<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1455318828112554&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Live Streaming Hardware, Compare BoxCast

podium illustration with five trophies

The Top 5 Live Streaming Encoders Under $1,000

Live streaming has become a part of almost all events involving video production, and finding the right encoder is crucial for delivering high-quality content to your viewers. There are scores of live streaming encoders on the market. Purchasing the best one for your budget can be a challenge — and the last thing you want is for it to fail mid live stream.

In this article, we highlight the five best hardware encoders for streaming under $1,000. We’ve got options for every broadcaster — whether you’re someone who’s been live streaming for years or just getting started. Read on and take a look at our recommendations to help decide which live stream encoder you should buy.

To learn more about affordable BoxCast encoders, schedule a quick demo with one of our friendly experts.

Get a Demo


Table of Contents


What is an Encoder for Live Streaming?

A live streaming encoder can make or break your broadcast. It’s the device that live streams your content to your viewers, and is usually found at the end of the chain for your production workflow. Your workflow/setup might look something like this:

Multi-camera live streaming workflow exampleYour encoder takes your video and audio and sends it to the destination(s) you choose. That could be your website as well as social platforms like Facebook, YouTube, etc. You need to make sure the encoder you use is reliable. You could have a flawless production, but if your encoder goes down, your viewers will no longer be able to watch your live stream. 


Should You Use Software or a Hardware Live Stream Encoder Box?

There are two types of encoders for streaming: software and hardware. In this article, we focus on hardware encoders because we feel there are major pros of using hardware over software to encode video. Some benefits include ease of use, dedicated processing power, and setup time.

Plenty of factors can determine what kind of encoder is best for your setup. So if you’re actually looking for a software encoder, we recommend OBS, Wirecast, and vMix. Any software encoder can live stream to BoxCast, as long as they can stream RTMP.


How Do You Pick the Right Streaming Encoder?

Before you pick an encoder, determine what’s important to you. Write it down and make sure the encoder you buy can check most — if not all — your boxes. For example, if you need an encoder that can multistream to your website, Facebook, YouTube, X, and Twitch all at the same time, watch or read encoder product reviews to see if there are other people successfully doing that.

Also, look into what kind of support is offered. Research online and try to call the companies selling each encoder you’re considering to get specific answers to outstanding questions you have about the products. If you can't get in touch with certain companies or find support articles to help you learn about the encoders, you should probably avoid those options.


Our Top 5 HD Streaming Encoder Picks Under $1,000


LiveU Solo HDMI Video Audio Encoder

5. LiveU Solo HDMI Video/Audio Encoder – $795

The LiveU Solo brand specializes in cellular bonding and on-the-go streaming. With their LiveU Solo HDMI encoder, you get a product that can cellular bond up to four networks together to give you great internet connection in a remote area. Once you configure the live stream on your computer, all you need to do is click one button to go live from the LiveU Solo.

  • Internal Battery – With an internal battery of three hours, this encoder allows you to be mobile from place to place. This is great for remote areas with limited power.
  • Cellular Bonding – Link up to two USB hotspots, an Ethernet, and Wi-Fi for maximum internet connection. You’re able to bond all those signals together to ensure if one is slacking, the others will keep your stream alive.
  • Web-Based Portal – Use the LiveU Solo portal to configure your streaming destinations and check the status of your network.

Blackmagic Web Presenter 4k

4. Blackmagic Web Presenter 4K – $695

Blackmagic makes a range of products — from switchers and converters to cameras and encoders. Their Blackmagic Web Presenter 4K is a live streaming encoder that has features for beginners and advanced broadcasters alike. With its inputs and outputs, along with the ability to plug your phone in as a backup internet solution, the Web Presenter fits great into almost any studio.

Note: You can only stream to one destination while using this device, so if you plan to broadcast directly to Facebook and YouTube at the same time, this may not be the product for you.

  • Inputs + Outputs – This stream encoder has one SDI input, SDI output, and HDMI output. It also has a webcam output, which allows you to convert your camera to a USB-C signal for Zoom or other web streaming services.
  • Built-In Technical Monitoring – Once you download the app, you can get real-time stats right on your computer. It’ll show you where you’re streaming, the video and audio input, and the data rate (internet speed) at which you’re streaming. This is very helpful to see while you’re live.
  • Built-In Scaling – The Web Presenter 4K lets you send in a 1080p signal and will upscale it to a 4K stream for the platforms that support it. This gives you a better picture quality on your live stream. Just remember to make sure you have a fast enough internet connection to support this.

Teradek Vidiu X encoder

3. Vidiu X – $399

Teradek’s Vidiu X is great for on-the-go live streaming scenarios. This could be your kid’s soccer game, a wedding, or any setup that needs to be outside. In any case, the Vidiu has you covered since it connects to the internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. It's designed to be outside the studio space, with its compact size and ability to be mounted directly to a camera.

  • Network Capabilities – The Vidiu X not only lets you connect to the internet via Ethernet or Wi-Fi, but also plug in a cellular USB modem. This allows you to bond your signals together for a stronger connection.
  • Vidiu App – Easily connect to your Vidiu device on the app to configure your settings, streaming destinations, and much more.
  • Streaming Quality – The Vidiu is powered by H.264 (AVC) compression, streams in 1080p60, and is capable of 15 Mbps upload.
  • Rentability – Lensrentals.com gives you the ability to rent this encoder to try it before you buy it.

Ultra Encode AIO

2. Ultra Encode AIO – $799

The Magewell Ultra Encode AIO is for more advanced streaming professionals. It supports various input sources, allowing for SDI and HDMI streaming, and is capable of encoding video in AVC and H.265 (HEVC) formats. The device is compact and can be rack mounted if needed. It’s made by Magewell, which creates a variety of products including capture cards, converters, and encoders.

  • Multi-Input Video Processing – The Ultra Encode AIO allows you to plug in HDMI and SDI and create a picture-in-picture (PIP) effect directly in the encoder. This is great for people with only two video sources (like a camera and presentation software).
  • Flexible Formats + Protocols – This encoder supports multiple video encoding formats — including AVC, HEVC, NDI®|HX 2, and NDI®|HX 3 — and a variety of delivery protocols (RTMP, RTMPS, SRT, RTSP, RTP, HLS, and TVU’s ISSP technology).
  • High-Quality Video – With streaming bitrates as high as 32 Mbps, you can stream up to 4K30 video over HDMI and 1080p60 video over SDI. It's capable of multistreaming to up to six destinations, too.

BoxCast Spark HDMI Encoder

1. BoxCast Spark – $999

BoxCast’s touchscreen HEVC encoder, Spark, offers broadcasters of all levels an intuitive, feature-rich encoder at an affordable price. Spark smoothly integrates with BoxCast’s trusted live streaming platform, giving you the ability to automate your broadcast and deliver a professional-quality experience.

This is the most advanced, yet easy-to-use HEVC live streaming encoder under $,1000 — that also comes with top-tier support. With all the automated features built into Spark, this is a dream for a small team juggling many responsibilities. The Spark streaming encoder will automatically start and stop and update you on the touchscreen monitor if there are any issues.

Professional, Yet Easy

  • Comes with video input for HDMI encoder streaming with ¼-inch audio inputs. (An SDI streaming encoder will also be available soon.)
  • Accepts a 4K60 video signal that streams in 1080p60 at 18 Mbps.
  • The BoxCast Dashboard lets you configure all your stream settings — from video bitrates to unlimited multistreaming to your website and social media destinations.

Monitoring + Control

  • See what video input you’re sending in and preview it directly onscreen.
  • Check your internet connection by running a speed test.
  • The LED ring changes colors to tell you when you’re live or if there’s an error.
  • Adjust audio gain levels and troubleshoot issues in real time on the touchscreen.


  • Deliver reliable live video with HEVC compression and BoxCast Flow, our patented, built-in streaming protocol — even if your internet’s not great.
  • BoxCast Flow lets you store video in the cloud, so if you do have a network issue, the network has time to recover while we play the saved video.
  • Record a local backup via microSD card while streaming.


  • Spark fits into almost any streaming setup, and ships with a VESA mount and a clip-on mount for flexible positioning.
  • Power using the included power supply or power over USB-C if you’re on the go.

Unparalleled Support

  • BoxCast offers live support from US-based streaming experts seven days a week. You can email, chat or call — whatever's most convenient.
  • You can also search our Support Center, which has hundreds of articles to help you quickly resolve any issue you might have.


Whatever Stream Encoder You Pick, BoxCast Can Help

We sell live streaming encoders at BoxCast, but also offer a powerful, integrated live streaming platform. With our Dashboard, you’re able to use our Spark encoder to its fullest potential — with the unmatched reliability of BoxCast Flow. If you already have another encoder or decide to buy a different one, that's okay, too.

Because whether you use one of ours or another hardware or software encoder, you can live stream from it directly to us. By doing so, you get access to all our platform features — like unlimited multistreaming, broadcasting to your website, adding live captions or graphic overlays, and rebroadcasting events as if they were live. And much, much more.

Get a quick demo to learn how BoxCast works with your encoder of choice to deliver a professional-quality streaming experience.

Get a Demo


Final Thoughts + Further Reading

We recommend doing your research before buying any video encoder for streaming. These are our top choices, but don’t hesitate to visit YouTube and watch videos on how each encoder you’re considering works. Call their parent companies and let them answer your questions. Whatever do, remember: If an encoder seems too good to be true, it probably is.

At BoxCast, we strive to create the best affordable live stream encoders you can buy. Beyond great encoders, we offer a flexible, video-centered platform that’s both easy to use and one of the most reliable on the market. Plus we’re here to help — seven days a week. You can always call, email, or ping us via chat if you have any questions about your encoder or live streaming.

On the subject of help, these posts might also be of assistance. Give them a read!