Vector illustration of a video production switcher

The Best Video Switchers (2024)

This is a complete list of video production switchers and vision mixers I use and trust for television shows, live streaming, corporate events, houses of worship, corporate meetings, concerts, courtrooms, government, sports, theater, podcasts, and other multicam broadcasts.

Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio HD8

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The best overall video production switcher for most users.

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Blackmagic Design combined the best of the ATEM Television Studio Pro HD and the best of the ATEM Mini series to give us this all new powerhouse.

And buckle up for the list of highlights, because it's a DOOZY!

It offers:

  • 8 x 3G-SDI inputs, each with standards conversion and re-sync
  • 9 x 3G-SDI program outputs
  • 2 x 3G-SDI aux outputs
  • 1 x multiview output via both 3G-SDI and HDMI
  • 6 x keyers (4 upstream and 2 downstream)
  • 1 x SuperSource
  • Full hardware control surface
  • Internal live stream RTMP encoding
  • Master program recording via USB-C to external drives
  • USB-C webcam output
  • Reference input and output
  • Timecode input and output
  • Redundant power
  • 2 x XLR analog audio inputs
  • 2 x RCA analog audio inputs
  • 4 channels of embedded audio on all SDI inputs
  • 32 channels of MADI audio input and output
  • 58 total channels of audio mixing
  • Audio effects including 6 band parametric EQ, expander, gate, compressor, and limiter
  • A new modular card design making repair much easier on the end user

I could keep going, but I think you get the point by now.

This unit packs a 💥🥊! And all for a very reasonable price.


Want ISO recording for every input in addition to master program recording? Then check out the Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio HD8 ISO.

Want 4K capability? Then check out the Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio 4K8.


Pros

  • Best value all-in-one switcher with an incorporated full control panel
  • Modular card replacement makes repairs much quicker and easier
  • Blackmagic's expansive ecosystem and accessory market

Cons

  • Master program recording is only possible in low-bandwidth H.264
  • Only 2 AUX outputs can be a bit limiting for many scenarios
  • At least one HDMI input would be nice

ATEM Television Studio HD8 Specifications
Video I/O 8 x 3G-SDI inputs with standards conversion and re-sync
9 x 3G-SDI PGM outputs
2 x 3G-SDI AUX outputs
1 x 3G-SDI multiview output
1 x HDMI multiview output (Type A - Full Size)
Audio I/O 2 x XLR balanced analog audio inputs
2 x RCA stereo analog audio inputs
1 x BNC MADI digital audio input (32 channels)
4 channels of embedded audio on every SDI input
4 x 1/4-inch analog audio outputs
1 x BNC MADI digital audio output (up to 50 active channels)
2 channels of embedded audio on every SDI output
Other I/O 4 x RJ45 ports with internet network switch (supports 10/100/1000 BASE-T)
2 x USB-C ports (software control, webcam output, external drive recording, and updates)
1 x RJ-12 port (supports RS-422 remote control)
1 x BNC timecode input
1 x BNC reference input
1 x BNC timecode output
1 x BNC reference output
Input Formats 720p, 1080i, or 1080p SMPTE broadcast formats
Output Formats 720p, 1080i, or 1080p SMPTE broadcast formats
Multiviewers 1 (same for both 3G-SDI and HDMI outputs)
Recording 2 x USB-C supports USB 2.0 for external media to direct record a single H.264 MP4 file at the streaming quality setting and at the ATEM video standard with AAC audio
Streaming 1 x stream using Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) over ethernet or a shared mobile internet connection over USB‑C

With the most I/O money can buy today, the ATEM 2 M/E Constellation HD hits a huge sweet spot that covers many situations.

Notable highlights include:

  • 2 independent M/Es, each with multiple keyers and DVEs
  • 20 x 3G-SDI inputs, each including standards conversion and re-sync
  • 12 x 3G-SDI independently assignable aux outputs
  • 2 independent multiviewers, each with multiple window configurations
  • USB-C webcam output

Just to give you an idea of how much you get for your money with this switcher: you would have previously had to spend nearly three times more on an ATEM to get even close to the same amount of I/O. And you still would only have gotten about half as many aux outputs!

You can essentially consider this a full 2 M/E switcher PLUS a 20x10 router all in one unit.

Yeah, it's pretty 😵‍💫.

If you are looking for a highly versatile switcher with gobs of I/O (have I mentioned that yet?), look no further!


On a tighter budget or just don't need that much I/O? Check out the Blackmagic ATEM 1 M/E Constellation HD.

Need a little bit more capability? Check out the Blackmagic ATEM 4 M/E Constellation HD.

Need 4K UHD or 8K capability? Check out the Blackmagic ATEM 4 M/E Constellation 4K and the Blackmagic ATEM Constellation 8K.


Pros

  • A plethora of I/O for the price
  • Every output is an AUX
  • 2 independent multiviewers
  • Blackmagic's expansive ecosystem and accessory market

Cons

  • No control surface
  • No external timecode support
  • At least one HDMI input would be nice

Blackmagic ATEM 2 M/E Constellation HD Specifications
Video I/O 20 x 3G-SDI inputs with standards conversion and re-sync
12 x 3G-SDI independent assignable outputs
2 x 3G-SDI dedicated multiview outputs
Audio I/O 2 x 1/4-inch analog audio inputs
2 channels of embedded audio per SDI input
Other I/O 1 x USB-C port (software control, webcam output, external drive recording, and updates)
1 x BNC reference input
1 x RJ45 Ethernet port (control)
1 x RJ45 talkback port
1 x XLR 5-pin talkback port
Input Formats 720p, 1080i, or 1080p SMPTE broadcast formats
Output Formats 720p, 1080i, or 1080p SMPTE broadcast formats
Multiviewers 2
Recording N/A
Streaming N/A
Recommended Control Surfaces Blackmagic ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel 10
Blackmagic ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel 20
Blackmagic ATEM 2 M/E Advanced Panel

Blackmagic ATEM Mini Pro

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The best budget video production switcher.

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If you only consider the cost per input and output, the ATEM Mini Pro is already near the top. But once you add internal recording and live streaming capabilities then you get the absolute best bang for the buck by a long shot.

Blackmagic simply nailed it with this box, there is no denying it.

It's like the tech version of the Costco hot dog (IYKYK). Hallelujah, amen! 🙌

It offers:

  • 4 x HDMI inputs, each with re-sync as well as frame rate and format conversion
  • 1 x HDMI aux output that can be used for program, preview, or multiview
  • Internal live stream RTMP encoding
  • Master program recording via USB-C to external drives
  • USB-C webcam output
  • Hardware control surface with access to most features and sources
  • 2 x 3.5mm stereo analog audio inputs
  • 2 channels of embedded audio on all HDMI inputs

And all for such a staggeringly low price!

This unit is a great fit for smaller low-budget productions, classrooms, conference rooms, personal streaming systems, and more.

Just be sure to give it ample space and air flow, and place it on a raised stand or a cooling pad for best results.


Want more I/O or the ability to record every input in addition to program? Check out the Blackmagic ATEM Mini Pro ISO and the Blackmagic ATEM Mini Extreme ISO.

Want SDI instead of HDMI (which I recommend)? Check out the Blackmagic ATEM SDI Pro ISO and the Blackmagic ATEM SDI Extreme ISO.

The Blackmagic ATEM SDI is also an option. However, be aware that it does not offer the same internal recording or live streaming features that the ATEM Mini Pro offers. It is only a hardware switcher with a USB-C webcam connection.In general, this model is usually not a great fit unless you just need a cheap solution to switch between a few SDI sources to a single destination.


Important Clarifications

I only recommend the ATEM Mini Pro if your final destinations are live streaming and/or recording.

If you use the only HDMI output for a preview or multiview (which I recommend doing), then you will not have the ability to simultaneously get a local program video output.

So if you ever anticipate needing to send a program feed to local displays for things like IMAG (live video shown on screens in the same room as the action), overflow venues, a hardware video recorder, or digital signage then this will not be a good fit.

I also do not recommend using HDMI extenders at all with these switchers. There are way too many issues with extenders using the wrong color space or not conforming to other standards. Therefore, I recommend keeping HDMI cables short (ideally 10'/3m or less), using AOC (fiber optic) HDMI cables for anything over 15'/5m, or converting to/from SDI for long cable runs.


Pros

  • Price
  • Frame rate and format conversion on every input
  • Physical controls don't require constant computer/software control to do common tasks
  • Blackmagic's expansive ecosystem and accessory market

Cons

  • Only one video output
  • Output, streaming, and recording is limited to 1080p formats only
  • Lower cost means less reliability

Blackmagic ATEM Mini Pro Specifications
Video I/O 4 x HDMI inputs with standards conversion and re-sync (Type A - Full Size)
1 x HDMI output (Type A - Full Size)
Audio I/O 2 x 3.5mm stereo unbalanced analog audio inputs
2 channels of embedded audio per HDMI input
Other I/O 1 x RJ45 Ethernet port (control and streaming)
1 x USB-C port (software control, webcam output, external drive recording, panel connection, and updates)
Input Formats 720p, 1080i, or 1080p SMPTE broadcast formats and computer input resolutions
Output Formats 1080p SMPTE broadcast formats only
Multiviewers 1
Recording 1 x USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 expansion port for external media to direct record a single H.264 MP4 file with AAC audio at the ATEM video standard
Streaming 1 x stream using Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) over ethernet or a shared mobile internet connection over USB‑C

Ross Carbonite Ultra

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The best video production switcher money can buy.

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In all honesty, I could stick almost any of the production switchers from the major broadcast brands like Ross, Grass Valley, Sony, Panasonic, and For.A in this spot.

But, let's be real... If you're reading this list then there's a pretty high likelihood you're not dealing with a 5-figure or 6-figure line item in your budget just for a switcher. If you are though, here's to you! 🍻 Go with one of these brands and you'll be golden.

However, if you are working with a decent-sized budget and want a bit more polish and reliability than the rest of this list, then the Ross Carbonite Ultra is just about the best bang for the buck out there.

Ross support is one of the best in the industry and their switchers have always been built to last.

Fun fact: The first production switcher I ever used was a Ross Synergy II back in 2000. It lasted in full-time use for more than 17 years.


Pros

  • Reliability
  • Versatility
  • Top-notch customer support from Ross

Cons

  • Price point puts it out of reach of many budgets
  • Significant learning curve for new users

Ross Carbonite Ultra Specifications
Video I/O 24 x 3G-SDI inputs (SD/HD model)
18 x 12G-SDI inputs (UHD model)
10 x 3G-SDI assignable outputs (SD/HD model)
10 x 12G-SDI assignable outputs (UHD model)
2 x 3G-SDI dedicated multiviewer outputs (SD/HD model)
1 x 12G-SDI dedicated multiviewer output (UHD model)
Audio I/O RAVE Audio enables audio mixing and processing capabilities including:
16 embedded audio channels per SDI input/output
Up to 24 analog audio inputs with external breakout modules (3G-SDI only)
Up to 15 analog audio outputs with external breakout modules (3G-SDI only)
Up to 3 AES Stereo audio inputs with external breakout modules (3G-SDI only)
Up to 3 AES Stereo audio outputs with external breakout modules (3G-SDI only)
Other I/O 1 x BNC reference input
1 x BNC reference output
1 x RJ45 Ethernet port (control)
1 x RS-422 editor port
1 x XLR 5-pin talkback port
Input Formats 480i, 576i, 720p, 1080i, 1080PsF, 1080p, or 2160p SMPTE broadcast formats
Output Formats 480i, 576i, 720p, 1080i, 1080PsF, 1080p, or 2160p SMPTE broadcast formats
Multiviewers 4 (SD/HD model - up to 16 windows each)
2 (UHD model - up to 16 windows each)
Recording N/A
Streaming N/A

Why You Can Trust Me

I started my career over 23 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 sat behind many different video production switchers in a variety of environments like international television programs, corporate events, houses of worship, sporting events, concerts and festivals, and more. I've used most of the major brands including Blackmagic, Ross, Grass Valley, Sony, For.A, Analog Way, Roland, Panasonic, Datavideo, and NewTek. Additionally, I have spent the last decade running this website and consulting with organizations to help them find the right cameras and maximize their results. Learn more about Joel

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