B&H Review: Livestream Studio HD31

Livestream Studio HD31

In 2006, Google purchased YouTube for 1.65 billion dollars. Today, more than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month. The popularity of streaming video ranks the medium among the most dominant media outlets in the world. Of course, YouTube is just one provider, but was among the first to inspire content creators and audiences alike by empowering anyone—with a few simple tools—to upload and broadcast their videos to the world.

"Studio HD31 allows users to utilize up to five camera sources and stream live to in-venue screens or to the Web, via a built-in 480p single-bitrate encoder."

Broadcasting live events, however, is still largely dominated by traditional television networks, but again, things are changing. Founded in 2007, Livestream is on a mission to democratize live video broadcasting by providing the tools to bring every event live, online. That is the company’s vision for the future and, if you are even remotely interested in getting into live streaming, you will definitely want to check out Livestream’s comprehensive lineup of hardware and software. It might be easier than you think.

Livestream’s Studio HD31 is its entry-level, live production switcher. Studio HD31 allows users to utilize up to five camera sources and stream live to in-venue screens or to the Web, via a built-in 480p single-bitrate encoder. This table-top or rackmount unit includes a Livestream Studio keyboard, a Livestream mouse, and a full version of Livestream Studio software. The Studio HD31 is also compatible with Livestream’s Studio Surface, a modular hardware control interface with the look and feel of a traditional broadcast control board.

The main unit features three HDMI/HD-SDI inputs and support for up to two wireless camera sources. Compatible wireless sources include Google Glass, iOS devices, Android Devices, desktop and webcams, and the Livestream Broadcaster. The Livestream Broadcaster is a device that transforms practically any camera with an HDMI output into a wireless video source. The Studio HD31 also has two built-in media players for integrating previously recorded material into your program, as well. Other built-in features include an audio mixer, a graphics editor, a video format converter, and a 2TB hard drive that can record up to 40 hours of broadcast quality program output.

The Studio HD31 supports up to two monitors via DVI and HDMI connections, and the software’s multi-view functions allow you to see all your camera and media sources with full field-rate display, tally, input labels, and audio levels. The user interface also includes an integrated graphics editor, which supports text, transparent images, live picture-in-picture, countdowns, and a range of graphic effects including drop shadows, borders, crops, and more. Users can overlay graphics in the mix or downstream as layers on top of the program, with transparency. There is also a range of built-in transitions, including cut, dissolve, and several different wipe patterns.

The Studio HD31’s built-in encoder utilizes the H.264 video codec to enable live streaming. The system supports not only Livestream’s own streaming service but also a wide range of other providers, including Ustream, YouTube Live, Adobe Media Server, Akamai, Wowza Streaming Server, Zixi, or any RTMP compatible server or content-delivery network. It should be noted, however, that live streaming with the HD31 is limited to 480p. Users who are interested in streaming in HD may want to consider Livestream’s Studio HD51.

Users who subscribe to a Livestream Platform Enterprise plan can also integrate ads via their Google DFP account. Google’s DFP (DoubleClick for Publishers) is a free ad-management service that helps users sell, schedule, deliver, and measure their digital ad inventory. Together, these services allow Livestream Studio users to manually trigger mid-roll advertisements.

The Studio HD31 also supports live video output via SDI or HDMI. This allows users to display their program on in-venue screens or complement their workflow with additional graphics generators, encoders, recorders or other external video hardware. This is a great feature for schools, churches, sports venues, or really any type of event that also has a live audience present.

Livestream’s Studio HD31 is surprisingly full-featured for an entry-level system. Of course, for more demanding applications, you may also want to consider Livestream’s HD51, HD510, and HD1710 systems. For more information on these and other Livestream products, please visit the B&H SuperStore in New York City or contact our experts online via Live Chat.