Matrox Monarch HD Review – Is It Worth the Investment?

Video switchers and video encoders are becoming more and more necessary for live productions. Matrox Monarch HD is a video switcher that has been designed to meet the needs of professionals in this industry, but does it work as promised? Let’s take a closer look!

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monarch hd review is it worth the investment

How To Choose The Right Video Switcher For Your Needs

When it comes to choosing the right video switcher for your needs, there are a few things you need to consider. In this article, we will outline five essential factors you need to take into account when making your purchase.

Factor 1: The Price Of The Video Switcher

When it comes to choosing the right video switcher for your needs, price is definitely a factor to consider. There are a variety of different video switchers available at various price points, so it’s important to find one that fits your budget and meets your specific needs. Some of the more affordable options offer basic features like switching between channels and playing videos, while others offer more comprehensive features like support for 4K resolution and built-in audio/video editing capabilities. It’s also important to consider what features are most important to you when selecting a video switcher. Some users might want a simple option that they can use without having to learn too much about how it works, while others may want more advanced options that allow them to customize their viewing experience. Finally, make sure you take into account how often you plan on using the video switcher. Some models are designed for occasional use, while others are more versatile and can be used more frequently.

Factor 2: The Features Of The Video Switcher

Next, you need to consider the features of the video switcher. This includes things like support for 4K resolution, built-in audio/video editing capabilities, and more. Not all of these features are necessary, but they can definitely add value to your overall experience. Additionally, make sure you take into account how much functionality the video switcher offers relative to its price point. Some options offer a lot of features at a low price point, while others offer less features but cost more.

Factor 3: The Ease Of Use Of The Video Switcher

Ease of use is key when choosing a video switcher. Ideally, the switcher should be easy to navigate and use, with clear indicator lights and buttons. In addition, the user interface should be easy to learn and use. Many video switchers come with presets or features that make them especially easy to use, such as a dubbed over video feature that automatically switches between the original and dubbed videos.

Factor 4: Support and Documentation

When it comes to selecting the right video switcher for your needs, support and documentation are important factors to consider. Make sure to look for a video switcher that has clear and concise documentation available, as this will make using the tool easy. Additionally, make sure the support team is knowledgeable and able to help you with any questions or issues you may have.

Our Matrox Monarch HD Review

Capturing, editing, and streaming live video can be a challenge. 

The Monarch HD is the perfect solution for live streaming and recording your events. This professional-grade hardware encoder/decoder will stream high-quality video in real-time to any device or platform that supports RTSP or RTMP protocols.

Matrox Monarch HD enables you to capture from up to 4 sources at once, including HDMI input or output with audio embedding; analog composite (CVBS) inputs; and S-Video inputs — all of which are converted into H.264 format for efficient encoding via the onboard CPU before being streamed over an IP network using RTSP (TCP) or RTMP (UDP).

You have the option of either recording this incoming stream locally onto a storage medium such as USB flash drive, hard disk drive, SSD, etc., while simultaneously streaming out through your network interface card (NIC), connected directly to a switch port, router, or using an encoder.

What Is the Matrox Monarch HD?

The Matrox Monarch HD is a live-streaming encoder that can encode in resolutions from 92×96 up to 1920×1080. It can also accommodate a data rate maximum of 10 Mbps for streaming and 30 Mbps for recording. With this device, you can transmit a stream to any service provider or streaming server that is RTSP/RTMP-compatible. The unit is also able to store an archived version of the event that was live-streamed to networked storage, and it does this at very high-quality levels. You can also store them on a USB or SD card if you like. These things make the Monarch HD a very practical and efficient option when you need to live stream something.

In addition, you can use NewTek TriCaster, Livestream Studio, or Telestream to store an archival version that is of exceptional quality. The Monarch HD is a standalone device with a dual-stream use case – one for streaming and one for either archive or other production – that is used frequently in live productions of all types. The unit is compact and easy to maneuver, and it comes at a reasonable price of around $995. It uses Linux-driven software and is also about the size of a sandwich, making it very convenient to use and even transport from one location to another. It is a very practical and simple way to live stream or record your performances.

Yet another feature of this device is that it has no moving parts and therefore, it is very quiet. What this means in practical terms is that you can stream from any location that has a cabled Ethernet connection, which means you have a lot of options when it comes to how and where to use the device for live-streaming. While the unit does not have Wi-Fi, it does accept HDMI audio/video input and even has a separate jack for analog audio. With this device, you get both an HDMI output for monitoring and a headphone jack, and you can purchase additional accessories or use third-party converters if you need additional capabilities.

Top Benefits of the Matrox Monarch HD

The Monarch HD streamer/recorder is made with brushed aluminum and is only 5.6” x 4.3” x 1.2” in size. The front of the device has two USB ports and an SD card slot, as well as recording and streaming buttons and status LEDs for power and warning. The back of the device houses a power connector, HDMI in and out, a gigabit RJ45 Ethernet port, and a 1/8-inch analog studio in and out. Thanks to the USB ports, the Monarch HD can capture to either a thumb drive or a USB external hard drive, but it offers much more than this.

Thanks to the fact that you can connect this device to the Internet, you can also record straight to a networked hard drive if you like. One of the reasons the hard drive option is such a smart one is because you get to speed up your workflow quite a bit. The options for recording codecs are limited to MP4 or MOV, but these are the industry standard codec options. This means you’ll be capturing formats that are both well-known and trusted. When it comes to the HDMI output port, you can even monitor what you are streaming and recording. Finally, all eight channels of audio are supported by the pass-through, and all of these things contribute to the practicality of this live-streaming device.

If you’re a house of worship, it offers two advantages these facilities usually consider important – archive and streaming – and it does so at a cost that is very reasonable. Many churches and synagogues are on a budget, but the Monarch HD can meet their needs without breaking the bank. You can even log into a computer and configure it to accept and work with this device, and once all of the steps are taken and saved in the computer, it means that you won’t have to log in next time you want to stream. The buttons and status lights on the front panel will help you utilize the unit and either stream or record your event, making the process both simple and fast.

Streaming is also very easy to accomplish with this device. You simply use the web-based graphical user interface (GUI) and point the device to either your CDN or URL, and then select one of the presets. Some of the protocols that can be used for streaming include RTMP, IPv4 Unicast, RTSP/RTP, and Multi Unicast, and while the H.264 encoder is shared by both capture and streaming, recording quality and upload bandwidth are independent of one another. You can also enjoy resolutions of 1920×1080 @ 60/59.94/50/24/23.98 frames per second (FPS) or 1280×720 @60/59.94/50 FPS, as well as interlaced resolution of 1920x1080i @ 29.97/25 FPS.

Matrox Monarch HD Review of the Pros and Cons

The Matrox Monarch HD streamer/recorder has a 3.2-star rating on Amazon out of a possible five stars, with nearly half of all reviewers giving the device either four or five stars. Below are some of the pros and cons associated with the device.

Pros:

  • Provides resolutions of up to 1920×1080
  • Very quiet with no moving parts
  • Perfect for houses of worship and those on a budget
  • Has two USB ports and an SD card slot
  • Multiple protocols for streaming, include RTMP, RTSP/RTP, Multi Unicast, and others

Cons:

  • Some claim it worked intermittently before breaking altogether
  • Some experienced glitchy audio and patchy video

Customer Reactions

  • “Easy to set up and functions flawlessly.”
  • “Very solid encoding, live-streaming, and recording functions.”
  • “It does everything I need it to do and more.”
  • “I love the fact that it’s so easy to live-stream to YouTube with the touch of a button.”
  • “Great product, great service. I highly recommend this product.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the size of this streamer/recorder?

A: The Monarch HD is 5.6” x 4.3” x 1.2” and weighs just under 11 ounces, making it very compact and lightweight.

Q: What is the maximum data rate for streaming and recording?

A: The Monarch HD accommodates up to 10 Mbps for streaming and up to 30 Mbps for recording, and you can transmit your stream to anything that is RTSP/RTMP-compatible.

Q: What type of HDMI Output does the device have?

A: It has a pass-through output with a total of two frames of latency from Input to Out.

Q: How good are the streaming Internet protocols?

A: You’ll find that the unit provides flexible streaming Internet protocols whether you’re streaming live content to Flash, Wowza, or any other popular CDN.

Q: What is included in the package when you buy this device?

A: You get the device itself, an external power supply, an IEC-C12 power cord, GB/AU adapter, and it all comes with a two-year warranty for convenience.

Matrox MHD/I Specs

HDMI Video InputProgressive:
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 OutputPass-through of video input signal
1 frame delay from input to output
Audio InputProcesses first two channels of audio embedded in HDMI input signal
Unbalanced analog stereo input via 1/8″ jack (3.5 mm)
Line level
Audio OutputPass-through of all embedded audio channels in HDMI signal
Unbalanced analog stereo output via 1/8″ jack (3.5 mm) — pass-through of input Line level
Video EncoderBuilt-in H.264/MPEG-4 Part 10 (AVC)
ResolutionsSelectable encoding resolutions:
96 x 96 to 1920 x 1080
Video Bit Rates100 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 RatesEncode 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 ProfilesBaseline, Main, and High
Encoding Controls2.0, 3.0, 3.1, 4.0, 4.1 level support
IBP GOP size and structure
Variable bit rate support
De-blocking filter
Audio EncoderMPEG-4 AAC
Audio EncodingStandard AAC-LC
Sample Frequency44.1 and 48 kHz when digitized from analog source
Channels2 channels stereo (L/R)
Audio Bit RatesRange from 96 kbps to 256 kbps
ScalerHigh quality multi-tap 10-bit scaler and de-interlacer
Advanced noise filtering
Available to both streaming and recording operations
Recording FormatsMP4 with two channels of embedded AAC audio
Network InterfaceRJ45 connector providing 10/100/1000 Base-T Ethernet with Static or DHCP addressing

Protocols:
RTMP, RTSP/RTP
IPv4 support
Unicast and Multi Unicast
User InterfaceHTTP computer based control via standard PC or Mac web browser
Front panel push buttons for independent streaming and recording Start/Stop control
Storage2x USB 2.0:
Support for NTFS 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

Network mapped drive:
Support for writing to Shared Folders in computers found on a network using NFS or Windows share protocols
Transport and StorageMax 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)
RegulatoryFCC Class B, CE Mark Class B, ACMA C-Tick Mark, VCCI
RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC
PowerLine voltage: 100-240 V AC, 0.5A
Frequency: 50-60 Hz
Input: external AC/DC adapter — IEC320-C14
Output: +5 VDC, 3A max
Total power consumption: 15 W
DIN4 locking power connector
Operating Temperature32 to 104°F (0 to 40°C)
Operating Humidity20 to 80% relative humidity (non-condensing)
Dimensions5.6 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
Weight0.66 lb (300 g) excluding power supply

Packaging Info

Package Weight2.355 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH)14.35 x 5.8 x 3″

Conclusion – Matrox Monarch HD Review

The Matrox Monarch HD live-streaming device is a high-tech, high-quality streamer/recorder that provides excellent audio and visual results and is a compact and lightweight device you can easily transport from one location to another. If you’re a small business or a house of worship on a budget, it’s the perfect streaming device for all of your events.

Matrox Monarch HD Review

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Sources:

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