Pearl-2 FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Epiphan Pearl-2™ is the easiest way to do 4K live streaming, switching and recording in one place with this all in one video encoder and video production system.

What is the Pearl-2 base model and what add on features can I purchase?

The Pearl-2 base model supports all available features except 4K encoding and streaming.

Purchasing a feature add-on enhances the capabilities of Pearl-2. With the 4K feature add on, 4K video support is added to the two specially marked 4K HDMI video input ports and the two 12G SDI ports on Pearl-2. As well, encoding of 4K sources is enabled. You can capture, record, and stream up to four 4K sources at 30 fps in one channel with the 4K feature add on.

How does Pearl-2 differ from Pearl?

Pearl-2 inherits all the same features as Pearl (e.g. capture, streaming, recording, mixing, live switching, automatic upload) but has a more powerful 6th generation Intel i7 processor and a host of hardware upgrades. Pearl-2 includes 4K capable video inputs and encoding, which are activated when the 4K feature add-on is purchased. Unlike Pearl, Pearl-2 does not capture VGA sources. Notice: Pearl has officially reached its end of life and is discontinued. However, firmware updates continue to be made available for the Pearl models.

Can I trade-in my Pearl for a Pearl-2?

Not unless you have a trade-up coupon. Otherwise, Pearl-2 and Pearl are completely separate hardware systems that cannot be exchanged.

Is Pearl-2 a video encoder?

Yes, Pearl-2 is a video encoder, and also so much more than that! Pearl-2 is an all-in-one standalone live video production system. You can simultaneously capture, encode, combine, stream and record multiple inputs in resolutions up to 4K, and even switch between them in a live broadcast.

How do I control Pearl-2?

You can use Pearl-2’s touch screen display and operator-friendly “Epiphan Live” web control panel for simple confidence monitoring and stream/record control.

How do I configure Pearl-2?

Pearl-2 is ready to use right out of the box! Plug in a source into the back of Pearl-2 and you can capture, stream and record right away! For additional configuration, use the web-based Admin panel interface.

The touch screen lets you control switching for Pearl-2’s video mixer, load saved configuration presets and perform recording or streaming control. Advanced users can use Pearl-2’s HTTP or RS-232 APIs to integrate with larger systems.

How many sources can Pearl-2 capture?

Pearl-2 can encode one Ultra HD 4K program (with two 4K sources and two HD sources) or up to six Full HD 1080p programs at a time. Within your program(s), you can use any combination of IP cameras and sources connected to Pearl-2’s HDMI, 4K HDMI, USB video, or 12G-SDI ports.

Does Pearl-2 come with HEVC/H.265 codec for 4K encoding?

No. Pearl-2 currently supports AVC video encoding (e.g. H.264, MPEG-4, MJPEG codecs) for encoding at all resolutions. However, Pearl-2’s processing power allows the possibility of supporting HEVC and other codecs in the future.

Pearl-2 has three distinct models, including two rackmount versions – what is the difference between them?

The portable model of Pearl-2 is the smallest of the three models, best for use on a desktop. Pearl-2 Rackmount has a metal attachment that allows for it to be screwed into 19 inch AV equipment rack, enabling you to to fit the system in with all of your other equipment. The Pearl-2 Rackmount twin also features the mounting, but allows for a denser setup, as it fits two separate Pearl-2 systems into the same casing, making both systems the same size as a Pearl-2 Rackmount.

Pearl-2 Rackmount Twin has two Pearl-2 systems? How does that work, and are they connected at all?

Pearl-2 Rackmount Twin puts two entirely separate Pearl-2 systems in the same chassis, but there is no other connection between the two devices. When operating the Twin system, you should use them as you would use two separate Pearl-2 portable systems that were sitting next to each other. The most important advantage of using Pearl-2 Rackmount twin is that you can save a lot of space by squeezing two systems into the same 2U row on a rack, saving yourself a lot of space and trouble in your dense AV setup.

Can I capture VGA signals with Pearl-2?

Not directly. If you need to capture a VGA source, we recommend purchasing an Epiphan AV.io HD and connecting it to one of Pearl-2’s USB ports.

Can Pearl-2 capture from IP cameras?

Yes. Pearl-2 can capture from RTSP sources over a network (such as IP cameras or even other Pearl or Pearl-2 systems) at resolutions up to 1080p. See our online user guide for a list of RTSP cameras we have tested so far.

Can I plug my USB web camera into Pearl-2?

Yes! The USB video ports on the back of Pearl-2 can accept video and audio from up to two USB web cameras at a time. You can change the settings on the cameras using the source controls on the admin panel, and put them in your layouts just like any other video source.

What is the difference between the XLR and RCA audio inputs?

XLR is the standard for professional audio inputs, offering support for pro-level audio devices (e.g. mixers) at +4 dBu signal level with lots of headroom.

RCA is meant to be more for the consumer/line-level, offering support for devices (e.g. laptop, iPod) at the -10 dBV level.

Note that the right XLR pair and the RCA pair are linked internally. For best results, do not use these two inputs at the same time.

What type of hard drive does Pearl-2 contain?

Pearl-2 uses a 512 MB SSD hard drive.

How many hours of recording can I store?

The easy answer is that Pearl-2 can hold an estimated 250 hours of recordings. However, this is only on average, and the actual number of hours of recordings depends on the bitrate and keyframe parameters you’re using for encoding, as that will change the size of the file. The estimate of 250 hours was calculated at 4 Mb/s in the 500 GB SSD.

Can I use my own storage with Pearl-2?

Yes, but not instead of the internal hard drive. Pearl-2 records to the internal 512 MB SSD hard drive, but these recordings can be automatically transferred to a locally connected USB 3.0 drive, or to network storage via SCP, FTP, SFTP, RSYNC or CIFS. Additionally, Pearl-2 can act as an ftp server, allowing you to download files directly from Pearl-2’s hard drive.

Can I output from Pearl-2 to a local external display?

Yes. Pearl-2 has two video output ports (4K HDMI) that can display any channel or source on a local monitor or projector. The channel’s embedded audio is also sent through the video output port, and you can optionally create a large local AV monitor by adding the audio VU meter to the displayed output.

Does Pearl-2 reduce the resolution of the images it captures?

By default, Pearl-2 preserves the original resolution of the images captured and matches the output frame size of with the resolution of the source.

Pearl-2 can also perform real time scaling of the incoming source resolution and render it to the frame size chosen in the stream setup configuration menu. When creating multi-source layouts with multiple sources, you can crop and scale each source.

If you’re using Pearl-2 under heavy load, we recommend you provide the input signal at the desired output resolution to reduce the overall system load.

Can Pearl-2 function over a Local Area Network (LAN) or does it need a constant connection to the Internet?

Pearl-2 does not need LAN or Internet connection to capture and record video. The user-friendly touch screen displays the video encoder’s stream for confidence monitoring and provides a fast and easy way to apply configuration sets, control recording or recording and view system information. If connected to the Internet or a LAN via an Ethernet cable, Pearl-2 provides a web-based control interface for configuration and operation.

Streaming requires a network connection (otherwise your viewers or CDN can’t access the stream from Pearl-2).

What compression does Pearl-2 use?

Pearl-2 is compatible with many different video compression formats and codecs. By default, Pearl-2 uses H.264 to encode all resolutions up to 4K, but the video encoder’s codec is user-selectable. Consult the Pearl-2 user guide for more information.

Does Pearl-2 stream to iPad, iPhone, iTouch?

Yes. Pearl-2 uses Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming technology to create a separate native stream for Apple iOS devices such as iPad, iPhone, and iTouch.

Does Pearl-2 stream to tablets and smartphones?

Yes. Pearl-2 supports HLS streaming. When this feature is enabled viewers can access the stream using a tablet or smartphone device. Tablet and smartphone viewers can also view other media streams depending on the device and viewing application.

Can Pearl-2 stream to 10, 20, 100 or more viewers?

Absolutely. Pearl-2 supports a wide range of streaming formats and protocols enabling it to stream video to media players, Content Delivery Networks, multicast networks and Content Management systems.

Pearl-2 is compatible with all major Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) offering a truly scalable streaming solution to millions of internet viewers on various types of devices.

Can Pearl-2 stream to set top boxes and media servers?

Yes. Pearl-2 can stream live to media players, smart TVs, set-top-boxes, digital signs etc. via UPnP or SAP. You can configure Pearl-2 to make videos recorded in MPEG-TS format accessible via UPnP.

Can I customize my stream with my corporate logo, colors, branding. Can I add copyright notices and timestamps to my streams and recordings?

Yes! Pearl-2 has a visual layout designer that lets you build layouts exactly the way you want them.

Combine video capture from your sources with images used for backgrounds, logos and overlays (transparent PNG is supported). Add text or time stamp overlays as well and metadata to the file to tag it with your company name.

Can I crop my video source using Pearl-2?

Yes. Pearl-2 can crop your video so you can capture, stream and record your video while cropping out confidential information, removing black bars, or using digital crop and zoom to emphasize a specific area of your video!

How can I use Pearl-2 with chroma keying?

You can connect a video source that has a green screen background to Pearl-2 or connect an effects computer that has titler software loaded on it. Using the custom layout editor, layer your chroma key video source on top of your background source in the same custom layout and choose the color to key on (usually green). When chroma keying is enabled, the background video source shows through all the chroma key colored areas. Just note that to optimize Pearl-2 performance, we recommend you crop out any unused areas in your chroma key video source.

You can achieve upstream and downstream chroma keying effects using custom layouts. For an upstream chroma keying effect, enable chroma keying for only one custom layout in the channel. For a downstream chroma keying effect, enable chroma keying in all custom layouts in the channel.