Matrox Monarch HD

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A great deal of buzz developed when Matrox revealed their first self-contained streaming/recording device, the Monarch HD, at NAB 2013. What followed was a string of awards and recognition from StreamingMedia.com, TV Technology, British Columbia Videographers Association, and Digital Video Magazine. The Monarch HD takes two typically separate tasks—streaming and recording—and brings them together in a single device that weighs less than 0.7 pounds. But what make this product stand out is that streaming and recording are two independent processes, and it can stream and record simultaneously. This gives video producers a compact and easy-to-use way to stream a live event while also recording a higher-quality master version for VOD upload, post-event editing, or archiving.

The Matrox Monarch HD has an HDMI input for accepting video signals from cameras, production switchers, signal converters, or even computers, and generates an H.264-encoded stream compliant with RTSP or RTMP protocols. The device connects to a network via a gigabit Ethernet port. The H.264 encoded video can be recorded in MP4 or MOV files to an SD card, USB drive, or a network-mapped drive on a computer found in the same network as the Monarch HD.

The streaming and recording processes share the H.264 encoder, which has a maximum bit rate of 30Mbps. Because this bit rate is shared, the maximum bit rate for streaming and recording vary, depending on how the device is being used. There are three modes of operation for the Monarch HD: stream only, stream and record, and record only. When in record-only mode, Monarch is capable of recording video at up to 30Mbps at any resolution. When in stream-only mode, Monarch is capable of streaming video at up to 20Mbps at any resolution. In stream-and-record mode, Monarch HD shares its encoding bandwidth to perform the streaming and recording tasks. There are four rules to keep in mind:                        

  • Total combined bitrate of streaming and recording cannot exceed 30Mbps.
  • Streaming bitrate cannot exceed 10Mbps.
  • When streaming and recording resolutions are both 1920 x 1080, encoding parameters must be identical.
  • When streaming and recording resolutions and/or encoding parameters are independent, streaming resolution is limited to 1280 x 720.

For example, a user may wish to stream content to Ustream at 720p, but record his 1920 x 1080 at full resolution, at as high a quality as possible. The Monarch HD 720p streaming preset encodes the video at 3Mbps. There would be enough encoding bandwidth left to record the video at 27Mbps.

The Monarch HD gives you the option of recording/streaming the first two channels of embedded audio from the HDMI input, or two channels of analog audio. Both audio sources are encoded into two channels of AAC audio, which is embedded into the H.264 stream. Please note that audio from the HDMi input and from the analog input cannot be mixed together, so it’s one or the other. For audio monitoring, all eight channels of embedded audio from the HDMI input are passed through to the HDMI loopthrough output. You can also choose to use the analog audio output for external audio monitoring.

Whether you’re a video producer live-streaming a concert or a gamer showing off your skills, the Monarch HD lets you reach your audience easily. Send live content to Flash or Wowza servers, or any of the popular content-delivery networks (CDNs). Streaming can be done in either RTSP protocol, for uplink to your streaming provider or CDN, or in RTSP protocol for internal streaming within your facility. The Monarch HD does not support HDCP-encrypted signals, so you won’t be able to stream or record from your HDTV or Blu-ray player.

When it comes to recording, the Monarch HD gives you the option to record your H.264 video as either .MP4 or .MOV files, for upload to CDNs or importing into NLE software. As previously mentioned, there are also several recording-media options available when using the Monarch HD. Two USB 2.0 ports let you record directly to a USB thumb drive or external hard drive. For an ultra-compact solution ideal for on-location recording, an SD port allows you to record to SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards. A third recording option uses Windows Share protocols and allows you to record to shared folders on the same network as the Monarch HD. This is convenient when multiple users need to have access to the footage.

Because streaming and recording are independent of each other, you can start and stop recording at any time during the streaming session without affecting the stream itself. File sizes are only limited by your available storage size or your storage file system. The Monarch HD supports NTFS or FAT32 formatted USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 storage devices, or SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards. The FAT32 file system has a file-size limit of 4GB. Only SDXC cards that are formatted in the NTFS file-format system will work with the Monarch HD, as the newer exFAT file system is not supported.

The compact design of the Monarch HD makes it as comfortable on a desktop as in a rack. Up to three units can fit into a single 1RU tray. The device is fanless, so it operates quietly, and consumes little power. For easy access, the storage ports are in the front of the device, and consist of one SD card slot and two USB 2.0 ports. Operation controls and a stream and record button are also found on the front of the device. On the rear you will find the power connector, gigabit Ethernet port, HDMI input, HDMI loopthrough output, 1/8” analog audio input and output, and a reset button. For users working with feeds for professional devices with SDI outputs, Matrox offers the MC-100 Dual SDI to HDMI converter.

The Monarch HD can function as a stand-alone device and doesn’t need a computer to function. All it needs is power, an Ethernet connection, and an HDMI input, and it is ready to stream. Add a storage device and it’s ready to record. However, for control beyond just the stream and record buttons on the device, each Monarch HD features its own IP address and can be controlled using the Matrox Command Center Web interface. The web interface allows you to control your Monarch HD from any computer or mobile device with a web browser, as long as it is on the same network.

From a single web page, Command Center gives you complete control of your device. The interface lets you check the status of your device, start and stop recording/streaming, adjust resolution and bit-rate settings, as well as providing various administrative tools. You can select the best bit rate and resolution based on the bandwidth available, or use one of the useful presets provided. You can also set your own resolutions and bit rates and save them as custom profiles. Multiple profiles can be saved and each profile can be recalled and loaded instantly. For easy deliver to your desired server, the Monarch HD also supports the loading of Flash Media Server XML configuration.

For more information about these and other products, please stop by the B&H SuperStore in New York City or contact a sales professional over the phone at 1-800-606-6969 or online via Live Chat.

HDMI Video Input Progressive:
1920 x 1080 @ 60/59.94/50/24/23.98 fps
1280 x 720 @ 60/59.94/50 fps

Interlaced:
1920 x 1080i @ 29.97/25 fps

Video input format is auto-detected 

HDMI Video Output Pass-through of video input signal
2 frame delay from input to output 
Audio Input Processes first two channels of audio embedded in HDMI input signal
Unbalanced analog stereo input via 1/8" jack (3.5mm)
Line level 
Audio Output Pass-through of all embedded audio channels in HDMI signal
Unbalanced analog stereo output via 1/8" jack (3.5mm) — pass-through of input Line level 
Video Encoder Built-in H.264/MPEG-4 Part 10 (AVC)
Resolutions Selectable encoding resolutions:
96 x 96 to 1920 x 1080 
Video Bit Rates 100 kbps to 30 Mbps for recording
100 kbps to 20 Mbps for streaming

When both streaming and recording resolutions are above 1280 x 720, the encode parameters must be identical for both processes. Independent record and streaming settings are available when either the streaming or the recording resolution is 1280 x 720 or below.

Encode Frame Rates Encode frame rates representing 1:1, 1/4, and 1/4 of the input frames rates are supported

The maximum encoded frame rate is 30 fps when input resolution is 1920 x 1080 

Encoding Profiles Baseline, Main, and High
Encoding Controls 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, 4.0, 4.1 level support
IBP GOP size and structure
Variable bit rate support
De-blocking filter 
Audio Encoder MPEG-4 AAC 
Audio Encoding Standard AAC-LC
Sample Frequency 44.1 and 48 kHz when digitized from analog source
Channels 2 channels stereo (L/R)
Audio Bit Rates  Range from 96 kbps to 256 kbps
Scaler High quality multi-tap 10-bit scaler and de-interlacer
Advanced noise filtering
Available to both streaming and recording operations 
Recording Formats MP4 & MOV with two channels of embedded AAC audio
Network Interface RJ45 connector providing 10/100/1000 Base-T Ethernet with Static or DHCP addressing

Protocols:
RTMP, RTSP/RTP
IPv4 support
Unicast and Multi Unicast 

User Interface  HTTP computer based control via standard PC or Mac web browser
Front panel push buttons for independent streaming and recording Start/Stop control 
Storage 2x USB 2.0:
Support for NTFS (3.1) & FAT32 file system
Monarch HD will support writing to USB 3.0 devices at USB 2.0 speeds

1x SD card slot:
Supports SD and SDHC cards
Only NTFS formatted SDXC cards are supported

Network mapped drive:
Support for writing to shared folders in computers found on a network using Windows Share protocols. 

Transport and Storage Max. operating altitude: 9,842 ft (3,000 m)
Max. transport altitude: 39,370 ft (12,000 m)
Storage humidity: 5 to 95% relative humidity (non-condensing) 
Regulatory  FCC Class B, CE Mark Class B, ACMA C-Tick Mark, VCCI
RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC 
Power Line voltage: 100-240 V AC, 0.5A
Frequency: 50-60 Hz
Input: external AC/DC adapter -- IEC320-C14
Output: +5VDC, 3A max
Total power consumption: 15W
DIN4 locking power connector 
Operating Temperature 32 to 104°F (0 to 40°C) 
Operating Humidity 20 to 80% relative humidity (non-condensing)
Dimensions 5.6 x 4.3 x 1.2" (14.2 x 10.9 x 3 cm)
5.6 x 4.4 x 1.2" (14.2 x 11.2 x 3 cm) with optional SD card inserted 
Weight  0.66 lb (300 g) excluding power supply