transcoding vs encoding

What Is The Difference Between Encoding vs. Transcoding?

Encoding and transcoding are two methods to prepare videos for streaming. Both of these methods involve various steps and technicalities that convert the raw data to a watchable video on multiple devices and platforms. Whether a business or an individual creator, you need encoding and transcoding to let your audience stream your videos.

Many streaming platforms provide both of these functions, and one should always ensure these functions before finalizing the platform. If not, you might have to use external encoders and transcoders, which is not a very price-friendly and efficient solution.

Let’s get to know transcoding vs encoding and the importance of these concepts in video streaming.

Understanding Video Encoding

Encoding is needed to compress a raw video so it can be transmitted further for streaming purposes. When a video is first recorded on the camera, it’s called the RAW file, which is much larger and needs encoding. With encoding, on-demand videos and live streams become possible as they’re transmitted after compressing the original video file size.

Whenever you want to transmit a video file using the Internet, you need to encode the video. Encoding makes the file size smaller without compromising its quality. This encoding is provided by video hosting platforms and applications where a video is encoded before streaming on a user’s device. After encoding, many more steps are involved to complete the streaming process; however, encoding remains the primary and most essential step in a video transmission journey.

How Does Video Encoding Work? 

Video Encoding

A video file is made up of a collection of frames that, when come together, create the illusion of motion. The video or motion quality depends on the number of frames; more frames means better quality.

Once the video is captured using a camera or a device and sent on a video hosting platform. Here, during online video encoding, the file gets converted into a digital format and compressed to make it ready for media containers. Media containers are the storage units where the encoded media is stored.

It’s also worth noticing that this encoding happens via Lossy and lossless methods. In lossy, as its name suggests, some data gets removed or discarded, whereas the data remains the same in lossless.

Encoding is the primary step in preparing a video to be played. This stage determines the possible resolution and bitrate of the video, along with other elements. Resolution tells the number of pixels used to display a video; the more pixels there are, the more information you’ll be able to see in the frame.

Now, how smoothly this information will be displayed on the screen depends on the bitrate. Bitrate refers to the number of bits that can be transmitted within a specific time. The higher the bitrate is, the smoother the video/pixels will look; however, higher bitrate also leads to heavy file size. The best thing to do is to match up your resolution with its suitable bitrate, and your video quality will be fine. Generally, a higher bitrate is needed when there’s a lot of movement in the video.

Then comes the codecs similar to algorithms that impact the video quality by compressing and decompressing. Different codecs are there such as H.265/HEVC, H.264/AVC, MPEG-4/Xvid/DivX, etc. These codecs work for different devices or platforms; the one you choose should fit your requirements for the video quality and platforms on which the video will be played.

Understanding Video Transcoding

Transcoding refers to creating multiple bitrates of a single video in order to suit different internet connections. This technology is used by almost every video streaming platform, where every video is processed for various qualities. Transcoding is a huge help to video creators as well as their viewers.

Transcoding is necessary when, as a video content creator, you want your videos to be streamed by the majority of your audience. You should use transcoding when you do not want their internet speed to obstruct their streaming experience.

For example, if your viewer streams a video and their internet speed is slow, the streaming platform would send them a video copy with a lower resolution and bitrate so it can be played on their device without buffering. This way, transcoding ensures that everyone, regardless of their internet speed, can stream your videos.

How Does Video Transcoding Work?

Video Transcoding

Transcoding creates multiple copies of a video with different resolutions and bitrates so it can be streamed over any internet quality and device. Let’s understand transcoding in 4 simple steps:

  • Raw video file goes through the encoding process.
  • This encoded video then goes to a transcoder, where it’s verified for resolution, bitrate, codec, and frame rate.
  • The transcoder then converts the video into various resolutions and bitrates such as 1080p/3Mbps, 480p/1Mbps, 360p/900kbps, etc.
  • The video finally gets delivered to different devices per the viewers’ requests and the available bandwidth.

While transcoding a video file, one of the three methods takes place:

Lossless-to-lossless: In such transcoding, a video file that hasn’t lost any data while compressing is involved. This video file is then transcoded again without losing any information. Such a file might not reduce much of its size; also, a high-end transcoder performs this kind of transcoding. 

Lossy-to-lossy: This results in a low-quality video since a lossy video gets transcoded, losing more information. 

Lossless-to-lossy: This refers to transcoding a lossless file which loses some of its unnecessary information.

Video Encoding And Transcoding With GUDSHO

Publish your videos online on GUDSHO without having to video encode and decode. The platform comprises both of these methods, where every video gets through an encoder and transcoder so that you can provide the most suitable quality resolution, bitrate, and framerate to every single viewer. Acquire various resolutions and bitrates so your videos can be streamed from the oldest and slowest to the newest and fastest devices. On GUDSHO, you can upload videos in niches like Entertainment, Education, and Health & Fitness. Also, if you’re a short filmmaker, upload your creations here and monetize them.


Encoding is a big deal as it sets your video’s resolution, bitrate, and frame rate to prepare it for further transmission. The transcoder then prepares this encoded video file for various devices, platforms, and internet speeds. This way, both methods ensure a smooth transmission of videos from the server to the user’s device.

As a video content creator, you can also choose the needed settings for resolution and bitrate in your recording device, such as a camera or a smartphone. You can also get an idea from online bitrate and resolution configuration charts. Eventually, choose a video monetization platform that provides both of these methods to ensure the delivery of video content to a large number of audiences.

We hope we clarified the difference between decoding and encoding; use this information and be more mindful of your recording sessions.

Want to Stream Your Video Content To Viewers Without Issues?


Srinivasan is a Digital Marketer who is passionate about video monetization based solutions and video on demand platform ideas. He believes in spreading the latest tech trends. He is an avid reader and Loves to share views on the latest technologies, tips, and tricks.


  1. Stewart Reply

    I’ve always wondered about the difference between encoding and transcoding. This article provides a straightforward comparison. It’s beneficial for anyone working in the video monetization business. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Charles Reply

    Informative read! I’m into video business. Just want to know that How does the choice between encoding and transcoding impact video quality?

  3. Amanda Reply

    Encoding vs transcoding is a topic that’s been on my radar, and this article has provided me with a comprehensive understanding.. I’m looking forward to diving deeper into this fascinating subject. Thanks for the informative piece!

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