What Is a Codec? Why Is It Important? What Are the Types of It? [MiniTool Wiki]

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What Is a Codec

What is a codec? The word Codec is a combination of the two words "coder" and "decoder". Part of each word is used to create the common word "Codec". Think of it as an encoder and decoder. There are many codec variants, all of which perform "encoding" and "decoding" functions through some form of compression or reduction of the size of the source video and/or audio.

The codec can be software-based or hardware-based. It is necessary to encode and decode video and audio signals and convert the video and sound into bit information that can be transmitted and converted.

Tip: To learn more information about video and audio, you can go to the MiniTool official website.

Why Codec Is Important

Although codecs are usually invisible to users, they are very important because without them, video and audio conferencing would be impossible. The codec is designed to make video and audio conferences cross-compatible between hardware systems.

However, in addition to hardware codecs manufactured by Polycom and Cisco Systems, many cloud-based software tools also support video conferencing. Every session of video and audio communication must call Codecs to operate.

Since there are many different codecs, each has its own audio and video encoding method, so the choice of codec is critical to a successful meeting. Each cloud-based platform uses its own codec selection for its services. This may cause incompatibility.

How Does Codec Work

The main job of the codec is to convert and encapsulate the data transmitted over the network. Voice and video codecs use software algorithms running on general-purpose processors or dedicated hardware optimized for data encapsulation and decapsulation.

The predictive codec uses an algorithm to convert data into a sequence for easy transmission on a data network, and converts the sequence back to voice or video for byte and then reception.

The codec can run entirely on dedicated hardware, general-purpose hardware, or a combination of connections. Most smartphones provide optimized hardware to support video codecs.

Types of Codec

Voice and video codecs are classified according to whether they are lossy or lossless and compressed or uncompressed.

The lossy codec only captures part of the data required by the prediction algorithm to generate almost the same copy of the original voice or video data at the far end, thereby minimizing the bandwidth requirements for media transmission. The lossless codec captures, transmits and decodes all audio and video information at the remote end at the cost of higher bandwidth requirements.

Speech codecs can be defined as narrowband or wideband, depending on the width of the speech spectrum that they can capture and reproduce. Wideband codecs are usually sold in the form of high-definition voice, which produces the highest quality voice experience.


The most widely known family of codecs is based on the MPEG standard. MPEG is an acronym for Moving Picture Experts Group. This is the organization that sets and codifies standards. There are many major MPEG formats and many derivative types.

Also see: Best MPEG Converter – Convert Anything to MPEG and Vice Versa


Another well-known codec or codec family is WMV (Windows Media Video). Due to a large number of Windows users, this codec series is so popular.

Final Words

Here is the information about the codec. You can know the definition, importance, work principle as well as the types of the codes. I hope that this post can be helpful to you.

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