Difference between Transcoding and direct play

Perhaps i don’t grasp yet all the concepts:

Direct play means the player does the hard work if there is format compatibility, stream (local or remote) means the server will transcode accordingly to player’s capabilities (format compatibility and bandwidth)

A player, capable of direct play might fallback to stream if the media is incompatible or the player requires less bandwidth consuming format like with a metered connection.

Direct play is recommended over streaming.

Software transcoding is using any CPU power to decode/encode a media.

Hardware transcoding is using specific CPU instruction set for media transcoding (i.e. Intel QuickSync)

To direct play 4k, the player’s CPU must have Intel QuickSync feature or can’t direct play 4k, it will fallback to streaming, hoping the server can transcode on its behalf.

Is this summary correct?

Yes, you are almost correct.
Direct play playback means – you are streaming original file on your player (TV, mobile) via the network or HDMI.
Transcoding means – player does not support the file format or network is too slow- so original video get converted into a compatible video format and size.
It is always better to stream original files because you get better picture quality. Or keep two versions of films if some devices do and some do not support 4K.
It is handy to have i5, i3 processor for remote streaming with Plex or  any QuickSync CPU for built in video app when streaming over the internet where available bandwidth can always change.


If you like this service, please consider supporting us.
We use affiliate links on the blog allowing NAScompares information and advice service to be free of charge to you. Anything you purchase on the day you click on our links will generate a small commission which is used to run the website. Here is a link for Amazon and B&H. You can also get me a ☕ Ko-fi or old school Paypal. Thanks! To find out more about how to support this advice service check HERE   If you need to fix or configure a NAS, check Fiver   Have you thought about helping others with your knowledge? Find Instructions Here  


Or support us by using our affiliate links on Amazon UK and Amazon US

locked content ko-fi subscribe

DISCUSS with others your opinion about this subject.
ASK questions to NAS community
SHARE more details what you have found on this subject
CONTRIBUTE with your own article or review. Click HERE
IMPROVE this niche ecosystem, let us know what to change/fix on this site
EARN KO-FI Share your knowledge with others and get paid for it! Click HERE