The final aspect of determining the video quality is the hardware by which it all comes together. Some codecs are clearly more efficient than others and so can be said for the hardware components. It is the hardware that actually performs the work of processing the information. You can begin with best of breed all along the route to the ultimate in video experience but you are only as good as your weakest link. Compression requires horsepower; horsepower is processing.
The more advanced the compression scheme the more processing power required. Similarly, the higher the quality of the images, the larger the file size, the more data involved and subsequently more processing power needed. A lack of processing power in a variety of areas will cause bottlenecking and degradation in quality.
There are two methods by which to compress the audio and video data - hardware or software. Hardware compression tends to be the best solution if the hardware is sized correctly as it can:
- Have an exponentially faster data rate throughput
- Can offload the compression task freeing up valuable CPU bandwidth
- Reduce power consumption
Software compression instructs the PC's processor for encoding the video, whereas hardware compression uses dedicated components and processing.
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