Transcoding is the process of taking an input video in one format and bitrate, and converting it into many formats and bitrates to make it playable on the majority of devices on the planet at any connection speed.

In The Livepeer network, nodes who play the role of transcoder, perform this very important function, and as a result it's important that they have high bandwidth connections, sufficient hardware, and reliable devOps practices. These nodes are delegated towards and elected to perform this role, and they are rewarded with the ability to earn fees from the network.

See The Livepeer Whitepaper for the full details around the incentives and role of transcoding.

Becoming a Transcoder

We'll walk through the steps of becoming a transcoder on the test network. Start livepeer with the --transcoder flag:

$ livepeer --testnet --transcoder

Run livepeer_cli, and make sure you have test ETH and test LPT as described in Getting Started.

$ livepeer_cli

You should see the Transcoder Status as "Not Registered".

Pick "Become a transcoder" in the wizard. Make sure to choose "bond to yourself".

At this point the interface will ask you to set 3 values if you have not set them already:

  • PricePerSegment - How many base unit Livepeer Token (LPT) will you charge to transcode a 4 second segment of video? Keep in mind that 1 LPT == 10^18 base unit LPT. Example 1000.
  • FeeShare - You will collect fees from broadcasters based upon the above price that you charge and how many segments you transcode. What % of fees would you to keep? The remaining fees will be passed to your delegators. Example 98%.
  • BlockRewardCut - All delegators are entitled to their share of newly minted inflationary Livepeer Token. Set the cut as a percentage that you will take from delegators who delegate towards you in exchange for doing the work of performing this valuable service of transcoding reliably. Example: 3%.

If Successful, you should see the Transcoder Status change to "Registered"

Wait for the next round to start, and your transcoder will become active. At this point, the Livepeer node should handle everything for you. The important thing is that you keep the node running.

TODO: These documents could be expanded with far more information about the transactions that a Livepeer Transcoder has to submit on a regular basis to avoid being penalized and to earn their rewards and fees.