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How to choose the best encoding software

The question: “What is the best encoding software?” unfortunately does not have a clear answer. There is no universal “one-fit-all” encoding software solution that can do everything and fits all types and sizes of companies and organizations. Just as with people, different encoders are better at different things. You need to find the best encoding software with features that best suits your needs. 
 

Determining which the best encoding software is for you is usually performed by looking at three different attributes which we will explain further down. The attributes are:

  • Speed - How Fast is the encoding process
  • Quality - How Good is the quality of the video
  • Cost - How Cheap is the solution

The crux of it all is that you have to do a compromise between them. If the encoding software is fast and good, it’s usually not very cheap. If it’s fast and cheap, it usually does not provide very good quality, and if it’s cheap and provides good quality, it’s very rarely fast.
 

The attributes of an encoding software

  • When a person uses speed and encoding in the same sentence, they usually refer to the actual processing speed of the video. This is typically measured about a factor of “real time”, e.g. 2x Real Time means that the time it takes to process the video is half the duration of the video if played back at normal speed.
     

    While this might be the only factor to consider when talking about a traditional encoding software solution, other factors need to be considered when speaking about a cloud encoding solution including ingest time, queue time, processing time and delivery or egress.
     

    Identify how much and how often you need to encode to determine how fast the encoder needs to be to match your requirements. 
     

  • Video quality has both objective and subjective elements. Every time video is encoded a certain amount of quality is lost - how much will depend on the encoder and the codec and settings used. Videos will go through many encode and decode cycles, or generations, before they reach the viewer and the quality lost in each cycle is known as generational loss. We may not know how many generations of video there will be “downstream” of where we are in the process, so making decisions around quality can be hugely important. 

  • Last but not least, the Achilles heel of so many companies: money. Having to balance between spend and making a profit is a tight rope to balance. Where are the boundary lines of spend you have to stay within? Most companies don’t know from the get-go, it’s usually a process of trial and error, or simply a matter of experience and making qualified and data driven guesses.
     

    The ideal way to go about it is about identifying the encoding software offering the best value and/or best TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) instead of focusing on price alone by going for the cheapest solution.
     

Making the compromise

As mentioned in the introduction, which compromise you should be doing is all up to your needs and demands. This usually varies greatly depending on your industry. For example, a news station which uploads videos daily might have to compromise on the quality of the videos due to time and budget constraints. 
 

The first step of finding the best encoding software for your company is always to look at your needs and prerequisites. We recommend asking yourself the following questions to determine what type of encoding software your need:

  • How often do you publish video content?
  • How much video content do you produce daily?
  • What are the expectations of your audience?
  • Where will the video be published (own website, Youtube, etc.)?

Do you have to compromise?

This is a widely discussed topic where some believe that it’s impossible to achieve all three, while others believe there’s a “sweet spot” or “harmony zone” to be found specific to your own situation and company. 
 

While we can’t say for sure which one’s the truth, we do know we can help you get as close to the theoretical “sweet spot” as possible. Vidispine offers a completely scalable cloud encoding software where you only pay for what you use and have access to several different video encoding options to choose from and match your needs and demands.
 


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Your Contacts for encoding Software

Elina Dimitrova - image
Elina Dimitrova
North America
Rasmus Bergander (1)
Rasmus Bergander
DACH & Rest of the world