A growing number of broadcasters are choosing to live stream events rather than film them and show them at a later date. What this also means is that they will need to invest in media streaming software in order to present a real-time event to their audience. In this quick guide we will cover everything you need to know about purchasing live streaming video equipment and software, starting with the question which is likely at the top of everyone’s list:
How Much Does The Equipment Cost?
Rewind five years ago and streaming video software and equipment was fairly expensive. Yes, there were lower end options available, but they produced material that was of such little quality that it was hardly worth purchasing.
Fast forward to the present and you can now purchase quality software products for a fraction of the price. Depending on what equipment you already have and the level of performance you are hoping to achieve, you can spend anywhere from $300 to $5000 or more on software and media streaming devices.
Another alternative to purchasing this equipment is to rent the equipment. Most companies which provide rental equipment charge by the day (which is significantly less than purchasing the equipment) and they will even send anything you produce back to their control, allowing you to easily and effectively control numerous incoming feeds from units in different locations. Just make sure you set aside some funds to be able to pay for the insurance for the devices.
What Equipment Do I Need?
Most experts will agree that there are five key pieces of equipment you should have to live stream:
a) The Camera: There is a good chance you already own a camera for this purpose, but if you don’t be sure to look for a camera which has Composite video out or HDMI, and that it comes with optical zoom. Do not mistake this for digital zoom which is useless when it comes to live streaming.
b) The Transcoder/Video Converter: The transcoder is responsible for breaking down the data form your video stream so that the computer is able to manage it. There are different transcod3rs for both SD streaming and HD streaming, so make sure you pick up the right one.
c) The Audio Feed: Having great picture quality is paramount, but having no audio makes your stream useless. The best quality audio you can capture will be out of your soundboard. Ask the sound engineer on your product for an auxiliary output which only contains the channels of audio you need for your stream. This will give you a more balanced input.
d) The Computer: To be able to process your HD video in real time and upload it, you will need a newer computer (2012 or newer) which is a mid- to high-range machine. Windows computers should have n Intel Core 2 Duo which is close to 2GHz or higher.
e) The Internet Connection: Keep in mind that processing real time video eats up a lot of bandwidth. Contact your ISP and make sure that you have at least 1 megabit of upload speed for SD and for HD you will need a minimum of 5 megabits.