HomeSocial MediaWhat Is Transcoding? How Does It Work, and Why Is It Important?

What Is Transcoding? How Does It Work, and Why Is It Important?


Protected video streaming has become huge, growing from existing in small pockets to becoming a source of entertainment for the masses. One thing that has made this possible is transcoding. 

What is transcoding?

To understand video transcoding, we first need to understand encoding. Encoding is the process of compressing an uncompressed, raw video source like SDI or HDMI using codecs like H.264 or MPEG-2. Encoding would reduce the file size of the video files to facilitate playback on standard viewing devices like desktops, laptops, mobile phones, etc.

When an encoded video is decoded and decompressed into an intermediate format, after which it is re-encoded into the target format, the process is called transcoding. Transcoding would involve different processes like transrating and trans sizing. Thus, transcoding can be said to be an umbrella term encompassing three key processes:


Transcoding is the process of decompressing a compressed and encoded video, altering it, and then recompressing it.


Transrating is the process of changing video bitrate. For instance, when an 8 Mbps video is changed to a 3 Mbps video, it is called transrating.

Trans Sizing

Trans Sizing or image scaling is the process of resizing the video frame. For instance, changing the resolution of a video from 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) to 1080p (1920 x 1080) is called trans sizing.

Video transcoding would undoubtedly need powerful hardware resources such as faster CPUs, graphic acceleration capabilities, etc. Transcoding would also require a live transcoder, something like a streaming server or a cloud-based streaming platform.

Why is video transcoding important?

Video transcoding helps the streaming provider reach a much wider audience than they would have been able to reach without the process. While access to a wider reach is the most important thing that video transcoding will help you accomplish, many other reasons make video transcoding very important for streaming services. If one did not use video transcoding, viewers who did not have sufficient bandwidth would not be able to view the videos being streamed. They would constantly be buffering the videos, waiting for the stream to load.

Video transcoding is also important because it will help you build a whole set of time-aligned video streams, with everyone having the potential to have a different bit rate and a different frame size. Video transcoding enables you to let all viewers around the globe view the video streams by deploying adaptive streaming formats, irrespective of the device and bandwidth availability with the users. Without video transcoding, viewers with slower data speeds, tablets, mobile phones, and connected TV devices would be practically unable to view the video streams.

The key reasons why video transcoding is important are:

  •         Enables Adaptive Bitrate Streaming (ABR)
  •         Reduces bandwidth requirements
  •         Enables the creation of custom transcodes for different destinations
  •         Enables supporting of multiple formats of video streams
  •         Cleans up the encodes of the streams during the process

What are the benefits of video transcoding?

The benefits of using video transcoding include:

  •         Reduces costs of encoding multiple videos with different bitrates and resolutions
  •         Widens the playback capabilities available for the encoding
  •         Enables leveraging new technologies and hybrid workflows
  •         Reduces complexity of encoding different videos
  •         Eliminates the issue of buffering that comes with low bandwidth network connections
  •         Prevents incompatibility from devices not supporting the streaming formats
  •         Prevents playback failures when devices lack sufficient device support
  •         Eliminates low-quality delivery possibilities to end-users

In conclusion

A cloud-based state-of-the-art transcoder can help you achieve seamless and secure video streaming. One such service we strongly recommend is the secure video hosting platform VdoCipher, offering all the latest features and support. The videos are DRM protected with being the first party partner with Google Widevine DRM license server. They also offer a 30-day free trial to let you experience the services first-hand before you make your purchase decision.

Try VdoCipher today!

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