DIGITAL LIFE MADE EASY 3 – What is the difference between decoding, encoding, and transcoding? Where do I use what?

Our digital life is meant to make things easier but in fact, it is not that easy without knowing some of the fundamental concepts behind the digital world. This blog series deals with typical questions that may sound easy on first sight, but digging deeper into them, there is quite a lot to know and learn.

In this blog, we try to answer the question: What is the difference between decoding, encoding, and transcoding?  Where do I use what?

First of all, each of these terms include the word ‘coding’. Any digital medium, no matter if it contains image, video, or sound relates to that. When digitizing an analog signal (light or sound) digital coding has to be applied.

At the beginning of the chain there is always the creation of a digital signal, called encoding. For example, this happens when capturing an image or video signal within your digital camera / your smartphone, and also when capturing sound via a microphone to a digital device like a digital audio recorder or a smartphone. For playback, the previously recorded digital signal is being decoded. The processes of encoding and decoding are handled by a so-called codec – the term is a merge of the terms coding & decoding.

For being able to create and play complex digital signals in high quality, digital data within the codec in question are being compressed via algorithms. Depending on the used codec, signal quality can differ.

Typical Codecs (incomplete list)Typical codecs




Codecs can be used hardware based of software based. Your photo or video camera utilizes a hardware based digital processor (encoder) creating the digital signal. The Blu-ray Player in your living room contains a hardware based decoder, processing the playback of the video codec on your Blu-ray Disc.

Nero software applications make use of software codecs but can also utilize system based hardware codecs. For example, the latter comes into place when exporting (encoding) AVC video via compatible graphics card chipsets in Nero Video or when transcoding video files in Nero Recode.

Transcoding comes in place when converting one digital media format to another. Typical examples are converting audio WAV files to MP3 files, or ripping an audio CD to single AAC for MP3 files. Also ripping video discs or converting images – e.g. TIFF to JPG – rely on the process of transcoding.

Which Nero Application does what?Use cases all

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Digital Life made easy (2) – How can I play wirelessly and securely to my Smart TV using Nero?

Our digital life is meant to make things easier but in fact it is not that easy without knowing some of the fundamental concepts behind the digital world.

In this blog we try to answer the question: How can I play wirelessly and securely to my Smart TV using Nero?

In fact more and more customers put this question. On one hand it shows that streaming to Smart TVs has become extremely popular on the other hand it reflects that reports about being spied via your Smart TV have become a fear for many users. This blog will help you getting rid of this fear via some useful tips and continue enjoy streaming with Nero.

Growing Number of Smart TVs

Due their comfortable internet and multimedia functions Smart TVs have become really popular. Likewise the security aspect of such devices has become a matter of public concern. In the past, TV set vendors were accused of having enabled functions in their Smart TVs that would allow spying of customers by collecting user data and of having provided such data to third parties.

The vendors opposed to that, but nevertheless there is the thread of hackers trying to utilize special functions of your TV set. Given that Smart TV security implementations are close to not existing hacker attacks are a realistic scenario.

How can I protect myself?

The most simple way of protection is disconnecting your Smart TV from the internet, but this goes along with not being able to use those functions of your TV that make it smart: home network streaming and the ability to access content via the internet.

If you do not want to miss those functions here are some useful tips how to protect your Smart TV from unwanted third party access.

1. Set Filters in your Router

One of the most secure ways of protection from unwanted access is blocking special internet pages via the filtering options of your router.

Internet and LAN / WiFi access of your TV can be reduced to a few URLs that you control via the so called white list. Additionally your router allows you to limit the internet connection to dedicated devices – e.g. if you use the integrated ‘parental control’.

How to set these limitations depends on your router’s setting options. Via these you can decide which pages should be accessible at all or – via the opposite approach – can just block dedicated URLs.

2. Deactivate the built in Webcam and the Microphone

If your Smart TV has an integrated webcam we recommend deactivating it via the set up menu of your Smart TV. Additionally you should also deactivate the microphone. If you want to be totally safe you can also put some tape over the camera. This may sound a bit over the top but in fact it is known that hackers have options to remotely activate the camera again without the signal on the camera even showing that the camera is on.

3. Deactivate HbbTV Service

Deactivate the function ‘HbbTV‘ in the setup menu of your TV. Similar to ‘Teletext’ with ‘Hybrid broadcast broadband TV‘ broadcasters can show additional information on the screen. Different to ‘Teletext’ that is embedded in the TV signal, ‘HbbTV’ uses the internet connection of your Smart TV.

Consumer advice centers accuse TV vendors of misusing this function by collecting user data and handing these over to third party without the user’s agreement.


In case your TV set does not include this function yet, there are standalone add-on boxes available providing the HbbTV function. If you want to be on the safe side you do not need such a device. In general we recommend taking a look into the TV set’s menu or – if available – into the device manual to understand if your TV has this function included or not.

Deactivating this service needs a closer look into the setup menu of your TV set. Terms used here to describe the HbbTV function can be quite cryptic like ‘data service function’ or ‘interactive service’. Not each vendor activates this function by default. But checking it, is worth the effort, anyway.

4. Smart TVs with Android OS

As of today, vendors like Sony are offering their range of TV sets with fully integrated Android OS known from Smartphones. As Android is Google’s mobile operating system you should take a closer look into the menu of your TV regarding Google data services. For protecting your privacy, we recommend not allowing Google to collect data.

Android TV

We also recommend disabling the location option.

Location off

5. Regularly update your TV’S Firmware

Make sure that you keep your Smart TV’s firmware always up to date. Updates can be triggered directly via the TV set when connected to the internet. You can also use your (safe) PC connected to the internet for downloading the firmware update, save it on a USB stick, connect it to your TV, and execute the update this way.

6. Adapt your Surfing Behavior

Due to the fact that Smart TVs  largely lack security options make yourself aware of which web pages you need and want to access. Do not open pages that you cannot judge security wise. Only use apps und web pages from known source via a secured connection (https). Never type in sensitive data like your bank account into any page used with your Smart TV. If you do not use secure connections these data could even be sent unencrypted and hackers would have no problem accessing these.

Enjoy Streaming with Nero Streaming Apps

If you follow those above tips that suit best to your streaming behavior you will continue enjoying streaming with Nero Apps. With Nero MediaHome (PC) and Nero Streaming Player (free mobile App for iOS and Android) you have comfortable ways of making best use of your SmartTV with streaming your photos, slide shows, movies, and music, wirelessly to the big TV screen in the living room.

Installing Nero Receiver on your tablet (or smartphone) allows you to stream photos, movies, and music even without using your Smart TV directly to your tablet (smartphone), preferably.

Watch the video


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Digital Life Made Easy – Part 1

Our digital life is meant to make things easier but in fact it is not that easy without knowing some of the fundamental concepts behind the digital world.

This blog series deals with typical questions that may sound easy on first sight, but digging deeper into them there’s quite a lot to know and learn.

In this blog we try to answer the question: How do I get my movie on the TV?

This is in fact a good question and initially we should be clear about the fact that a digital movie is not made of celluloid. Anything we capture or play as a moving picture is just a file containing a digital video format. So answering the question, initially depends on the source of your video and the given video format. The next part of the answer  depends on what you are going to do with your souce video. Do you intend to fine tune it before watching it, or do you just want to watch it on your TV straight away?


If your source is available in a format that can be played straight to your TV set the easiest way is streaming it wirelessly. In this case Nero has options to play it directly from your smartphone and also from your PC to your TV via Nero Straming Player. If you like to play it wirelessly from your PC to your TV without using an App you can do this directly via Nero MediaHome.

Video File or Video-Disc?

If you have video clips sitting on your PC that you want to fine tune before showing on your TV the key question is: which output format are you going to select? Will it be a video file or rather a video discs (DVD, Blu-ray) with menus to play on your DVD player or Blu-ray Disc player connected to your TV set? In both cases Nero Video ist the application of your choice.

Edit Video and export as File

Simply import some clips into a video editing project, arrange them in a time sequence, trim them and apply effect filters. No matter if you are a beginner or advanced user Nero Video offers a great range of options to achieve best quality results. Pre-designed movie theme templates allow creating videos and slideshow for as a polished movie, easily, and Nero Video provides state of the art high quality export formats for you to select from.

Create a Video Disc

If you are planning to burn your video or several videos to a disc with menus you will do that in Nero Video, too. Either start in the editing mode and switch to the disc authoring module, or if you do not need to fine tune your clips but just intend putting them on a disc with menus, you can start in the content screen right away. This is the home screen for disc authoring and allows you to import your clips and arrange the order. Then just switch to the disc menu template selection before you finally burn it to disc.

Videos to Disc without a Menu

Another way of burning is adding your video files to a disc project without menus and create a data disc in DVD-ROM (UDF) and Blu-ray (UDF) format that includes just your video files. In this case the application of your choice will be Nero Burning ROM. Note that such a disc is not what you would call a video disc. It is just a disc containing video files, and in case your Blu-Ray Player may be able to read and play the formats as pure video files without menus. Essentially, this type of disc is a good choice for archiving your footage and edited clips, especially if you use a Blu-ray Disc with high capacity storage.

Videos on a USB-Stick

Last but not least you may also be looking for an option to put your videos  on a USB stick or external hard disk and attach this to your TV set for playback. A great tool for encoding all of the clips you plan to load to your USB stick to a best matching format is Nero Recode. Very easy to use it provides you with dedictaed video format templates to select from. Just encode to the attched USB stick or hard disk – batch encoding and hardware acceleration via your graphics card for transcoding included.

Overview of Use Cases

Overview EN


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