What Is Video Decoder ? Types Of Video Decoders & its Working ?

what is video decoder


In Streaming Media Industry Encoding and Decoding plays very important role. To understand these two concepts in brief we have already explained Software Encoding and Hardware Encoding.

But today in this article we will explain What is Video Decoding how it is performed and what are the devices used in it to do so.

What Is Video Decoder ?

what is video decoder

A Video Decoder is a hardware or software tool used to decode a encoded video with the help of Codecs.

Where Codecs plays very important role. Because codecs are used to compress the uncompressed data and vice versa. Codecs are having algorithms which is applied to recording video by encoder to encode the video.

Now this encoded video works as input to video decoders. Where again codec’s algorithms are applied to decode the video. So that we can watch the video on television screen or smartphone.

A Video decoder decodes the Video, Subtitles and Closed Captions.

Types Of Video Decoders & Working ?

To understand video decoders easily we have divided it in two parts hardware video decoders and software video decoders.

(1) Hardware Video Decoders

A hardware video decoders basically have the Micro Chips in it which decode the encoded stream. Then it provides the output in IP , Audio Video and ASI etc.

These are the standalone dedicated devices for video decoding.

There are lot of hardware video decoders available in the market. We are going to explain here some hardware video decoders devices,

(A) Professional IRDs


Professional IRDs have DVBS/S2 input signal and then demodulate it then decode it. Where decoded output can be in ASI, IP or SDI etc.

This is standalone device used for receiving multiple tv services FTA and PAY both. It is used in Headends.

If you want to understand this device briefly then follow the dedicated article of IRDs CLick Here.

(B) Satellite Receivers

satellite receiver

Satellite Receivers are small boxes that accepts the DVBS/S2 signal and provides you Audio Video or HDMI output.

It is used in headends before encoders and at home for receiving the satellite channels. It decodes the tv channels to display on television set.

(C) Set Top Boxes

set top box

This is small compact device used in field at cable tv subscriber’s home. It is used for decoding all the services which we are receiving from headend.

It provides HDMI , Audio Video outputs. It only decodes the services which are receiving from headend only.

If you want to understand this device briefly then follow the dedicated article of Set Top Box CLick Here.

(2) Software Video Decoders

Software Video Decoders are the Software Tools used for decoding the videos with the help of codecs to display on Smartphones , Tablets and Laptops etc.

So there are various software video decoders available as Open Source , Freeware and commercial use.

Here we are going to explain some Software Video Decoders,

(1) VLC Media Player

vlc media player video decoder

VLC Media is a Open Source Project. So VLC Media Player is freely available in the market. It supports various codecs for video decoding.

It is also used for Streaming the content.

If you want to understand more about VLC Media Streaming briefly then follow the dedicated article of VLC Media Player Streaming CLick Here.

(2) Metus Player

metus player video decoder

Metus Player is a professional video decoding software. It provides you playback of various various video files with easy to use GUI.

It does supports various codecs. So it provides multi format playback and multi channel output. You can download it from Here

(3) FFmpeg Player

ffmpeg player video decoder

FFmpeg is a open source organization. FFmpeg player supports almost all input file for playing.

This tool not only does the video decoding while it is also good streaming the media content, analyzing the stream and file format conversion.

If you want to understand more about FFmpeg Tool briefly then follow the dedicated article of FFmpeg CLick Here.

Headend INFO Books PDF


Video Decoders are used to decode or decompress the video to make it available for devices like TV, Smartphones, Tablets and Laptops etc.

There are premium and open source video decoders available in the market like VLC Media Player, FFmpeg Player, STBs, IRDs, Satellite Decoders and Digital Signage etc.

Suggested Articles

What Are IRDs ?

What Are Codecs ?

Difference Between H.263 , H.264 & H.265

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