YoloLiv has officially announced the YoloBox Ultra (buy here), first teased at IBC 2023 in Amsterdam in September. It’s an all-in-one streaming solution offering many great features, combining the best of the YoloBox Pro (buy here) and Instream (buy here) devices.
It also brings features that neither of those units offer, such as 4K streaming and a brighter screen for use in more locations. It also provides ISO recording, allowing you to capture each incoming video source in a separate file for future editing.
Why another new device?
The YoloBox Pro has become the standard for many streamers who want an all-in-one device. It lets you feed in multiple HDMI streams (with full-size HDMI sockets), switch between them, do picture-in-picture, image overlays, chroma keying and a wide range of other tools and features.
Many of these features have been common to TV broadcasting for years. But to do them at home wasn’t easy. You either require a lot of expensive hardware or a very powerful computer and complex software setup.
The YoloBox Pro replaces all of these other hardware devices, and it can even replace your computer, as it is able to stream directly to platforms like YouTube and Twitch. It doesn’t allow you to stream vertically, though.
This is where the YoloLiv Instream steps in. This is a device similar to the YoloBox Pro, except it’s designed specifically for streaming vertical video to platforms like Instagram and TikTok. And because it’s Android-powered, it’s able to do it using native Android apps, so it doesn’t break Meta’s or TikTok’s terms of service.
Customers had been asking why the Instream’s features couldn’t simply be added to the YoloBox Pro (or vice versa). The reality is, however, that the hardware in either box isn’t capable of supporting both use cases.
So, the YoloBox Ultra was born, combining the best features of both, to offer both horizontal and vertical video streaming. It also adds some new features, too.
4K Streaming with four full-sized HDMI inputs
The biggest boost with the YoloBox Ultra is the ability to stream 4K video. Previous models, and most competing video switchers at this price point, only allow you to stream 1080p. Of course, 1080p streaming is still an option if it better suits your production needs.
The number of HDMI input ports has been bumped up over the YoloBox Pro and Instream devices. The YoloBox Pro has three full-sized HDMI inputs, while the Instream sports only two full-sized HDMI sockets. The YoloBox Ultra contains four full-sized HDMI inputs, as well as HDMI output for external monitoring.
The company hasn’t yet published what frame rates are available when shooting 4K, but obviously 4K streaming chews up more bandwidth. So, this is something you’ll want to take into consideration when planning your streams.
ISO Stream Recording
The YoloBox Pro and Instream are capable of recording your stream to an SD card inside the device. They’re only capable of recording the final output stream, though. This is great if you just want to have a local copy of your stream for archive purposes, but it doesn’t leave room for much editing.
Sure, you can cut off any mess at the beginning and end, or get rid of any awkward silence or weird bits in the middle in DaVinci Resolve or Premiere Pro, but that’s it. You can’t go back and readjust your timing of when one camera cuts to another, or get rid of overlays that might cover important moments.
The YoloBox Ultra, on the other hand, records each input as its own separate file – in a similar fashion to the Blackmagic Atem Mini Pro ISO. I don’t know if the YoloBox Ultra outputs any kind of file that you can import into your editor, but worst case, you just manually sync them up on your timeline.
I haven’t had a chance to test one of these out for myself yet, but I doubt it outputs a Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve project file. If it outputs anything at all, it might be the more common Final Cut Pro XML file format, as this is supported by all of the major video editing applications. Again, though, I haven’t tested it personally, so it might not output a project file at all and simply provide the stream recordings for you to figure out yourself.
New Processor, Bigger Battery, Brighter Screen
The combined horizontal and vertical format features found in the YoloBox Ultra are thanks to its new processor. The YoloBox Pro and Instream feature the Snapdragon 660. The YoloBox Ultra beefs this up to the Snapdragon 865. Ram and internal storage have also been beefed up to 8GB and 128GB respectively.
The screen also sees a significant bump in brightness from the 400 nits of the YoloBox Pro. The YoloBox Ultra screen puts out 650 nits of brightness, just edging out the Instream’s 600 nits. Now, this isn’t going to compete against bright Arizona sunshine, for example, but it is going to allow you to more easily see the screen in more environments without having to deal with sun shades.
Driving the more powerful processor and brighter screen is a new 75.48Wh battery. This is double the capacity of either the YoloBox Pro or the Instream’s 37Wh batteries and provides up to 6.5 hours of life before needing a recharge.
Overall, it’s a bit of a beast
The biggest benefit to all of the YoloBox devices and the Instream is the fact that no other hardware is required. You don’t need a separate display for monitoring, and you don’t need a laptop or computer to stream to your favourite platforms. Everything is available, all on a single touchscreen.
By combining the features of the company’s two previous flagship models, the YoloBox Pro and the Instream, they’ve made a single device that meets the needs of both types of users. It also means that users who want to be able to do both no longer need two separate devices to do it.
I actually own the YoloBox Pro myself and have found it to be an overall excellent device. But with the extra HDMI input, 4K streaming and ISO recording features – especially the ISO recording feature – the YoloBox Ultra is looking very tempting. And I don’t even stream vertically.