ATEM Television Studio Review

I had very high expectations for the ATEM Television Studio by BlackMagicDesign and when it was originally released several of the promised features where not ready but have been included by firmware updates last year.

Let me start with the basics the ATEM Television Studio is a low priced, high powered 6 channel switcher where you have a combination of  HDMI & SDI for a max of 4 inputs of a single type..  It has  2 Program SDI outs, 1 Multiview SDI out, 1 HDMI Multiview out, and 1 HDMI Program out. Note: The HDMI inputs allow you to start with inexpensive consumer grade cameras versus more expensive cameras with SDI Outputs. Review the entire spec sheet over at BlackMagicDesign.

You control the switcher via the ATEM Software control panel software (Mac/PC) that communicates to the switcher via Ethernet. The unit has a USB 3.0 connection that can be used to set the IP of the device or provide program video out to a secondary laptop, (more on that in a moment) Audio is injected through a BNC AES/EBU connection.

Let me add a disclaimer here that I am a Tricaster TCXD 855 owner, and am used to spending big money on broadcast quality gear. The ATEM Television Studio is priced just at $995.00 which is 25x less than my Tricaster. So dollar for dollar the ATEM Television Studio does amazing things for the price!

At NAB I got excited about several of the product features that really gives this device serious added value.

1. The ability to record H.264 high quality video/audio from within the ATEM Control Panel without the need for secondary software.

2. The ability to view the camera inputs on a external monitor and switch the from the ATEM Software Control Panel from the computer.

Unlike most folks who would mount this in a rack, my plan was to incorporate the ATEM Television Studio into my travel system. My shows Video quality recording has always suffered when I travel With this new gear and so far has lived up to my expectations. 

UPDATE: See how I have designed a integrated solution that is a 4 channel travel system.

In a future update, they could sweeten the pot and add a streaming component as well so we would not need Wirecast / Vidblaster. If Wirecast and Vidblaster can do it they can. This would make this a true mobile television studio.

The ATEM Television Studio is a great piece of gear at a great price.

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Todd Cochrane is the Founder of Geek News Central and host of the Geek News Central Podcast. He is a Podcast Hall of Fame Inductee and was one of the very first podcasters in 2004. He wrote the first book on podcasting, and did many of the early Podcast Advertising deals in the podcasting space. He does two other podcasts in addition to Geek News Central. The New Media Show and Podcast Legends.

One thought on “ATEM Television Studio Review

  1. So I have used several switchers in the past. Sony 8 channel being the first in college then a Globecaster, Tricaster, and a Grass Valley. Currently I have 2 Tricasters. I have been massively disappointed in the Tricaster. Tons and tons of errors on both of them. Of course I use my switchers hard. We have between 1-9 events every week during the fall and winter months. I can deal with your 2 complaints. What I want to know is how reliable is the Atem? Have you ever had it crash? How easy is the interface to use?


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