Friday, September 13, 2013

Matrox Monarch HD - the real thing in a medical environment

When the Matrox Monarch HD was first announced I immediately thought of a nice use case for it.

It combines some nice features. I does streaming and recording simultaneously. It supposedly can be set up in a way that one MHD can control a number of slaves. It can record to USB, network drive and SD-Card.

It is not yet available but Matrox was kind enough to provide a demo unit.

Our use case is medical procedures streaming and recording. Sure we could call in professionals to do the job and we probably should but streaming medical live cases often does not get paid by anyone. So sender and receiver usually end up with 2000-4000 Euro bill for a professionally done job.

However most of the time it does not have to be all that professional with regards to live switching and so on. Streaming one source rough and dirty will do if you do it weekly to a known audience. Image quality is important.

What's nice about the box are the hardware button. Start/Stop recording ? Just press the button. No extra computer to connect. The box came with pre-release software which could explain problems with RTMP streaming. RTSP streaming however works just fine. There is a hardware button to start/stop streaming as well.

We tested the box by connecting a cable TV receiver to the MHD and streaming 720p to an iPAD for 8 hours continously. The RTSP stream was ingested by Evostream server (free trial or grab crtmpserver) and delivered to the iPAD as HLS stream. Not a single glitch and excellent quality.

So overall a nice box for everyday medical live streaming in predefined environments. And just in case you want to record some footage from the operating room for presentation during the next medical conference you can simply connect a HDMI camera or DVI/HDMI output of a medical device to the input and record straigth to SD-Card.

A 720p high quality source recorded for 1hour and ten minutes came in at 1.6 GB.

Interesting features which were not tested include master/slave configurations with multiple MHDs.

The box is configured over a webinterface. It would be nice if some sort of remote control API would be implemented. That way webapps for tablets or smartphones could be developed to start/stop streaming, recording and confidence monitoring.

The MHD will retail for about 799 Euro plus VAT.


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