The Ultimate Guide to 4K Streaming Encoder: A New Era in Video Quality

Shalabh Agarwal Aug 9th, 2023

Gone are the days when people used to watch videos in 360p video quality on their featured phones. With the introduction of smartphones, 720p became the new normal later leading to 1080p and now 4k which is 4 times better than 1080p. 4K is quite appealing in watching content using over-the-top platforms because a higher definition quality brings an entertainment experience. At present, 4K streaming is widely preferred for broadcasters & publishers as it can help you reach a larger audience. However, compressing and converting a 4k video into a stream encoder format for on-demand usage is tough. But, the problem is solved by the introduction of the 4k Streaming Encoder.

What’s that?

As more and more people upgrade to 4K displays, video encoders in 4K are a must-have. Now the question arises, What is a 4K streaming encoder, and how does it work? With it, there are also important queries associated, and we will answer them all in this ultimate guide.

Let’s understand the K Encoding first-

The k streaming encoder is a type of encoder that is primarily designed for streaming media over the internet. It works by compressing the media data, therefore it can be sent over the internet more efficiently. This, as a result, offers positive outcomes such as less buffering and smoother playback for the viewer.

How Does 4K Streaming Encoder Work?

A 4K streaming encoder takes raw 4k video and compresses it using advanced video codecs. The bitrate of the video is adjusted to transmit the video stream effectively so that viewers receive a smooth playing 4K video. Peacock recommends at least 2.5 Mbps of bandwidth for HD streaming.

Here’s the best part-

With four times the resolution of 1080p, you’ll be able to provide your viewers with an immersive experience that is sure to wow them.

However, the working of a 4k streaming encoder highly depends upon the network conditions. You also need to understand the following working processes as well-

  1. The 4K streaming encoder takes raw 4k video as input from a source that can be a media player, storage device or camera. However, here the video remains in an uncompressed format.
  2. Since 4K videos are large because of their raw nature there is a need for compression and the encoder’s algorithms perform this task to reduce the size of the raw video. Though there is a very small loss of quality.
  3. The encoder then adjusts and manages the bitrate of the video so that the video prevents buffering issues but there is a requirement of high bandwidth.
  4. 4k Video encoder implements adaptive bitrate to streaming platforms so that the video can change its bitrate whenever there is a requirement to deliver a smooth user experience to the users.
  5. The audio encoding process further compresses the audio of the video to ensure efficient data usage.
  6. Now the 4k streaming encoder generates suitable format streaming to the server directly sent to the online platforms.
  7. The end user’s device decodes the complete compressed video formats giving an immersive 4k viewing experience.

Top 4K Streaming Encoder in the Market

There are several top 4k streaming encoders available in the market that ensure reliability, adaptive streaming platform capability, and great video quality. 

Here are some of the top ones.

  • Elemental Live by AWS elemental

One of the highly performing 4k video encoders, it offers real-time processing with stable adaptive bitrate conversion and multiple content delivery networks.

  • Wowza Streaming Engine

It is one of the most used software in the market for 4k encoding. You can integrate multiple plugins with this platform and access robust CDNs.

  • Teradek VidiU Go

If you are looking for a portable hardware encoding for going to live streaming then this 4k encoder is for you.

  • Haivision Makito x 4

For businesses whose priority is high performance, then this is the right 4k encoder to pick from. There are multiple resolutions and bitrates supported by this encoder.

Best Practices for 4K Streaming

Every business wants to ensure smooth and high-quality 4k streaming for their audience. Netflix uses 7 GB of data per hour in 4k streaming. To ensure a smooth and high-quality viewing experience, there are some best practices to follow.

  1. Use efficient video codecs to achieve excellent 4k streaming that is smooth and keeps the data transmission efficient.
  2. Focus on optimising Bitrate to adjust the picture quality according to network latency.
  3. Apply robust CDNs across multiple servers for a smooth experience on streaming platforms.
  4. Strategize hardware encoding acceleration wherever possible to improve the processing speed of the video.
  5. Monitor network conditions and server performance to identify issues in real-time and formulate solutions.

In the world of online streaming, understanding video quality and measuring it is the starting point. The next crucial step is to implement a framework to measure video quality and performance, not just from the viewer’s perception, but also the quality of service being delivered by the components in the video delivery value chain.

By following such practices and steps, you can efficiently engage the viewers and help organizations monetize the engagement from advertisers and subscribers to deliver a successful business impact

Challenges and Solutions Associated with 4K Streaming

4k video encoding has numerous challenges to solve ranging from high resolution to increasing data usage requirements and lowering the resolutions when needed. Here are the key challenges and their solutions:

  1. High data bitrates are a challenge while applying 4k encoding. It can be solved by applying compression efficiency.
  2. The 4k videos take time to encode and are a big challenge for businesses and applying a hardware encoder is the best solution.
  3. Storage management is another challenge because 4k videos take up more space. Utilizing multi-core processors through hardware acceleration can manage the workload efficiently.
  4. Limitations in bandwidth during 4k encoding make the overall process expensive. Applying cloud-based solutions can deploy resources on demand.

Future of 4K Streaming Encoder

The future of 4k encoding is sustainable because it is becoming one of the most adopted video qualities among the masses while using OTT platforms. And, 4k encoding delivers high-quality viewing experiences with robust compression efficiency.

Furthermore, the enhanced hardware acceleration provides a faster and more efficient encoding process enabling real-time 4k encoding. Whether you’re looking to stream live events or create on-demand content, a 4K streaming encoder is an essential piece of equipment and unlocks a great experience for the audience.

Besides 4K, 8K content is also creating a buzz and the number of pixels and frames per second for 8K means that it requires much more bandwidth (100 Mbps) to deliver than 4K (25 Mbps).

It can be said that now 4K services have already been successfully deployed for both VOD and live applications and once 5G comes into the picture, 8K will soon gain a strong foothold in the ecosystem.


All the insights mentioned above will be beneficial for gaining a deeper understanding on 4k streaming and deliver efficiency to businesses. If you have any more queries on how to make the best out of your video content and quality streaming concerns, connect with our experts at (contact us.)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Ans: 4K streaming refers to delivering video content in a resolution four times higher than 1080p, resulting in superior image quality. It has gained popularity due to the immersive viewing experience it offers.

Ans:Some top 4K streaming encoders are Elemental Live by AWS Elemental, Wowza Streaming Engine, Teradek VidiU Go, and Haivision Makito x 4. These encoders offer reliable performance, adaptive streaming capabilities, and high video quality.

Ans: An encoder in streaming is a technology that compresses audio and video data to a digital format suitable for transmission over the internet. It converts raw multimedia content into a format that can be efficiently streamed and viewed by users on various devices.

Ans:To ensure quality 4K streaming, use efficient video codecs, optimize bitrate, implement robust CDNs, utilize hardware encoding acceleration, and monitor network conditions and server performance.

Shalabh Agarwal - Co-founder, Enveu
Shalabh Agarwal is the co-founder of Enveu, one of the fastest-growing App automation and OTT solutions providers. Shalabh oversees the global businesses for Enveu and has been working in the Technology and SaaS space for over 15 years.

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