Encoders are used to ensure the data being streamed is transitioned into the correct format for the streaming platform. Anything that’s recorded will need to go through an encoder before it can be broadcast, and today there are tons of different encoders to choose from. Perhaps the most important decision is whether to use hardware or software encoders for any live-stream event. 

Those who are looking into starting to broadcast live-stream events will want to ensure they have the right encoder for their needs. When comparing live streaming solutions, it is important to compare the pros and cons of different encoders to find the right one to try. 

Pros of Hardware Encoders

Hardware encoders are common and there are plenty of options available today. Some of the benefits of using hardware for encoding include the following.

  • Hardware encoders are designed for speed, so there is less latency to worry about.
  • Hardware tends to be far more reliable compared to software.
  • Hardware encoders offer better performance, especially when high-quality streaming is needed.

Cons of Hardware Encoders

It is important to understand the limitations of hardware encoders. These can include the following.

  • The biggest con for hardware encoders may be the price, as they can be expensive.
  • Hardware encoders do just that, so other equipment may be needed for different tasks.
  • It can be harder to upgrade to a new encoder because of the price. 

Pros of Software Encoders

Software encoders have a lot of positives to think about, including the below pros. 

  • Software encoders can be far more affordable.
  • They are more flexible, as they can do more than just encoding and can be easier to upgrade.
  • It’s easier to customize software encoders to meet any needs.

Cons of Software Encoders

Be aware of the potential downsides to using software encoders, such as the following.

  • Software encoders rely on the CPUs of computers to run, so they won’t work as well with older or slower computers.
  • The latency can be higher with software encoders because they take longer to get the job done.
  • The overall performance may not be as high for software encoders because they rely on the quality of the computer.

How to Choose the Right One

Those ready to start live streaming will want to pick out an encoder, but finding the right one can be more challenging than it first appears. After learning the pros and cons of hardware versus software encoders, choose one to look into further. Today, there are tons of different options available for any budget. Look through the added features and more to find out which of these is perfect for getting started with live streaming or upgrading equipment to be able to improve quality and do more.

Live streaming provides tons of benefits, but when it comes to encoding, it can be challenging to find the right tool to use. Both hardware and software encoders exist, and both of them have their own set of pros and cons. Consider each of these carefully to determine which one might be the best option, and then look into the different ones available to find one that offers the most benefits and the fewest downsides. With a little work, it can be easy to find the perfect encoder to use during any live-streaming event.


Sumit is a Tech and Gadget freak and loves writing about Android and iOS, his favourite past time is playing video games.

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