Vector illustration of a hardware live streaming encoder

The Best Hardware Encoders for Live Streaming (2024)

This is a complete list of hardware encoders I use and trust for live streaming corporate events, houses of worship, concerts, education, sports, theater, podcasts, government, broadcasts, and more.

Blackmagic Web Presenter 4K

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The best overall live streaming encoder for most users.

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Blackmagic Design has a knack for cramming tons of capability into reasonably priced units, and the Web Presenter 4K is just another example.

Just peep these highlights:

  • 12G‑SDI input
  • RTMP and SRT protocols
  • H.264 with data rates up to 220 Mbps
  • H.265 with data rates up to 30 Mbps
  • Stream formats up to 3840 x 2160 at 60 fps
  • USB‑C webcam output
  • USB tethering to 4G/5G mobile devices
  • Technical monitor output via HDMI or 3G‑SDI
  • Redundant AC and DC power inputs

While it doesn't offer advanced features or multiple simultaneous streams, I believe this simplicity is a major selling point.

Give it power, a video source, a solid internet connection, streaming destination, choose a stream quality, and you're online in minutes.

It just works.

The technical monitor output via HDMI or SDI is also a really handy feature.

With 12G-SDI input, 4K UHD streaming, SRT, and H.265 this will meet the needs of many, both now and years to come.

And all for less than $700 USD. 🤯

If you don't need H.265 or 4K UHD streaming and want to save a few bucks, check out the Blackmagic Web Presenter HD.


Pros

  • 12G‑SDI input
  • SRT and H.265
  • Redundant power options
  • Great technical monitor output

Cons

  • No HDMI input
  • Limited settings
  • Variable bitrates only
  • Single stream destination only

Web Presenter 4K Specifications
Video I/O 1 x 12G‑SDI input
1 x 12G‑SDI loop output
1 x 3G‑SDI monitor output
1 x HDMI monitor output (Type A - Full Size)
Audio I/O 2 channels of embedded audio only
Other I/O 1 x RJ45 Ethernet port
2 x USB‑C ports (webcam output up to 3840 x 2160 at 60 fps, USB tethering with a mobile phone or modem)
Input Formats SMPTE formats up to 3840 x 2160 at 60 fps
Streaming Formats SMPTE formats up to 3840 x 2160 at 60 fps
Streaming Protocols RTMP
SRT
Streaming Codecs H.264
H.265 / HEVC
Maximum Streams 1
Maximum Data Rate 220 Mbps (H.264)
30 Mbps (H.265)
Recording No

It is rare for a budget pick to go far above and beyond the needs of its own category. But the Blackmagic ATEM Mini Pro does.

It not only offers built‑in RTMP H.264 live stream encoding, it also has a multitude of other great features and capabilities:

  • Four in, one out HDMI switcher
  • Standards conversion on every input
  • Route program, preview, 10 window multiview, or any source to HDMI output
  • USB-C port for webcam feed to computer or recording program video/audio to disk
  • Two 3.5mm stereo analog audio inputs
  • Six input, two channel audio mixer with EQ, dynamics, and up to eight frames of audio delay
  • Five layers of video effects and keying

And all for less than $300 USD.

Even if you already have a solid encoding solution, this is almost too affordable and versatile not to have on hand for backups and utility tasks.

This. Is. 🔥


Pros

  • Price
  • Versatility

Cons

  • HDMI only
  • No advanced settings
  • Variable bitrates only
  • Single stream destination

ATEM Mini Pro Specifications
Video I/O 4 x HDMI inputs (Type A - Full Size)
1 x HDMI output (Type A - Full Size)
Audio I/O 2 x 3.5mm stereo analog audio inputs
2 channels of embedded audio per HDMI input
2 channels of embedded audio output
Other I/O 1 x RJ45 Ethernet port
1 x USB‑C port (webcam output, external drive recording, software control, or panel connection)
Input Formats SMPTE formats up to 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps
(Automatic format and frame rate conversion and re‑sync for every input)
Streaming Formats 1920 x 1080 at 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, or 60 fps
Streaming Protocols RTMP
Streaming Codecs H.264
Maximum Streams 1
Maximum Data Rate 70 Mbps
Recording 1 x Program recording to an external USB‑C drive in the same format and data rate as the stream

Resi

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The best value live streaming platform and encoder combination.

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This is more than just a hardware encoder.

Resi is a one stop solution that offers great hardware encoders and decoders, strong performance, simulcasting to multiple platforms, multisite connectivity, an embeddable player, great customer support, and more.

Uptime and consistency are Resi's bread and butter, and that is made possible by their Resilient Streaming Protocol (RSP). Network and Internet irregularity and downtime are no longer a concern with a local buffer that can accommodate even some of the worst upload failures and outages.

However, this benefit requires a proprietary encoder and subscription to one of their plans. So it is a full package deal.

But highly worth it.

And even if upload reliability is no concern, Resi still has a ton of great perks and features:

  • Simulcast to Facebook, YouTube, your website, and even many apps
  • Sim‑live with uploaded files
  • Stream and sim‑live scheduling
  • Multisite decoders with DVR capability and up to 16 channels of embedded audio
  • Automated subtitles
  • In‑depth analytics
  • Media Sites provide a personalized library and viewing experience for on‑demand content
  • Top‑notch support, even on weekends

After working closely with many Resi customers over the years, I can attest that it is solid. More than most other platforms at the same price point.

So if you are stuck with less‑than‑ideal Internet connectivity and want a reasonably priced turnkey solution to keep you on the air, or you're simply looking for an enterprise level of uptime, support, and features without paying enterprise prices, then this is it.


Pros

  • Reliable hardware
  • Excellent customer support
  • Resilient Streaming Protocol (RSP) overcomes network/Internet inconsistencies

Cons

  • Price point not for everyone
  • Requires a proprietary encoder

Resi Specifications
  1. Only one type of capture interface is enabled at a time (2 x SDI or 2 x HDMI)
Video I/O 1 x 3G‑SDI input (RAY encoder)
1 x HDMI 2.0a input (E1200 encoder)
1 x 6G‑SDI input (E1200 encoder)
2 x 6G‑SDI inputs (E2211 encoder)1
2 x HDMI 2.0a inputs (E2211 encoder)1
2 x 12G‑SDI inputs (E4300 encoder)
Audio I/O Up to 16 channels of embedded audio
Other I/O 1 x RJ45 1 Gbps Ethernet port (RAY encoder)
2 x RJ45 1 Gbps Ethernet ports (E1200, E2211, and E4300 encoders)
1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard port (E1200 and E2211 encoders)
4 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (E4300 encoder)
Input Formats SMPTE formats up to 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps (RAY encoder)
SMPTE formats up to 3840 x 2160 at 30 fps (E1200 and E2211 encoders)
SMPTE formats up to 3840 x 2160 at 60 fps (E4300 encoder)
Streaming Formats SMPTE formats up to 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps (RAY encoder)
SMPTE formats up to 3840 x 2160 at 30 fps (E1200 and E2211 encoders)
SMPTE formats up to 3840 x 2160 at 60 fps (E4300 encoder)
Streaming Protocols RSP (encoders to Resi cloud)
(Additional protocols available for distribution to other platforms from Resi cloud)
Streaming Codecs H.264 (All encoders)
H.265 / HEVC (E1200, E2211, and E4300 encoders)
Maximum Streams 1 (RAY and E1200 encoders)
1 UHD/4K stream or 2 1080p60 streams (E2211 and E4300 encoders)
Maximum Data Rate Not specified
Recording No

AJA HELO Plus

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A workhorse live streaming encoder.

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I really like the AJA HELO Plus, but I debated for a long time whether or not to include it here.

It definitely feels overpriced and behind the times. But once you dive in and experience it, those assumptions quickly disappear.

This is rock solid, highly capable, and really nails the important stuff.

Notable highlights include:

  • 3G-SDI and HDMI inputs
  • Support for RTMP, RTMPS, RTP/UDP, RTSP, HLS, and Unicast
  • Stream to two separate destinations simultaneously
  • H.264 data rates up to 20 Mbps
  • 4‑channel audio support (additional fee)
  • Record to the SD card slot or USB external media
  • Scheduler and calendar integration

The quality and dependability here rivals encoders more than double the price, no question.

If you're looking for a trustworthy HD encoder with great streaming quality, this is a popular option.


Pros

  • Reliability
  • Image quality
  • Advanced features and settings

Cons

  • No H.265 support
  • Price point a bit high for many
  • Some features require additional fees

AJA HELO Plus Specifications
  1. Multiple streams are not possible with formats higher than 720p resolution at more than 30fps.
Video I/O 1 x 3G‑SDI input
1 x 3G‑SDI loop output
1 x HDMI input (Type A - Full Size)
1 x HDMI loop output (Type A - Full Size)
Audio I/O 1 x 3.5mm TRS stereo analog audio input (-10dBV line level)
1 x 3.5mm TRS stereo analog audio output (line level)
2 channels of embedded SDI audio
2 channels of embedded HDMI audio
4 channel audio supported (paid upgrade)
Other I/O 1 x RJ45 Ethernet port (10/100/1000)
1 x USB Mini port (configuration and firmware updates)
Input Formats SMPTE formats up to 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps
Streaming Formats SMPTE formats up to 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps1
Streaming Protocols RTMP
RTMPS
RTMPT
RTMPE
RTMPTE
RTMPTS
RTSP
HLS RTP-TS/UDP-TS Unicast and Multicast
SRT (caller mode)
Streaming Codecs H.264
Maximum Streams 21
Maximum Data Rate 20 Mbps
Recording 1 x USB 3.0 port (external exFAT or FAT32 drives)
1 x SD card slot (SD, SDHC, or SDXC cards)
Mounted Network Share (SMB or NFS)

Osprey Video Talon UHD-SC

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One of the best hardware encoders money can buy.

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Osprey Video is well known for making quality and highly durable professional gear, and their Talon encoders have proven to be impressive beasts.

The Talon UHD-4K boasts a nice and concise list of features and functionality:

  • 12G‑SDI input
  • H.264 and H.265
  • Support for eight different protocols including RTMP and SRT
  • Stream formats up to 3840 x 2160 at 60 fps
  • Up to 16 channels of embedded audio
  • Up/down/frame rate conversion and deinterlacing
  • Data rates up to 100 Mbps
  • 10-bit 4:2:2 color
  • Record archival files to USB or network shared storage
  • CEA-708 embedded closed caption support
  • Fanless operation

This is also the encoder chosen by Amazon Web Services for use with Elemental MediaLive. So there is no question that this lives up to most challenges including demanding enterprise and 24/7 applications.

Need support for DCI 4K? Check out the Osprey Video Talon 4K-SC.


Pros

  • Quality
  • Dependability
  • Design and manufacturing in the USA

Cons

  • SDI embedded audio only
  • No redundant power
  • No native redundant network connectivity

Osprey Video Talon UHD-SC Specifications
Video I/O 1 x 12G-SDI input
Audio I/O 16 channels of embedded SDI audio
Other I/O 1 x RJ45 Ethernet port
1 x USB 3.0 port (archiving and network with Ethernet adapter)
Input Formats SMPTE formats up to 3840 x 2160 at 60 fps
(Supports upscaling, downscaling, frame rate conversion, and deinterlacing)
Streaming Formats SMPTE formats up to 3840 x 2160 at 60 fps
Streaming Protocols RTMP
RTMPS
UDP
RTP
RTSP
Zixi
SRT
WHIP
Streaming Codecs H.264
H.265 / HEVC
Maximum Streams 1
Maximum Data Rate 100 Mbps
Recording Record to USB 3.0 drives or network share

YoloLiv YoloBox Ultra

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The best portable all‑in‑one monitor, switcher, and live streaming encoder.

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While I'm not a fan of the name, I can't deny that YoloBox encoders have shown a lot of promise in the last few years.

The original YoloBox was a decent start, but lacked polish and reliability. However, each new iteration in the series has gotten better and better - to the point now that the YoloBox Ultra is a nicely designed, well engineered, very capable, and actually quite reliable unit.

This is also much more than just an encoder. It's a powerful all‑in‑one portable production studio.

Check out this list of features:

  • Four HDMI inputs
  • Three USB inputs for webcams
  • Up to three IP inputs like NDI|HX or SRT
  • H.264 and H.265
  • RTMP, RTMPS, and SRT streaming protocols
  • Up to six simultaneous stream destinations
  • Horizontal and vertical video formats
  • Stream formats up to 3840 x 2160 at 30 fps or up to 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps
  • ISO recording for all inputs
  • Bond up to five network connections including a 4G LTE SIM slot and USB modems
  • Up to six hours of battery life
  • 650 nits 8" touchscreen display

Impressive list for such a compact system!

But I want to be clear that I only recommend using this for portable situations that call for these features and form factor. I don't recommend using this for permanent locations or controlled environments that have good wired Internet access and AC power.

With that said, this makes a lot of sense if you need streaming on‑the‑go for things like sports, corporate training, weddings, funerals, or any events where wired or reliable Internet is not readily available.


Pros

  • Capability for the price
  • Network bonding
  • Decent built‑in battery

Cons

  • All‑in‑one systems come with more inherent risks
  • Audio sync issues have been reported by some users
  • Fan can get loud

YoloLiv YoloBox Ultra Specifications
Video I/O 4 x HDMI inputs (Type A - Full Size)
1 x HDMI output (Type A - Full Size)
Up to three additional inputs via USB, SRT, or NDI|HX
Audio I/O 1 x 3.5mm TRS stereo line input
1 x 3.5mm mono mic input
1 x 3.5mm TRS stereo headphone output
2 channels of embedded audio per source
2 channels of program audio output
Other I/O 1 x RJ45 Ethernet port
2 x USB 3.0 video inputs (Type A - Full Size)
1 x USB-C video input
1 x USB-C power/charging input
1 x nano SIM card slot
1 x SD memory card slot (supports FAT32, NTFS, and exFAT)
2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi (supports Wi-Fi 6)
Input Formats SMPTE formats up to 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps or 3840 x 2160 at 30 fps
Streaming Formats SMPTE formats up to 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps or 3840 x 2160 at 30 fps
Streaming Protocols RTMP
RTMPS
SRT
Streaming Codecs H.264
H.265 / HEVC
Maximum Streams 6
Maximum Data Rate Not specified
Recording Record program feed and each input/source individually in MP4 to SD card or connected USB-C drive

MediaKind

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The best live streaming platform and hardware encoder combination money can buy.

Learn more at MediaKind

When you start playing with the big kids, there are many excellent enterprise encoders out there - Haivision, AWS Elemental, Blonder Tongue, LTN, and LiveU just to name a few.

But one that often stands out is MediaKind.

They have an impressive list of clients and they offer a variety of excellent hardware encoders, video distribution and management solutions, and more.

If everything so far won't meet your needs, there's a good chance MediaKind will be able to.


Why You Can Trust Me

I started my career over 24 years ago as a freelance live and ENG camera operator for broadcast television networks including ABC, FOX Sports, and Speed Channel. Since then, I have been a part of countless live productions in a variety of environments like international television programs, corporate events, houses of worship, sporting events, concerts and festivals, and more. I was live streaming and working with video/audio over IP networks years before YouTube was a household name. Additionally, I have spent the last decade running this website and consulting with organizations to help them find the right streaming solutions and maximize their results. Learn more about Joel

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