AV Equipment for City Halls: Hardware or Software Encoder?

If your city has decided to start live streaming it's council meetings, there are several decisions you need to make about your set up. One of those decisions is whether to use a hardware or a software encoder.

When making this choice, the most important thing to keep in mind is how the solution will be used by your clerk, finance officer, or other administrator running the meetings.

If you are like many cities, your staff resources are limited at the time of the meeting. It's important to find the most automated process for the meeting administrator. That person already has a thousand other things to worry about as the meeting gets started. If you choose the wrong type of streaming setup, you will make their lives much more painful on a regular basis.

With this in mind, we recommend choosing a hardware encoder. The benefit of hardware encoders is that, unlike software solutions, they were explicitly built to stream and do nothing else. They are reliable, simple, and take out the additional risk and time of software solutions.

Additionally, hardware encoders free up existing equipment (you don’t have to dedicate a laptop to this process) and are typically less expensive than their software counterparts.

 

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Questions to ask about your hardware encoder


Is your hardware solution portable?

Hardware encoders do not have to be built into your city council room. They can actually be very mobile. If you opt to go with a lightweight, mobile encoder, you will be able to take it on the go if there are ever public meetings or community events that happen outside the confines of city hall that could benefit from streaming.

Can your hardware encoder connect to wifi?

Every city council chamber is set up differently. You may need your encoder to live in a place that does not have access to a wired internet connection. If so, you need an encoder that can connect to your wifi.

Note: If you decide to go with a wifi connection rather than wired, make sure that you have a dedicated network for your stream. Too many devices tapping into your stream connection can cause fluctuations that can impact the quality of your stream. You can read more about the network connections needed to stream here.

BoxCast offers a hardware encoder that is simple, automated, and mobile. It can connect to wifi or ethernet and will fit into your meeting administrator’s workflow. Learn more about the BoxCaster here.

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