Should we do a standard definition or high definition (SD or HD) broadcast? We get this question all the time and our basic answer is that if you are new to streaming, it is recommended to first optimize a SD broadcast before moving to an HD broadcast. A fully optimized SD broadcast is actually a very high quality broadcast and you may be surprised at how good it looks. Plus, getting going with SD broadcasting is much easier and can be far less expensive than HD broadcasting.
For example, HD broadcasting requires much more than simply having an HD camera. You will also need to bring the HD signal into your encoding computer where HD video capture devices typically can start around $200+. Plus, the encoding computer may need to be a much more powerful 3GHz quad or hex-core processor with 4GB+ of RAM (vs. a 2 GHz dual-core with 2GB of RAM or even less for SD). Lastly, the bandwidth required is much greater at around 3000+ Kbps (vs. about 500 Kbps or even less for SD). There may be other hurdles to overcome as well, but please know we are happy to help review your specific system to help come up with a the best solution. NOTE: If you have HD video equipment already, but wish to broadcast using a simple and inexpensive SD solution, there are likely simple options bring a SD video signal out of your HD equipment to the streaming computer such as the Etekcity® HDMI to AV Composite RCA CVBS Video + Audio Converter.
As for the HD equipment needed, you can build your own HD streaming system by combining your own desired encoding software, encoding computer, video capture device(s), audio capture device(s), camera(s), and other equipment. If that is your plan, we would recommend you start with which encoding software you wish to use (Wirecast is recommended for HD on a Mac, although other encoders may work well too) and then follow those manufacturer recommendations as to which video capture devices work best with their system as well as what the minimum encoding computer specification would be. Or, if you already have some video capture devices, it may be best to check with their manufacturer to see which encoding software works best with their devices for live streaming.
NOTE: With our recommended encoders listed below, we recommend the Magewell XI100DUSB3-HDMI video capture device for use with HD broadcasts.
Flash Media Live Encoder (NOTE: Sometimes FMLE seems to get overloaded when processing HD signals)
If you are looking for a simple "off the shelf" type of system, see the links below the Paladin and 1Beyond StreamMachine (these are PC based options)
Please remember that if you are not sure or are new to streaming, working to optimize a SD stream is recommended. In either case, if you have any questions at all please feel free to contact us by phone or by email through our website contact page or through our Sunday Streams Manager support page.