As viewers get more and more accustomed to spotless, high-fidelity live streams, we as professional producers will inevitably
be asked to deliver a live event in 4K. Given that
many of us still struggle at times to keep up a
solid 1080p stream, why would we even bother with 4K yet? Because we can. It’s not about
whether we need to stream in 4K or not. The
main selling point of this capability is being
able to set yourself apart from the competition.
What customer wouldn’t be excited about the
possibility of having their event streamed in a
resolution that very few can match? It’s a differentiator that shouldn’t be ignored just because
some may view it as a novelty. I’ve spent the last
few weeks using a system from a small Canadian startup called Stroom, and I can assure you
that I did livestream in 4K … from a cell phone.
Stroom was launched in 2014 by two former
video engineers with backgrounds in codecs.
Nicolas Bernier and Luke Paone have created a
straightforward streaming infrastructure using
a combination of a custom front-end dashboard
and off-the-shelf technology and hardware.
Stroom Live Components
There are three major components to the
Stroom system: an Android 4G USB 3-capable
smartphone, an HDMI/SDI-to-USB converter
box, and a camera or some other image source
First, let’s look at the phone. Since the phone
becomes the internet pipe for the live stream,
it’s extremely important that the right device is
used. For now, the system works only with the
Android Mobile OS due to limitations on iOS.
It’s also important to note that the phone must
be USB 3-compatible in order to have enough
throughput for the high video data rates, espe-
cially 4K. At the time of this writing, Stroom has
confirmed that its system is compatible with
the LG G5, Samsung Galaxy S7, and the Google
Pixel 1. According to co-founder Nicolas Bernier,
“These are the phones that we’ve mainly tested.
It does not mean that other phones won’t work
though. We are in the constant process of testing
and approving new phones.”
It’s equally important to have the right HDMI-
to-USB converter. For my testing, I used the in-
cluded Inogeni 4K HDMI to USB 3.0 Converter
(see Figure 2 on page 90), but I also tried us-
ing an Epiphan AV.io 4K. I’ll dive more into the
details of this component when discussing my
Stroom Live By Paul Schmutzler
box, and camera