No mat­ter how rea­li­stic your sound is, no mat­ter how breath­ta­king the images, no mat­ter how varied and exci­ting the editing, wit­hout a sui­ta­ble enco­der only you will see the result of your work.

To crea­te a stream, you need an enco­der. The enco­der takes the audio and video data and com­pres­ses it into a for­mat that can be trans­mit­ted over the Inter­net and recei­ved by the plat­form of your choice, for exam­p­le You­Tube or Vimeo, pro­ces­sed and then dis­play­ed on the user’s end device.

The role of an enco­der in live strea­ming is cru­cial as it allows you to send high qua­li­ty audio and video con­tent to your audi­ence in real time. Wit­hout an enco­der, your audio and video data would be too lar­ge to send over the inter­net and your live stream would be chop­py, blur­ry and unat­trac­ti­ve to watch.

An enco­der can be hard­ware-based, i.e. it is a phy­si­cal device that you con­nect to your com­pu­ter or net­work. Alter­na­tively, an enco­der can be soft­ware-based. A pro­gram on your com­pu­ter takes over the “trans­la­ti­on”.

Com­mon video for­mats gene­ra­ted by enco­ders include H.264 or H.265, for exam­p­le. For­war­ding takes place via pro­to­cols such as Web­RTC, SRT or RTMP or RTMPS.

This also explains the issue of laten­cy, as each cal­cu­la­ti­on step takes time. Howe­ver, the laten­cy also depends on the pro­to­col used. For exam­p­le, streams via RTMP or RTMPS are signi­fi­cant­ly slower than tho­se via SRT.

The choice of enco­der depends on the spe­ci­fic requi­re­ments of your live strea­ming set­up and the level of qua­li­ty you want to achieve.

Soft­ware-based enco­ders requi­re PCs with high com­pu­ting power. The­se include VMix, OBS and Ecamm Live, for exam­p­le.

We deci­ded to use hard­ware-based enco­ders from Black­ma­gic and Epi­phan becau­se they are built spe­ci­fi­cal­ly for this one important task. This enables us to gua­ran­tee high qua­li­ty streams.

Stream­box­stu­di­os is able to rea­li­ze mul­ti-strea­ming. We address seve­ral plat­forms at the same time. Con­sider, for exam­p­le, simul­ta­neous broad­cas­ting via your You­Tube, Vimeo, Face­book or Insta­gram account.