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High-quality HD production at minimal cost is the responsibility of President of Operations Sam Provencher. Challenges abound. Streaming from a different location each weekend means that equipment has to be entirely mobile. Internet connectivity in the rural areas where most racetracks are located can be problematic. Quick, easy setup is a necessity. And reliability is paramount.
After extensive research into online video delivery platforms and H.264 encoders, Provencher settled on StreamVu as his service provider and the Matrox Monarch HD streaming and recording appliance they recommended.
StreamVu is an online video delivery platform specializing in live and on-demand content. Featuring an easy-to-use interface with added broadcast tools, StreamVu helps content creators affordably reach as many viewers as they want.
Matrox Monarch HD is a small, easy-to-use H.264 encoder designed for professional video producers who need to simultaneously stream a live event and record a mastering-quality version for post-event editing. Priced at just $995, it provides these two independent modes in an integrated unit. From any HDMI input source, such as a camera or switcher, Monarch HD generates an H.264-encoded stream compliant with RTSP or RTMP protocol. While encoding the video at bitrates suitable for live streaming, Monarch HD simultaneously records a high-quality MP4 or MOV file to an SD card, USB drive, or network-mapped drive. Monarch HD has an intuitive interface, the Command Center, that lets users quickly set up, control, and output streams using any computer or mobile device with a web browser.
“The Matrox Monarch is ideal for webcasters like MotorSportsBroadcast ing.com who need to stream and/or locally capture their productions,” says StreamVu President Brian Arrowood. “Its live encoding is on par with the best Flash encoders we support, but its local recording, at a bitrate separate from the live stream, is its key differentiator. While StreamVu provides cloud archiving for our customers, it’s limited to the bitrate that they are streaming. Nothing beats the reliability and quality of a local recording. All in all, Monarch HD is an excellent and well-built encoder filling a need for those seeking a quality encoder with a local capture capability.”
Provencher talks about his production process, “Streaming is not part of our workflow; it is our workflow. As a mobile production service, we have to be able to arrive onsite and begin streaming live in 10 minutes or less. We work with various switchers, and they all feed the Monarch HD encoder. This insures that we are capturing the broadcast-ready feed for local recording as well as sending out a high quality live stream.
“When it comes to the challenge of internet access, we have used satellite connections, aircards, and broadband services when available. The Monarch HD encoder is so versatile that we can stream at our ideal of 2.8Mbps for high quality or, when internet speed is lacking, at 700Kbps. It’s dynamic enough to handle the full range with exceptional reliability and quality.
“The live video stream from the Monarch HD is as good as anything we have seen on the market. We have actually received feedback from our returning viewers on the increase in video quality since we began using it. The recorded video is top-notch, too. Being able to record at such a high level then pull that file instantly is an amazing asset for our production.
“Getting started on this project, our driving concern was how much we could get out of our budget. By finding the Monarch HD, we were actually able to come in under budget and meet all of our production goals. Monarch HD’s price point made it an easy decision. It is one of our smallest pieces of production equipment, yet it’s the most valuable.”
Provencher sums up his experience, Matrox and StreamVu work seamlessly together. The quality and ease of access is greater than any other platform we have used in the past. There is a major level of comfort and reliability in both technologies that allows us to focus our energy on other aspects of the production. Best of all, we know we are going to have 24/7 live voice support if anything out of the ordinary happens. That’s a must-have in our industry.”