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Video Transcoding – The Ultimate Guide to How It Works

Imagine you are watching a really cool video on your phone, but suddenly the video starts buffering and stops playing properly. Frustrating, right? Well, video transcoding comes to the rescue in situations like this. Video transcoding is like a magic trick that makes videos work smoothly on different devices and internet connections. It’s like having a super-smart translator for videos. 

By saying that, if you use videos for your business, understanding video transcoding is crucial for enhancing user experiences and achieving your goals. Let us guide you through the concept and workings of video transcoding to help you deliver better user experiences and reach your goals. 

What is Video Transcoding? 

Video transcoding is a digital science, essentially transforming video files from a particular format to another; altering bitrate, resolution, and aspect ratio in the process. Basically, video transcoding is about converting the original video format into another format so that it can play smoothly on any device. It’s like when we translate one language into another so that everyone can understand. 

The key players in video transcoding are decoding and encoding. Decoding is like unpacking the source video, breaking it down into its raw data. Then encoding comes in and re-packages the video in a different format, figuring out the best way to deliver high-quality images without wasting resources. 

a woman watching a laptop at the cafe

Impacts of Video Transcoding 

Video transcoding has significant impacts across various aspects. Here, we’ll discuss three key benefits of video transcoding. 

User Experience 

Video transcoding directly influences user experience, delivering a seamless viewing journey. It fine-tunes video resolution and aspect ratios, ensuring optimal playback across diverse devices. 

Poorly transcoded videos can disrupt playback, leading to viewer frustration and potential customer loss. Optimum video transcoding enhances user experience. It converts high-resolution footage to acceptable formats.  

Hence, significant attention should be paid to video transcoding, bridging the gap between high-quality content and memorable viewing experience. 

Loading Speed 

When videos aren’t transcoded, they may load slowly, leading to user dissatisfaction. Efficient video transcoding, however, can offer lifeline by expediting loading times and providing a seamless user experience. 

Imagine tapping on a video link and having to wait for minutes for it to load. Those are precious moments lost, which could leading to a decline in user engagement. Video transcoding can act as a game changer in such cases. 

Transcoding videos allows them to get compressed without comprising on quality. This means faster loading times regardless of the end-user’s device or internet speed. It’s a boon for businesses that rely heavily on video content. 

Optimizing Storage Space 

Video transcoding plays a crucial role in optimizing storage. It reduces file sizes without compromising quality, making it ideal for organizations with limited digital storage capacities. 

Imagine uploading multiple high-definition videos on your platform daily. With video transcoding, these videos are adjusted to optimal formats, freeing up storage that can be utilized for other critical aspects of your operation. 

floating screens in the digital space

How Does Video Transcoding Work 

The process of video transcoding revolves around converting an original video file into a different format that’s optimal for storage and playback. It’s a technology where content is made available in multiple formats, ensuring smooth delivery to diverse user devices. 

  1. Decoding of original file to raw format: The original video file is decoded, converting it into a raw, uncompressed format that can be easily manipulated and processed for further editing or conversion.  
  2. Encoding the raw file to desired format: The decoded raw file is then encoded into the desired output format, compressing and optimizing it for efficient storage, streaming, and playback on different devices and platforms.  
  3. Adapting video’s resolution, bitrate, and frame rate during encoding: Video transcoding involves adjusting essential video parameters such as resolution, bitrate, and frame rate during the encoding process, ensuring the best possible quality and compatibility for seamless playback across various devices and network conditions.  
  4. Ensuring optimal playback on various devices: The goal of video transcoding is to ensure optimal playback on different devices, including smartphones, tablets, computers, and smart TVs, by converting the video into formats that are supported and easily played back by each device.  
  5. Enabling live streams or on-demand content: Video transcoding enables the flexibility of delivering live streams or on-demand content to viewers, allowing for real-time encoding and adaptive streaming to match varying network conditions and viewer preferences.  

Adaptive Bitrate Streaming 

Adaptive bitrate streaming and video transcoding are closely related and often go hand in hand. Adaptive bitrate streaming is a technique used to deliver video content over the internet in varying quality levels, adjusting to the viewer’s available bandwidth and device capabilities in real-time. 

Video transcoding plays a crucial role in adaptive bitrate streaming by creating multiple versions of the same video at different quality levels. These versions, known as “bitrate variants,” are encoded with varying bitrates, resolutions, and formats to cater to different network conditions and playback devices. 

When a user streams a video using adaptive bitrate streaming, the streaming server dynamically selects and delivers the most suitable bitrate variant based on the viewer’s network connection and device capabilities. This ensures a smooth and uninterrupted viewing experience, as the video quality automatically adjusts to the user’s available bandwidth. 

Video transcoding enables the creation of multiple bitrate variants to support adaptive bitrate streaming. It involves converting the original video into different versions at varying bitrates and resolutions, allowing for seamless transitions between different quality levels during streaming. This process ensures optimal video playback, regardless of the viewer’s network conditions, and provides an enhanced user experience. 

a woman, a man, a child watching laptop together

Choosing the Right Video Transcoding Solution 

When selecting a transcoding solution, prioritize efficiency, scalability, and customization capabilities, there are some features that you need to look for.  

Considerations for Selecting a Video Transcoding Solution 

  • Your Needs: Minimize the unknowns in your search for a video transcoding solution by prioritizing key factors. Consider your current and foreseen needs, the type of videos you produce, and most importantly, the platform compatibility.  
  • Audience Environment: Turn towards a solution that serves your audience’s diverse digital presence. Your transcoding solution should seamlessly adjust video quality based on your audience’s device type, bandwidth, and resolution capabilities.  
  • Scalability: Bear in mind the scalability of your chosen solution. In a world where video content is spiraling, a scalable system lets you effortlessly increase your content output without compromising on quality.  
  • Cost: Look beyond the upfront cost and consider the overall value in the long term. A transcoding solution that may seem expensive initially could save you more through optimising storage and providing an enhanced user experience.  
  • Support: Seek out a provider with good technical support. Professional backing can be crucial in mitigating potential integration challenges and ensuring the smooth running of your operations.  

Key Features to Look for in a Video Transcoding Solution 

  • Fast Encoding and Decoding Speeds: Look for a video transcoding solution that can efficiently encode and decode videos at high speeds, ensuring quick processing and delivery of content.  
  • Massive Scalability: Choose a transcoding platform that can scale seamlessly to accommodate the growing volume of video content, enabling you to handle increased demand without compromising performance.  
  • Wide Format Support: Ensure that the transcoding software supports a wide range of video formats, allowing you to seamlessly convert videos from one format to another without any compatibility issues.  
  • User-Friendly Interface: Opt for a solution with an intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it easy for you to operate, configure settings, and manage the transcoding process without the need for extensive technical expertise.  
  • Advanced Error Correction: Consider a transcoding solution that includes advanced error correction capabilities, minimizing the impact of errors and ensuring the delivery of high-quality video content without any glitches or artifacts.  
  • Customizable Workflows: Look for a transcoding platform that offers flexibility in workflow customization, allowing you to tailor the transcoding process to meet your specific industry requirements and integrate seamlessly with your existing infrastructure.  
  • 4K UHD Video Handling: If you work with high-resolution videos, choose a transcoding solution capable of handling 4K UHD video streams, ensuring that your content can be transcoded without any loss of quality or resolution.  
  • Cloud-Based Operation: Consider a cloud-based transcoding service, enabling real-time transcoding without the need for significant hardware investments. This allows for flexible and on-demand transcoding capabilities, making it easier to scale resources as needed.  

Dailymotion as your video transcoding solution 

Dailymotion Enterprise offers a comprehensive video transcoding solution that meets all the key features mentioned above. With fast processing and delivery, unlimited scalability, adaptive bitrate streaming and wide format support (.MOV, .MPEG4, .MP4, .AVI, .WMV, .MKV, .FLV), Dailymotion is your go-to solution. The user-friendly Dailymotion Studio provides a centralized platform to easily manage and optimize your videos, allowing you to focus on creating quality content while Dailymotion handles the rest, including smart transcoding and seamless delivery. 


What is an example of a video transcoding? 

An example of video transcoding is converting a high-definition video file in MP4 format into a lower resolution and different format like WebM to optimize it for streaming on websites. 

What is video encoding and transcoding? 

Video encoding is the process of converting raw video data into a specific digital format, while video transcoding involves the further conversion of an already encoded video into a different format or encoding settings. 

Do I need to transcode video? 

The need to transcode video depends on various factors such as the compatibility requirements of the target device or platform, the desired video quality, and the available bandwidth for streaming or storage. 

What is an example of transcoding? 

An example of transcoding is converting a DVD video into a digital format like MP4 to make it playable on a smartphone or tablet.