Hardware or software encoder? The battle rages on. Well, battle is a strong word, but there are important distinctions to point out between the two.

When it comes to live video streaming technology, the decision between hardware or software encoder will inevitably come up. The goal of this post is to arm you with information so that you can make the right choice that best fits your streaming needs.

We strongly believe hardware is your best option for easy-to-use, high-quality live streaming. Why? Below are eight compelling reasons why you should choose hardware over software.

1. Frees Up Existing Equipment. Hardware allows the offloading of encoding from equipment such as a Blackmagic Design product or TriCaster or other software encoders. The result is a more responsive live mix experience, including smoother graphics at much higher frame rates.

2. Better Encoding. The BoxCaster supports H.264 high profile, level 4.2 encoding. Note: Many video mixers can mix 1080p video, but can only stream 720p.

3. Plug-and-Play Scoreboard Integration. The BoxCaster can harvest real-time data from most modern scoreboards to provide viewers with an accurate, ESPN-like experience (scores, clock, down & to-go, etc.).

4. Simplicity. There are no URLs that you need to copy and paste when you use hardware to stream. The entire process is automated. You just plug our BoxCaster into your production setup (Tricaster, mixer, camera, etc) and start the stream.

5. Lower Bandwidth.  BoxCast transcodes the video behind the scenes for your viewers, bringing two significant benefits: 

    1. Every viewer gets the best picture for their given network or player device performance since BoxCast sends the viewer one of the five different bitrates automatically.
    2. Since only one stream needs to be streamed to BoxCast servers, the BoxCaster doesn’t have to waste any of the uplink connection streaming multiple, lower quality streams.

6. Network Health. BoxCast monitors the transfer of data from the BoxCaster to where it is safely captured on our servers. The video files are stored on the servers, so you will not incur any additional bandwidth or storage fees from your own website. The consistent monitoring of network health results in better reliability and faster network troubleshooting.

7. Cost. To achieve high quality video streaming, the overall cost of a hardware encoder such as a BoxCaster is typically less compared to software solutions. For one low price, you can stream unlimited events to unlimited viewers and store content indefinitely without worrying about overages.

8. Less Hassle. Hardware encoders free you from having to worry about other computer-related hassles such as CPU usage, memory, and network security issues.


Recommended Reading:

For additional information on the important factors to consider when purchasing live video streaming equipment, download the free Buyer's Guide to Live Video Streaming Equipment.

Download the Free Buyer's Guide


Published by Sam Brenner on October 15, 2015 in Streaming, Sports, Tech Tips

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