Affordable Switchers / Encoders – Featuring the Blackmagic ATEM Mini and ATEM Mini Pro.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has left many institutions scrambling for a way to live stream their productions. The Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini is a great, affordable four-channel switcher that you can also plug into a computer via USB for live streaming.

In a nutshell, here are the key differences between the ATEM Mini and the ATEM Mini Pro:

  • The ATEM Mini Pro has a built-in streaming encoder so that you can stream directly to your Content Delivery Network (CDN) (such as Facebook, YouTube, etc.) without having to use a computer.
  • The ATEM Mini Pro can record the program feed to external storage devices using its built in USB-C port.
  • The ATEM Mini Pro has a Multiview output option for live Program/Preview switching.
  • The ATEM Mini Pro can stream and be controlled directly through the Ethernet port instead of the USB-C port.

Want to learn more about the differences between the ATEM Mini and ATEM Mini Pro? Why not hear about them directly from Grant Petty, the founder of Blackmagic Design himself! This is a great video and will blow your mind:

In addition, here are some alternative products you can use to accomplish the same task.

If you just need to convert a single camera HDMI or SDI video signal to USB to stream on your computer

If you don’t actually need the multi-camera switching ability of the ATEM Mini and just need to convert the video signal from a single camera to USB so you can stream using your computer, then we recommend a USB capture device from Magewell. There is an HDMI version, and SDI version and the PLUS variants have loop through, headphone output and audio input.

If you need a compact, affordable, four-channel video switcher

Before the ATEM Mini was released, there was still an option for a professional, compact and affordable live switching system. The V-1HD and V-1SDI from Roland are very capable four-channel video switchers, and though they cost a bit more, the have some extra features such as a physical T-Bar, RCA Audio inputs and outputs, a headphone and microphone jacks, MIDI connections, HDCP mode, and multiple monitor outputs customizable for program, preview or multiview. If you want to stream using your computer, purchase one of the Magewell devices above and Roland switcher.

If you need a switcher with linear key and really like Blackmagic Products

There is one feature that the Roland switchers above don’t have, and that is linear key, which allows the switcher to input a key and fill channel from a graphics software such as NewBlueFX Titler Live. The ATEM family of switchers all support this and host of other features.