Although you don’t immediately suspect it by looking at the box, the Matrox Maevex 6150 quad H.264 encoder is a powerhouse. Although it has “only” four HDMI inputs, it can output much more streams (depending on the resolution) and recordings. Using different streaming protocols and / or use the multiviewing function to combine video sources (e.g. PiP or QuadView).
All the major streaming protocols are supported including the increasingly popular SRT protocol. You can do so many things at the same time. However, there’s no indication when the Maevex runs out of processing power and starts dropping frames. I would like to see this indication implemented in a future software upgrade.
The PowerStream Plus control software gives you detailed control. Control over e.g. audio routing, encoding, scaling and preview. PowerStream Plus software does not scale. It’s best to at least have a full HD screen. Otherwise some parts of the interface might not be visible.
Since the Maevex is such a flexible product, there are a lot of things to configure. But Matrox has done a good job keeping things a s simple as possible:
- Encoding parameters are set by default. You can change them but the default worked pretty well in this review.
- Multicast addresses and ports are chosen automatically. No empty entry fields here. Again, change them if you want.
- Several presets can be chosen, like e.g. Stream to YouTube.
- 4 programmable buttons on the front panel. Someone can do the more complex setup, an operator can simply press a button to start a single or multiple actions.
With a company like Matrox, it’s no surprise that video quality of the Maevex is excellent, both encoding and scaling. And because the device is so flexible, there must be so many applications that I haven’t even thought of.
If you are looking for a hardware H.264 decoder, you can buy them from Matrox. But BrigthSign players are very affordable alternatives. You can insert a stream coming from the Maevex into your BrightSign layout. Combine it with graphics, ticker tapes, live HDMI input signals and much more. Up to 4K resolution, depending on the BrightSign model. It would be very helpful if Matrox would create a preset to make sure you have the optimum encoding settings for your BrightSign player.
The Maevex is a H.264 encoder. H.264 is probably the most supported codec by playback devices / software. A few years ago I would have said that H.265 support would be a great addition to the Maevex. But today we have a real codec battle going on (AV1, H.265 and even H.266/VVC) and I am not sure that H.265 will become as popular as H.264 is today. Time will tell. H.264 is a bit less efficient than the newer generation of codecs, but H.264 support in playback devices is enormous.
So would I recommend the Maevex if you are looking for a realtime H.264 encoder for streaming or recording? Absolutely! The Maevex is all about multi-tasking, quality and flexibility.
Matrox’s comments to this review:
“In September, we will be releasing a quad 4K decoder apart of the Maevex 6100 Series line and latency will be as low as 60 ms. HDCP support will be coming in the following months as well”