This is my first-look preview article about Blackmagic’s new “Web Presenter HD”, more appropriately called a standalone web encoder. (Full review coming very soon!) Who needs a standalone web encoder? I suppose it’s anybody who wants to webcast live —or someone who wants to perform live broadcast contribution to a TV studio or TV station via the Internet as part of a TV show. Either way, a standalone web encoder can be connected to the output of a video mixer (switcher) which lacks a built-in encoder… or a software based video mixer whose computer is too busy —or not powerful enough to handle the task well without overheating and/or dropping frames. Of course, it could also be any standalone camera without built-in streaming capabilities. Despite its inappropriate name, the new “Web Presenter HD” from Blackmagic is a very interesting standalone web streaming encoder for under US$500. But wait: Did I bury the lead? The Blackmagic Web Presenter HD can even fix at least one type of shyness from a camera or a switcher (while it’s doing its official task of encoding and streaming)! Here’s my first-look preview.
The “Web Presenter HD” is a new, standalone web encoder with a retail price of US$495. I say that it is standalone in general operation, although it must be connected to a computer during initial setup to add credentials to a particular live streaming platform (i.e. Facebook, Twitch, Twitter/Periscope, YouTube or even Restream.io for simulcasting on multiple platforms) or to perform firmware updates. It weighs 750 grams (1.66 pounds) and measures 17.5 x 14 x 4.45 centimeters (6.9 x 5.51 x 1.75 inches) which also makes it fit in half of a rack mount, if desired. (For that, Blackmagic offers the optional Teranex Mini Rack Shelf for US$109.) The Web Presenter HD can be powered either via 12 volts DC (1 x 4-Pin XLR) or via 100-240 volts AC (21 watts) using a standard mains cable via a standard NEMA 5-15R Input. Please note that like some other AC-powered Blackmagic devices, no AC mains cable is included with the Web Presenter HD: This is presumably to make it universal, with a single version to be distributed worldwide.
Unlike all of the ATEM Mini switchers available as of March 2021 (of which none can accept any type of 4K signal on their inputs), the Web Presenter HD can fortunately accept 4K UHD formats in its input, although its encoded output will be downscaled to 1080p or lower. In fact, that is one of different ways that the Web Presenter HD can solve shyness, as I’ll cover in the upcoming full review. The video input from your source (i.e. video mixer/switcher or camera) is SDI only. If your source only offers HDMI, you can convert it to SDI with an inexpensive converter box.
The Web Presenter HD can connect to the Internet via two possible connections.
- Via RJ-45 ethernet 10/100/1000BaseT (aka gigabit ethernet)
- Via USB-C to a smartphone using tethering (or via an adapter to Lightning)
With the available presets, you can encode at the following bit rates:
- HyperDeck High 45 to 70 Mb/s
- HyperDeck Medium 25 to 45 Mb/s
- HyperDeck Low 12 to 20 Mb/s
- Streaming High 6 to 9 Mb/s
- Streaming Medium 4.5 to 7 Mb/s
- Streaming Low 3 to 4.5 Mb/s
You will notice that each setting has 2 data rates mentioned. The lower number is used for the lower frame rates like ≈23.976p, 24p, 25p and ≈29.97p, while the higher data rates are used when you are running higher frame rates of 50p and ≈59.94p.
In addition to the inboard 2.2 inch display, which shows basic status information of a live broadcast, much more information is available via the HDMI output which you can connect to an external monitor.
Be sure to be on my free mailing list to be advised when I publish the review, including details about how it can solve shyness.
(Re-)Subscribe for upcoming articles, reviews, radio shows, books and seminars/webinars
Stand by for upcoming articles, reviews, books and courses. Sign up to my free mailing list by clicking here. If you previously subscribed to my bulletins and no longer receive them, you must re-subscribe due to new compliance to GDPR. Most of my current books are at books.AllanTepper.com, and my personal website is AllanTepper.com. Also visit radio.AllanTepper.com.
Si deseas suscribirte (o volver a suscribirte) a mi lista en castellano, visita aquí. Si prefieres, puedes suscribirte a ambas listas (castellano e inglés).
No manufacturer is specifically paying Allan Tépper or TecnoTur LLC to write this article or the mentioned books. Some of the other manufacturers listed above have contracted Tépper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. Many of the manufacturers listed above have sent Allan Tépper review units, including Blackmagic. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur , BeyondPodcasting CapicúaFM or TuSaludSecreta programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs. Allan Tépper’s opinions are his own. Allan Tépper is not liable for misuse or misunderstanding of information he shares.
Copyright and use of this article
The articles contained in the TecnoTur channel in ProVideo Coalitionmagazine are copyright Allan Tépper/TecnoTur LLC, except where otherwise attributed. Unauthorized use is prohibited without prior approval, except for short quotes which link back to this page, which are encouraged!