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Video Capture Hardware

For broadcasting with a digital HD source, we generally recommend products from Blackmagic Design . Please not that we do not recommend blackmagic USB devices, as they tend to have compatibility issues.

  • Decklink Series - Desktop PC - $149
  • Intensity Pro ($199) - Desktop PC - Carefully check hardware compatiblity before ordering
  • Thunderbolt Intensity Shuttle ($239) and Extreme ($299) - Newer Macs
  • Intensity Shuttle Thunderbolt ($239) or Intensity Extreme ($299) - For the latest model macs with thunderbolt).

Other Capture Devices

  • AVERMEDIA Live Gamer Portable ($160) - All PCs (not recommended for mac) - USB 2.0, works with virtually everything. Comes with software that can handle streaming without any other software. For better quality, use with Wirecast or XSplit.

When connecting your equipment to your encoder, select the best available port coming our of your camera and/or video switch. The list below shows video input options in order according to quality (best to worst).

  1. SDI
  2. HDMI
  3. Firewire
  4. Component (3 separate cables for video)
  5. S-Video
  6. Composite

If the best output your equipment has is S-Video or Composite, a high end capture card is not necessary. Typically a very low cost ($15-50) card will give you roughly the same quality as a $1000 card.

Video Capture Software

Telestream Wirecast - PC and Mac - $495. Our #1 recommendation. Best video quality (x264) and feature rich. A church discount may be available if you call sales.

Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder - PC and Mac - Free. A basic encoder. Does not support AAC audio on windows ($180.00 addon). Has some compatibility issues with newer versions of MacOS. MP4 output files can be problematic on all platforms, but streaming works well with reasonably good quality (mainconcept).

XSplit - PC Only - $60/year. An up and coming live streaming tool worth mentioning. Best video quality (x264) and feature rich. Not as polished as wirecast, but has some interesting features.

Open Broadcaster Software - PC and Mac - Free A basic encoder with best video quality (x264). The PC version works well. We have not tested the new multiplatform version on Mac or Linux.

Encoding Software

We recommend NOT using any of the following:

  • Movavi Video Suite - poor encoding quality with bit rates normally used for streaming
  • Cyberlink Espresso - Not configurable
  • Miro Video Converter - Not configurable