Streaming Forum Preview: Choosing a Live Encoder
Choosing a live encoder used to be a relatively simple decision. There were only a few product categories, and the live streaming workflows into which you plugged them were straightforward. Today, both the product categories and variety of live streaming workflows have exploded in number and complexity. On the encoding side, where there once was just hardware and software, now you also have to consider in- and on-camera, encoders in video switchers, and of course, the cloud. Basically, you need a map like the one below just to keep track of all the product categories, to say nothing of the products within them.
From a workflow perspective, where you once consumed what you encoded onsite, today you need to factor in capabilities like transcoding and transmuxing, both in the cloud and on-premise. As a result, it takes a lot longer to figure out exactly what product category you need to choose from, and then you have to identify the factors most critical to your usage and buy the right product.
If you’re considering buying a live encoder, you should find my "Choosing a Live Encoder" session at the Streaming Forum a great way to get up to speed quickly. I’ll start by outlining a range of live encoding workflows, since you can’t buy an encoder until you understand exactly how many streams you need to create and their associated features, like caption or DRM support. The associated features bit is actually quite critical, since very few of the less expensive products support them.
Once you identify the stream count and the feature requirements, you can start to zoom in on an encoder category. For each category, I’ll identify many of the available products (or services), the features that differentiate them, and the list of other considerations to consider when choosing among them.
I’ll also identify specialty products that you may not know even exist. Need a lecture capture solution that can fit in an overhead compartment and stream your live events? Check! Need an event capture solution that can send a stream to your CDN and also function as a server for those watching within the firewall? Check! Need a product that can stream live and capture a high-quality archive for editing or uploading? Check! I’ll identify products that perform all these functions and more.
In one 45-minute session, you’ll get up to speed on the latest live encoding workflows, learn about innovative new capture solutions, identify the most likely category for your live encoding needs, and figure out how to choose between the contenders in that category. You’ll learn when you need to spend more to get some required functionality, and when free software will perform just as well as a $500 solution. Be prepared to hold your questions till the end, because we definitely have a lot of information to cover.
The 2014 Streaming Forum will be held at the Park Plaza Victoria in London on 24-25 June. "Choosing a Live Encoder" will be at 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday, 25 June.Hope to see you there.
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