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.

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.

You have another product called Pearl, how do Pearl and Pearl-2 differ?

Pearl-2 inherits all the same features as Pearl (e.g. capture, streaming, recording, mixing, live switching, automatic upload) but features a more powerful 6th generation Intel i7 processor and a host of hardware upgrades. Furthermore, with Pearl-2 you can access cutting-edge 4K video inputs and encoding through the 4K feature add-on. Unlike Pearl, Pearl-2 does not capture VGA sources.

To help you decide which system will work best for you, we’ve designed this compare page.

I am a Pearl customer—can I trade-in my Pearl for a Pearl-2?

No, Pearl-2 and Pearl are completely separate hardware systems that cannot be exchanged.

How do Pearl-2 add-ons work?

You can purchase optional add-on packs that enhance Pearl-2’s capabilities in various ways. These add-ons can be purchased at any time and are activated online with a single click. Currently, we have one add-on pack available, 4K capture and encoding support, with more add-on packs planned for the future. Learn more about Pearl-2 add-ons here.

Will Pearl-2 still offer firmware upgrades?

Yes. Epiphan will offer regular firmware upgrades to all Pearl-2 customers regardless of any installed add-on packs.

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?

No, Pearl-2 only supports digital signals. If you need to capture VGA sources, we recommend using a system and recording system that supports analog signals, such as Pearl.

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!