Written by StreamYard
Best Video Switchers For Live Streaming
While a basic single-camera setup works well for most live streamers, some live streaming pros will use a multicam setup to enhance their production. This allows for using different camera angles, adding transition between cuts and more.
It doesn’t matter what niche you’re in – live streaming requires audiences’ attention, and using a multiple-camera setup may help you with that. But with multiple cameras comes the challenge of cutting between shots during your broadcast.
Think about it. Receiving videos from all the cameras and then streaming them at the right time may require some additional assistance.
And, that’s what a video switcher offers.
Now, let’s take a look at how this fantastic tool is a production setup must-have.
What Is A Video Switcher & Why Do You Need It For Live Streaming?
There are different types of video switchers. For example, StreamYard can act as a software-based video switcher to jump between different cameras, guests, shared screens and videos.
In this blog post, we're going to look at hardware video switchers, which you can use to expand the number of cameras or devices that you can switch between, add effects and more.
A video switcher or a video mixer is a hardware device or a software program that combines various video sources (for example, cameras, computers, etc.) and allows the user to decide which source to display on the monitor and when.
That said, a switcher comes in handy when you’re capturing multiple video or audio sources and want to switch between them during a live stream effortlessly. You may go live without a switcher, but it makes things easier – which is a must if your focus is on forming a connection with your audience.
Of course, you need to be accurate when switching the shots – which may even require additional help. The overall cost of maintaining a high-quality, multi-camera live stream comes out to be significantly less when you include a video switcher in your live production setup.
In addition to adding production value to a live broadcast, some video switchers can add transitions, lower-thirds, display videos and more, which helps to liven up the stream.
Let’s dive deeper into the world of switchers and learn how to find the best video switchers for live streaming.
Buying a Video Switcher for Live Streaming – Things to Consider
Video is at the heart of every live stream. Here’s how you can level it up by considering the following things while picking the right video switcher:
If you want to incorporate multiple cameras for your streaming. That’s why it’s a must to have a video switcher that lets you connect several video input sources. If you are a beginner or your live production setup is pretty basic, then two to three inputs might be sufficient for you. If you are running a brand that goes live often or maintaining a high-end video production setup, consider investing in a switcher with four or more inputs.
Paying attention to the input type is equally important here. Whether you want SDI, HDMI, or wireless inputs, your chosen video switcher should have what you need. Of course, you can also use a switcher that comes with all three types of connections to meet future requirements.
Just like the input, the output is also (if not equally) important while choosing a video switcher. Apart from giving a preview, the output also influences a live broadcast’s quality – especially if it supports multi preview on a single screen. When you can see the subject from various angles, you can easily and quickly select the angle you want to go live with.
All live streamers seek high video quality to impress their audience. The good news is most switchers today offer video quality that goes up to 1080p. Some even support 720p and 1080i streaming. So, based on the quality you require, you can choose a video switcher.
We can’t discuss the awesomeness of a video switcher without touching on the availability of an LCD screen. An inbuilt LCD screen means you can preview your videos on the switcher. Some LCD screens also feature touchscreen capability that will let you easily control the switcher right from the screen.
Not all live content creators are huge fans of effects, but they can enhance your live streams. If you do want effects, you'll be glad to know that some video switchers come with the feature to create your own effects. There may an additional cost.
If you’re looking for more than just button controls, some manufacturers also offer apps that help with easy access through your phone, computer, or tablet. And some advanced models also come with voice control functionality, which means all you need to do is speak, and the task will be done.
It might seem like a trivial function to some, but having backlit buttons on a video switcher helps you know the input source that’s live and locate the control buttons quickly – a live stream producer often works in the dark or in low light setups, so having backlit buttons helps.
As with most of the other factors, a video switcher’s price drastically impacts the purchase decision. Basic video switchers will be a great pick if you’re on a budget. But if budget is no constraint, you can easily find a high-end model with effects and advanced controls.
Best Video Switchers for Live Streaming
Input Ports: 4 | Video Quality: 1080p/1080i/720p | Price: $595.00
With an easy-to-use interface and support for action cameras, video cameras, smartphones, tablets, computers, and other HDMI devices, there’s no better video switcher to rank No.1 on this list.
The V-1HD from Roland is an incredible device that features two effects knobs, one remote control via USB or MIDI connection, 4 HDMI inputs, 2 HDMI outputs, and a Full HD 1080p video quality. You also get Software Control using the V-1HD RCS Application, which is available for Mac, PC, and iPad.
It also comes with large backlit buttons for hassle-free operation and an auto-scan function that helps switch the video automatically across the inputs. Then there’s a freeze button to temporarily pause the incoming video and an output fade function to fade the output video to black or white.
For its crystal-clear video and a nice set of features, it’s one of the best video switchers under $1,000.
Input Ports: 4 | Video Quality: 1080i/ 720p/ 1080p | Price: $899.00
Imagine a video switcher that you just need to tap to start your live stream in Full HD. Well, that’s what the YoloBox offers. A studio and play device, it lets you encode, switch, monitor and record as you enjoy your Full HD Live Streams with it.
With YoloBox, you can live stream to three destinations at once. And its touch screen functionality allows for easy control. In addition, you can switch up to 6 video sources simultaneously.
Moreover, you can easily give your live broadcasts a professional look with customized picture-in-picture (PiP) options. If you’re looking for a video switcher that offers a complete branding solution for your live streams, the YoloBox, with its editable built-in lower-thirds templates, looks like a great choice.
Input Ports: 4 | Video Quality: 1080p | Price: $299.00
Now, here's something for those who need a video switcher that does its work without costing a fortune. The FEELWORLD LIVEPRO L1 has 4 HDMI inputs, a USB3.0 interface, and 1 HDMI output. And its 1080p video quality ensures high-quality images for impressive broadcasts.
While its compact design and a screw hole make it easier to be fixed on a tripod, its effects make the live streams look better. The LIVEPRO L1 can preview real-time monitoring on six pictures and lets you choose your preferred transition effect from the SW button.
Pick this one if you’re looking for a superb device under $500. You won’t regret the decision.
Input Ports: 4 | Video Quality: 1080p60 | Price: $295.00
The Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini needs no introduction. It is easy to set up and use and the ATEM Mini allows you to switch up to 8 high-quality video camera inputs live for awe-inspiring images. Plus, you can connect a computer for PowerPoint slides, display a mobile device or tablet, or even connect gaming consoles.
There’s also a built-in DVE for stunning picture-in-picture effects and some of the most exciting video effects that you can get from a video switcher. And it even has secret broadcast features to level up your production.
It might be a compact video switcher, but it’s packed with all the features one needs to get their live streaming game on point.
Input Ports: 4 | Video Quality: 1080p | Price: $478.99
The ATEM156 from SEETEC is an ideal video switcher for those looking for simple functions yet outstanding performance. It comes with 4 separated HDMI buttons and 4 shortcut keys to switch the HDMI signal source quickly. You can connect up to 4 cameras, computers, game consoles, and other equipment.
Another pro is its 15.6-inch IPS LCD panel with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a contrast ratio of 800:1. It also features an LED backlight with a brightness of 250cd/m², making it easier for you to capture video in high quality. And the wide 170° viewing angle works in both horizontal and vertical directions, assisting you in selecting a viewing position that provides you optimum comfort as you stream live.
If you need one of the best video switchers with an LCD screen under $500, this is your best bet.
Input Ports: 8 | Video Quality: 2160p60 | Price: $2,995.00
Another stellar device from Blackmagic Design, the ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K is a feature-rich video switcher. It is equipped with 8 independent 12G-SDI inputs and is best known for its exceptional video quality. Well, it can handle all popular HD and Ultra HD formats up to 2160p60 - which is incredible!
And for the advanced features seekers, this one also has an upgraded Fairlight audio mixer that features dynamics, dual mono channel split, 6 band parametric EQ, and more.
Additionally, the 4K model includes standards conversion on each input. This means you can easily plug in an HD/Ultra HD input source, and it will still work wonders. Apart from seeing all your video sources on a single screen, it also lets you see tally indicators, preview, graphics, and final program output at the same time.
It may come at a premium price point, but its remarkable features, including the ATEM Advanced Chroma Keyer, Ultra HD multiview, and motion clips, make it absolutely worth the cost.
Input Ports: 10 | Video Quality: 1080p60 | Price: $3,600.00
Need a customizable video switcher? Then, the LUMANTEK ez-Pro VS10 could be the one you seek. From the option to choose from various layouts, to display the multiview screen, to configuring your own layout, the ez-Pro VS10 offers it all.
It features a touch screen for better control. And you can also assign video sources to console buttons for better accessibility. Additionally, you get an intuitive LCD touchscreen and PTZ control through Joy-stick control. And all the input ports have internal scalers to adjust the view freely using the touch screen menu.
Another advantage for live streamers is that this LUMANTEK model comes with a quiet fan to keep the switcher running cool, while delivering top performance.
The price may be a matter of concern for some, but with ten input ports, this one indeed delivers what it promises.
Input Ports: 9 | Video Quality: 1080p | Price: $5,999
For compact devices enthusiasts, the Ross Carbonite Black Solo 1ME is a terrific choice.
However, don’t go by its size! It may look small, but it is a mighty beast with 9 inputs (6x 3G HD-SDI and 3x HDMI). Its one-of-a-kind, built-in dedicated single-channel clip player, offers a simple playout of video clips right from a connected USB media drive.
Plus, it comes with fully customizable macros and a memory system with unique smart recall and effect recall functionality.
Apart from its superb control panel, you can also control this switcher using the Ross DashBoard Control ecosystem. This software lets you take complete charge of all switcher functions, giving you a straightforward, purpose-built UI depending on your specific production environment.
It might be the costliest video switcher on this list, but with its revolutionary technology, it surely is one of the best out there!
Input Ports: 5 | Video Quality: 1920×1200 | Price: $3,495.00
Part of the Epiphan family, Pearl Mini is designed for high-end tech lovers. With its built-in 7-inch touch screen, it allows you to switch between video sources and layouts effortlessly. In addition, it connects to virtually any video source – computers, cameras, imaging equipment, and more.
Another upside is that it accepts standard and custom resolutions up to 1920×1200 from SDI, HDMI, USB, and H.264 network-based SRT and RTSP sources.
Besides connecting video sources directly to the HDMI inputs, you can also go to the Admin panel and create a custom video experience for your live stream viewers.
10. Datavideo SE-650
Input Ports: 4 | Video Quality: 1080i | Price: $1,699.00
Not to be dramatic, but the Datavideo SE-650 is one of the most amazing SDI+HDMI switchers you can get your hands on. It has 2 SDI inputs and 2 HDMI inputs and is compatible with both professional and consumer-grade cameras.
Thanks to its intuitive control panel, switching is a breeze for pros and beginners alike. It also lets you save a complex process into a user memory. So, you can complete a host of tasks with just one touch.
Choose it for its excellent video effects, animations, and backgrounds or its built-in audio mixer. You’d not be disappointed!
Input Ports: 4 | Video Quality: 1080p | Price: $350.00
Another one from Roland, the versatile and powerful V-02HD Multi-Format Video Mixer is a gem for the price. Besides being a video switcher, it’s also a scaler, input expander, inline video effects/composition, and audio solution. Woah, that’s a lot for a video mixer that costs less than $500!
Well, this ultra-compact micro-switcher knows how to deliver top performance with features. It fits into most equipment/camera cases and easily attaches to standard video mounts & tripods. And it offers a professional cross-dissolve switchover between sources without compromising its hi-res pixel-accurate display resolution with deep 10-bit 4:4:4 color space.
It also has discrete scalers on inputs and output and 14 real-time adjustable effects along with 5 compositing effects and more. So, go for it if you aren’t ready to splash out but still need a unit that enables professional switching of multiple sources.
Input Ports: 4 | Video Quality: 1080p | Price: $299.00
The RGBlink Mini Streaming Switcher might be a mini video switcher, but feature-wise it’s a big one! It comes with four HDMI inputs and large buttons that make quick actions easy. There’s also a T-bar for a smoother transition between sources. And you can even control it via an app using a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Apart from its exceptional onboard features like PIP, transition effects, and external audio embedding, the RGBlink Mini Streaming Switcher can also mount to standard 1/4-inch UNC accessories. But, of course, its price is a huge factor that makes it stand out against the competition.
If you want to step up your live video production with one of the best video switchers that come with auto cut and manual switch, this is the one to try.
You can find pretty nifty tools when it comes to the best video switchers for live streaming. So, go on and complete your live stream rig with equipment that adds a higher production value to your live broadcasts and makes them shine.
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We’ve also compiled a list of the best monitors for live streaming. Don't forget to check it out here.