View Full Version : Using a laptop and external capture device to stream FMLE

08-07-2012, 05:38 PM
Hi all. I have another post about this problem posted here (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?t=122380), but I'm working on another solution that I wanted to ask about here.

We're using a first generation Tricaster. It only streams Windows Media format. Apparently every model since the original will also stream Flash, but this was the only affordable option last year when we were starting our program. So needless to say, Windows Media is quite finicky. It pretty much only works well on PC's. You might eventually get it working half decent on a Mac, and you can forget about iPhone, Android, and other mobile platforms. The company we use to stream the webcast is called Meridix (http://www.meridix.com) and they now have their system ready for Flash/ h.264, that plays on any of the above mentioned platforms.

So I hope to make a solution where I can still use the Tricaster to switch cameras, control graphics, commercials, etc. And offload the streaming to another computer. I'd like to take the composite video and audio output FROM the Tricaster, plug them into the input on some kind of external capture device which is connected to a laptop, and then I can run Flash Media Live Encoder from the laptop using the capture device as the source.

So, I need to know if there is an external capture device that can work with a laptop, rather than being a PCI-E board for a full sized computer. As much equipment as we have, it would be nice to just use a laptop and not another desktop.

I saw the Blackmagic Design Intensity Shuttle (Thunderbolt) mentioned in another thread as working with a Mac mini. For cost reasons, I don't know how expensive of a laptop I can talk my business partner into buying. The 13" MacBook Pro is $1200 and has Thunderbolt, so that might be possible. Does anyone know of a good Windows laptop with Thunderbolt that is better priced (and probably with better specs)?


Otherwise, are there any external cards that will work that use a different technology, like USB 3.0? That would be much easier to find in an affordable PC laptop.

If the expensive laptop turns out to be the barrier, I might try to build in an HTPC form factor and keep it under $500 (excluding the card). If I go this way, what capture card would you recommend-- keeping in the same range as the Intensity Shuttle ($200 - $300)?

I know that computer specs also have to be pretty good. Since we can only do SD, resolution would only be 640 x 480 or 720 x 480 (or something close, I think I may be running in an SD 16:9 resolution). And probably the top we'll look to stream at is around 500 kbps. We had to run off of a 3G Verizon card last year, so we were broadcasting really low bitrate-- like around 100 kbps sometimes. Now we have 4G in the area and hopefully some of the stadiums will have hardline or wifi for us this year. So I think between 300 - 500 kbps is a good speed to shoot for. So any recommendations on what processor I need would be helpful. Intel i5/ i7 preferrably. And would a regular graphics card help in any way in this scenario? I'm thinking it won't, but I still wanted to ask.

I've also posted in the Adobe forums, but I wanted to hear from the smart folks here, too.


08-07-2012, 08:47 PM
In SD, your options for capture devices is quite wide. No need to go to Thunderbolt bandwidth; in SD there are plenty of USB capture devices that should work just fine.

08-07-2012, 10:54 PM
Well for Flash Media Live Encoder it has to be a capture device that can capture in a raw, uncompressed format. So I think the likes of Hauppage & similar type cards aren't compatible. So it's more like Blackmagic and similar "pro" brands.

All DirectShow supported devices that give data in raw format can be used with Flash Media Live Encoder. See the list of capture devices certified for Flash Media Live Encoder.

And here is the page with the list of tested devices. All of the ones on this page that are capture devices (and not something like a webcam) are only PCI-E-- no external ones are listed.

The Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle for either USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt looks close to perfect. The reviews don't make me especially comfortable with it, though.