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Interview: Dan Maloney, Matrox

Shawn Lam interviews Matrox marketing manager Dan Maloney regarding the Streaming Media Innovation Award-winning MonarchHD, a new professional streaming and recording appliance.

Streaming Capabilities

Shawn Lam: It's Shawn Lam for Streaming Media Producer. I'm here with Dan Maloney. He is the marketing manager for Matrox, and we're looking at the Matrox Monarch HD. It's a professional streaming and recording appliance. What can you tell me about it?

Dan Maloney: Well, we're real proud to announce the product here at the show. This is a, as you mentioned, a professional streaming and recording appliance. A small, self-contained device to allow you to take HDMI sources and stream them to, you know, your CDN of choice or Flash server or Wowza server. Again, you would go ahead and target whatever media server you would want to reach your audience.

Recording Capabilities

Shawn: So this could be an input coming off of a single video camera with HDMI input or off of a video switcher?

Dan: Correct. Video switcher, full production switcher. Again, it would be easy to add this on the output of any production infrastructure to be able to reach your streaming audience. Now, what's unique about this particular product is that it doesn't stop with streaming. What our philosophy is,if it's worth streaming, it's worth recording, but it's worth recording at the highest quality possible.

So we won't let your upload bandwidth dictate the quality of your recording. We'll have a second channel that allows you to record locally to USB drives or SD flash cards, even to a locally mapped hard drive on a content creation station so that while you're streaming, you're independently recording at much higher bit rates.

Streaming and Recording Specs

Dan: From the spec side, we're looking at streaming at up to 20 megabits per second, and at the recording side, independently, you can be recording up to 30 megabits per second. The HDMI inputs allow for up 1080p60 inputs. On the streaming side, we can stream up to 1080/30 or 720p60, and on the recording side, again, we can record up to 1080p30. Both of those of are independent.

Controlling the Monarch

Dan: On the control side, you can go ahead and connect with a full Apache server that lives within this small appliance. Any computer that sees the server’s IP address, you can go ahead and connect to that and control, configure the recording and streaming parameters independently, set your streaming and recording targets, what drives you want to be recording to. And then you can control through the interface, record, stop recording and streaming independently, or synchronize if you so desire.

Codec Support

Shawn: What are the codecs that we're recording and streaming?

Dan: The world's all moved to H.264, so certainly that is the codec of choice that we're using in this particular case, both on the recording and on the streaming side. On the recording side, we're using MP4-wrapped files, so almost any content creation solution can actually natively read that file and repurpose the file for some post-event editing. Any web browser can be used to control the device. You can also synchronize multiple Monarch devices for ganged operations. So all can start streaming, and all can start recording simultaneously.

Pricing is $995; availability is June 2013. The way we're optimizing the product now is to minimize latencies. Through this infrastructure, it's taking longer than it should to get the feedback. Those are the tweakings that prevent us from shipping today, because it's pretty rock solid right now, just the actual web interface has to be quick if you're going to be doing this type of operation.

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