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Tutorial: How to Turn Your PC or Mac into a Portable Live Streaming Station for Under $1000

If you're looking for a portable and affordable way to add live streaming capabilities to one or more computers, the Wirecast bundle is a great option.

In this tutorial we’ll explore how you can affordablly produce live streams from multiple video and presentation sources using a new product bundle that combines Telestream Wirecast Studio and two Epiphan frame grabbers.

The Wirecast/ bundle includes Wirecast 6.0, which is Telestream’s live streaming production software, and two Epiphan frame grabbers that install without drivers and can capture HDMI, DVI, and VGA input at up to 1920x1200 resolution at 60 fps via any USB 3.0 connector (Figure 1, below).

Figure 1. The Wirecast bundle

The bundle quickly, easily, and affordably converts any Windows or Mac notebook or desktop computer with USB 3.0 connectors into a live production station.

Telestream Wirecast

Let’s start with the software. As you probably know, Wirecast, which runs on Mac and Windows, enables capture, live production, and encoding of live streams for broadcast to multiple servers simultaneously (Figure 2, below).

Figure 2. Telestream Wirecast. Click the image to see it at full size.

With Wirecast, you can stream multiple live cameras and other real-time inputs, like DVI or VGA input from another computer, while dynamically mixing in other disk-based media like movies, images, and sounds, and adding production features like transitions and titles.

During your event, you can stream live to any RTMP or Windows Media server--or both--with presets for many popular CDNs and live streaming services (Figure 3, below).

Figure 3. Live streaming options in Wirecast

You can also record a copy of your event to disk for archival or further production.


The Epiphan frame grabbers (Figure 4, below) connect to your computer via USB. While the units are backwards-compatible with USB 2.0 ports, you’ll need USB 3.0 ports for maximum performance.

Figure 4. The Epiphan USB 3.0 frame grabbers. Click the image to see it at full size. is a USB Video class device, also called UVC. This means that it installs on Mac and Windows computers without drivers of any kind. Just plug the unit into your serial port and you should be ready to go; separate AC power is not required. comes with cables and connectors that let you capture from three sources: HDMI, including audio; DVI; and VGA.

In operation, the units transfer uncompressed video to Wirecast at whatever resolution you configure.

In the configuration shown in Figure 5 (below), I’ve got one inputting the VGA output from a notebook, the other video from a camcorder.

Figure 5. Here are the inputs for this project. Click the image to see it at full size.

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