At $2,495, the Matrox Monarch LCS is an inexpensive dual-input lecture capture solution with two output channels that
can be independently set for recording and/or
streaming. You control the unit via a standard
browser, and you can connect a monitor for setup or monitoring. There’s an application programming interface (API) for integration with
learning management and similar programs.
The unit is based upon the proven Monarch
hardware and software. It performed well in
our tests, though rough edges in the software
remain, as noted in previous reviews.
Physically, the unit is about 6" front to back,
8. 5" wide, and 2" high, which is about the size
of a 300-page hardback novel (Figure 1). As
you can see in Figure 1, the unit has two HDMI
inputs—one for a camera and the other for
computer input. If you’re working with an old-
er computer that doesn’t have HDMI output,
you can buy a VGA-to-HDMI or DVI-to-HDMI
adapter for less than $10. There’s also a single
SDI input for video and HDMI/SDI outputs to
a preview monitor, which isn’t essential, but I
found them very useful. The unit accepts up to
1080p output in either NTSC or PAL rates but
goes no higher, so if you’re looking for a 4K
solution, this isn’t it.
As you can see on the far right in Figure 1,
there’s a 1/8" ( 3.5mm) input port for unbalanced
audio, supplementing the audio you can input
from the HDMI or SDI sources. There’s also a
headphone jack of the same size.
On the front, you have three buttons for
choosing the input stream and start and stop
encoding, though most users will prefer the
browser-based software controls. There are two
USB ports for connecting external hard drives
for recording, and an SD slot for recording to
that portable media.
You control software operation from a browser on any device running on the same network
as the Monarch, so you can use a computer,
tablet, or even smartphone. If you connect a
monitor and then boot the system, the unit will
display its IP address while booting up—a nice
alternative to downloading software from Matrox to search your network for the IP address.
If you run without the monitor, you’ll have to
download the software.
You control input/output configuration and
the appearance of the stream in the Production
Settings window shown in
Figure 2 on the next page.
Conceptually, you can input one or two streams into
the unit and output one or
two streams. You control the
viewing modes of the inputs
via the five layout choices
shown in the upper left of
Running through the
options, you would use Single Isolated mode for a single input, which you can
stream and record if desired. You would use Dual
Isolated mode to create two
streams to send to a player
Matrox Monarch LCS By Jan Ozer
I/O for the