Difference Between Encoder and Decoder

Encoder vs Decoder

In modern technological environment, transmitting, storing, and interpreting information plays a key role in the operation of all the electronic based systems, whether it is a digital device or an analog device or a computer system or a software system. In the general sense, an encoder is a component in a system that converts (or codes) information from one form to another. A decoder is a component which reveres the process; that is, convert the information back to the previous or original form.

More about Encoders

As mentioned earlier, an encoder changes the format of information from one form to another, for improving the speed and accuracy when transmitting, for keeping information securely, and for standardization. Encoder might reduce the effective storage size by converting the data into another format.

In electronic circuits, encoders are used to compress digital multiple binary inputs into a smaller number of outputs. Digital to Analog Converters (DAC) and Analog to Digital Converters (ADC) are also electronic encoders. In telecommunications, encoders are used to convert the input bit streams into a standard code for transmission.

Some transducers also act as encoders. Rotary Encoder and Linear Encoders are examples for transducer encoders. Rotary encoders are used to convert the angular position of a moving component (e.g. a shaft) and related details to corresponding digital or analog signals. Linear transducers also perform the same type of function but on a linear scale. These components are used in Mechatronics and robotics for acquiring positional information of the components.

Another aspect of encoding is for security purposes. Information, before transmitting or storing, might be encrypted using an encoder, making the information inaccessible without proper decoding process; hence making information secure.

In modern media technology, encoding is used in both audio and video management. An audio encoder may capture, compress converts to other audio data format. A video encoder can also perform above functions for video data. In computer environments, CODEC (COmpressor- DECompressor) software performs both encoding and decoding of digital audio – video signals.

In web technologies also encoders are used to improve security standards. E mail encoders secure emails being accessed by unauthorized users.

More about Decoders

A decoder performs the opposite functions of the encoder, reversing the encoding process making converting the information to its previous format or other accessible format. For example, in electronics if a signal is encoded using an Analog to Digital Converter for transmission purposes the receiver has to decode the signal using Digital to Analog Converter to retrieve the original analog signal. In this case, ADC acts as the encoder and DAC act as the decoder.

For any encoding system or method discussed above, an equivalent decoding method exists for information retrieval.

In general, for hardware aspects of the conversions of the information formats is often referred as Encoder- Decoder (ENDEC), while software aspects are referred to as CODEC. However, usage is not exclusively confined to a single class of software or hardware.

What is the difference between Encoders and Decoders?

  • Encoder converts the information from one form to another (usually a coded format), while the decoder performs the reverse process allowing the retrieval of the original information.