Until now, high quality IRL live streaming has been locked behind a HUGE paywall – if we just look at the total cost of an IRL backpack ($2500+), or just the encoder in it, and then on top of that, all the monthly upkeep costs for their services, and even multiple 4g connections… Good luck streaming without having a few thousand viewers to just cover the ongoing costs.

But, it’s all about to change. TBS 2603 SE is a tiny, portable x264/x265 encoder that comes in at only $229, compared to LiveU‘s $995. It’s not the same product, as the TBS isn’t really even meant to be a portable IRL stream encoder. But, with some clever tricks, it’s easy to make it into one of the best at the job.

TBS 2603 SE IRL Stream Encoder

Specifications & Features

  • H.264/H.265 video encoding
  • AAC, MP3, MP2, PCMA audio encoding
  • Flexible and friendly web UI control
  • Visual input (Preview)
  • Bitrate of output video stream is adjustable from 500kbit/s to 20Mbit/s
  • Support for HTTP, HLS (m3u8),RTP/UDP Unicast, Multicast, RTSP, RTMP/RTMPS, ONVIF, SRT
  • Supports inserting Logo, Text, Mosaics Or Time to the video
  • Output displayed video resolution and frame rate setting (max 1920x1080P@60fps)
  • Stable and effective, support 7 x 24h working time
  • NDI®|HX support with latest update
  • NDI stream output thru local switch and web user interface
  • The output NDI®|HX stream can be automatically detected by any NDI-enabled media networks, devices and applications

The encoder can easily handle both input and output of up to 1920×1080 @ 60 fps, which makes it on par with the LiveU. But, where it stands out is it’s ability to both encode in H.265, and send in brand new protocols like SRT, which drastically improve stability and reliability over congested networks, like 4G.

TBS Encoder USB Powered with 5V to 12V Cable

How to use it in your IRL Stream Backpack

How do you power this little beast, tho? You just need the proper cable, and basically any power bank you have around. A lot of devices like this encoder work on 12V, and a normal power bank typically outputs 5V. That is why you need a 5V to 12V step-up cable. The max power of the encoder is about 6W, and the cables can usually handle up to 750mA, so all you need to make sure is that your power bank supports at least 2A of current at all times. Here is our safe power bank pick that works well with the encoder.

One feature that it is indeed lacking is the fact that it doesn’t do any network work by itself, unlike LiveU that even bonds multiple connections. You’ll need a separate router to go with the TBS 2603 SE, and then connect them via the usual ethernet cable.

Want more info on the whole setup? Watch this video on how to set up your own budget IRL Stream Backpack!

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Gamer, streamer, tech enthusiast, musician, home cook, amateur cyclist. Writes whatever he wants about, since this is his site. Tends to be rough in reviews.

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