Software vs Hardware Encoders: The Most Portable Solutions
In this post, we’ll examine the two most portable Software and Hardware Encoders for live streaming. As with any streaming event, you need to examine your requirements in order to work out the best camera setup.
For the purpose of our post, we limited our requirements to a single HDMI output camera, which in this case was a GoPro. The complete setup required as small a footprint as possible.
Hardware Encoder Setup
- 1x Teradek VidiU.
- 1x GoPro.
- Extremely small footprint.
- VidiU has an inbuilt rechargeable battery.
- Can set and forget.
- Hardly any messy cables.
- Mobile app to setup the encoder.
- No video mixing or overlay graphics.
- Can only take the video input of one camera.
In terms of size, this is about as small and portable as it will get for a live streaming solution. The main downside is the lack of video mixing, as it’s just broadcasting the unedited video feed straight from the GoPro. It really comes down to your event requirements and if a straight video feed will suffice, using the Teradek VidiU and GoPro is an easy option.
Software Encoder Setup
- 1x GoPro.
- 1x Magewell USB Capture HDMI (HDMI to USB Dongle).
- 1x Laptop.
- 1x Wirecast software encoder.
- Can use any software encoder you want.
- Can add title cards, and play pre-recorded videos.
- If desired, you can add additional camera feeds, with additional HDMI to USB dongles.
- Requires more advanced knowledge of live streaming.
- Requires a dedicated computer to run the software.
This is almost the simplest software encoder setup you can get. The next step down is to live stream directly from the laptop’s webcam though in that case the quality of the video will be severely diminished. This setup is perfect for users who want to edit their live streams and include intro graphics, title cards, transitions etc. To add additional cameras you will need another HDMI to USB capture card.
Overall the Teradek VidiU has the smallest footprint. However, it lacks the editing capabilities of the Wirecast laptop setup. At the end of the day, both of these streaming setups have merit depending on the needs of the event you want to live stream.
Software: Wirecast (Software Encoder)