a dedicated processor to encode a designed video and data into streamable content.

How To Find The Right Encoding Software

There is a variety of encoding software available in the market. They have the same function and have many similarities in design. Different users will prefer different encoding software according to their use.

Some encoders are designed for demanding users and they support powerful hardware, multiple monitors, and professional video while some encoding software is designed for new broadcasters or for small businesses to get started with live video streaming.

To find the correct encoding software you can run a test stream of different encoding software while comparing several unique features and options that can help you in meeting your requirement is the best fit for you.


I hope this article has helped you in knowing the details about the encoders for live streaming and about software & hardware encoders for live video streaming. Choosing the right encoder will help you to deliver the best possible streaming to your users while keeping all the options. So choose wisely!

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