The New Wowza ClearCaster
The Wowza ClearCaster is a professional grade encoder made specifically for Facebook Live. This 1RU rack-mountable unit is extremely user-friendly and made so that amateurs and professionals alike can provide viewers with the best live stream possible.
This unit has both HDMI and SDI inputs as well as two identical HDMI outputs for talent and client monitoring.
The ClearCaster has two innovative viewing functions:
The first view shows the talent when they are on or off-air. In big letters at the top of the screen, the words "OFF-AIR" or "LIVE" will be displayed prominently making it so there is no mistake about whether the stream is still live or not.
The secondary view is for comment and interaction monitoring. Once live, the screen will automatically switch to this view so your host will be able to interact with comments and reactions coming in live from Facebook.
For us, the most useful feature the Wowza ClearCaster has to offer is the countdown functionality. This countdown timer works directly with the Facebook API giving the talent a very precise start time. No more awkward starts to your broadcast and no more feeling the need to open your stream on a graphic.
On the unit itself, there is a built-in LCD screen that allows you to monitor the health of your stream as well as helps you to easily pair the device with your Facebook account. Prior to going live, this LCD screen also displays its own countdown timer that is synced with the countdown timer on the talent monitor.
Adjacent to this screen, there are 3 intuitive LED indicators that show your current connectivity status. Additionally, there is a fourth LED indicator below that will display a solid green light once live on the web.
The ClearCaster is capable of streaming 4K UHD video, so once Facebook releases this feature, there will be no need to upgrade your unit.
The unit is priced at $6,495 and comes with 3 years of 24/7 hardware and tech support.
If you want a professional look on Facebook Live but don't want to deal with the technical hoops of encoding specifications, then this unit is for you.
Since the initial release of the ClearCaster, Wowza has updated it with new features such as:
- After going live, you can now adjust the talent view to either show or hide comments based on the nature of the show or segment.
- The countdown timer displayed before going live is now adjustable, giving you and your talent even more time to prepare for the broadcast when needed.
- You can also now use the LCD monitor on the unit to monitor and adjust audio levels as needed.
If you're interested in buying this product for yourself, be sure to visit their site at https://www.wowza.com/products/clearcaster.
Written by Jared Brody