In electronic communications, an endec is a device which acts as both an encoder and a decoder on a signal or data stream, either with the same or separate circuitry or algorithm. The combining of these names is a portmanteau.
The general difference between an endec and a codec (compressor / decompressor) is that hardware is usually considered to be an endec, while software is considered to be the codec.[dubious ] Similarly, the word "encoding" is usually used for hardware, while "coding" is usually used in regard to software.
A device or program which uses a compression algorithm to create MPEG audio and/or video is often called an encoder, and one which plays back such files is a decoder. However, this is technically a codec, especially if performed in software.
Examples of encoders, decoders, and endecs include:
- A modem is an endec, likewise a modulator is an encoder and a demodulator is a decoder
- An Emergency Alert System unit is usually an endec, but sometimes just a decoder
- A stereo generator used in broadcasting is an encoder
- A combination ADC and DAC would technically be an endec, though they are usually called CODECs
- Hardware that encodes data bits to a run length limited line code, and decodes the line code back to data bits, is an endec.
- When implementing the Infrared Data Association (IrDA) protocol, often an endec is used between the UART and the optoelectronics.
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