An encoder is a device or software that converts audio and video signals into a digital format that can be transmitted over the internet. In the context of live streaming, an encoder captures the audio and video from a live event and converts it into a digital format in real time, allowing it to be streamed to viewers over the internet. Encoders can be hardware devices or software programs that run on a computer or other device. They are an essential component of a live streaming setup, as they handle the task of digitizing the live video and audio signals and preparing them for transmission.
An Encoder is the final piece of hardware/software that will be responsible for sending the transmission video to a server for transcoding and delivery. The Encoder is found at the venue of where the broadcast is occurring and requires an internet connection.
An encoder digitizes the live video by capturing the analog video signal and converting it into a digital format. This process is known as digitization or encoding.
Encoders can be used to convert the video and audio capture into RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol). RTMP is a commonly used protocol for streaming audio, video, and other data over the internet. It is a low-latency protocol that is well-suited for live streaming, and is supported by many online platforms, including YouTube, Facebook Live, and Twitch.
To stream a live event using RTMP, the encoder captures the audio and video from the event and converts it into a digital format. It then packages the digital data into RTMP packets and sends them to a media server, which distributes the stream to viewers over the internet. The media server may be a standalone piece of hardware or software, or it may be provided by the online platform that is hosting the stream.
Encoders can be used to convert the video and audio capture into SRT (Secure Reliable Transport). SRT is a low-latency video streaming protocol that was developed to improve the performance of live video streams over the internet. It is designed to be resilient to packet loss and network congestion, and can be used to stream video over both wired and wireless networks.
To stream a live event using SRT, the encoder captures the audio and video from the event and converts it into a digital format. It then packages the digital data into SRT packets and sends them to a media server or a CDN (Content Delivery Network), which distributes the stream to viewers over the internet. The media server or CDN may be a standalone piece of hardware or software, or it may be provided by the online platform that is hosting the stream.
The encoder may also include additional features, such as video scaling and cropping, color correction, and other image processing functions to enhance the quality of the video. The final output of the encoder is a stream of digital data that can be transmitted over the internet and decoded by a media player on the viewer's end.
Many encoders, both hardware and software, support SRT or RTMP as an output format. It is a popular choice for live streaming in situations where the network conditions may be challenging, such as when streaming over the public internet or over satellite links. However, other protocols, such as RTMP and HLS, are also commonly used for live streaming, and the choice of protocol may depend on the specific requirements and capabilities of the encoder, the media server, and the online platform.
There are many software programs that can be used as encoders for live streaming. Some of the most popular options include:
In general, you will need a computer with a multi-core processor, at least 8GB of RAM, and a dedicated graphics card. The exact hardware requirements will depend on the specific needs of your live stream, such as the resolution and frame rate of the video, the number of audio and video sources, and any additional processing that is required. You may need to look to nVidia CUDA cards to get the lowest latency. The encoder should be a dedicated computer exclusively for the purpose of performing the Encoding task.
Hardware encoders are physical devices that are specifically designed to encode audio and video signals for live streaming. They are typically used in professional settings, such as broadcast studios, where a high level of performance and reliability is required. Some examples of hardware encoders for live streaming include:
Hardware encoders can be more expensive than software encoders, but they can offer improved performance, reliability, and ease of use in professional settings.
Encoders are part of the video production companies services and equipment that they will provide in order to stream your live video broadcast. The Registrix platform provides the Media Service streaming keys for the instances when you are using the broadcast features of the platform. Otherwise the keys are found with the live stream vendor that was contracted to stream the broadcast.