Is Starlink good enough for Live-Streaming?
This episode explores various tests I did of the Starlink RV. I tried numerous methods to see if it was possible to send out a stable live stream with the Starlink RV. After some trial and error, I did find a couple of ways to do this.
Amazon affiliate links:
Here are the affiliate links to purchase equipment used in the podcast:
Blackmagic Ursa Broadcast G2 – https://amzn.to/3BDzLbZ
Blackmagic 6K Pro Pocket Cinema Camera – https://amzn.to/3oTipQQ
Rode Wireless Go II microphone – https://amzn.to/3cYIiMy
Starlink Ethernet Adapter – https://amzn.to/3zw32CO
iPad Pro 12.9 inch – https://amzn.to/3vxoeY7
iPad Pro 11 inch – https://amzn.to/3PV0ghn
Blackmagic Atem Mini Pro ISO – https://amzn.to/3cRIlcS
00:00:05:28 – 00:00:24:12
Hey, I was super excited about getting my StarLink RV when it arrived at the end of May, yet I somehow felt there would be some problems to overcome. Turns out I was right while downloading data was pretty easy. Sending out a video stream through satellite has its own set of issues that need to be overcome. It’s a bit different than live streaming using a cellular bonding service.
00:00:24:12 – 00:00:44:16
Just live you or your dick. In this video, I’ll show you my tests of the StarLink at the high desert of California, downtown San Diego and the coast, as well as lessons learned in dealing with this new piece of live streaming tech. I’ll also show you and tell you how I overcame these hurdles and was eventually able to successfully stream 60 HD video over StarLink.
00:00:45:02 – 00:01:08:10
Ready? Let’s go. First of all, let’s take a look at the StarLink. What the heck is it? Well, StarLink is a network of low orbit satellites deployed by SpaceX. They’ve launched over 2000 of these satellites and recently introduced the StarLink RV and StarLink Maritime for Portable Satellite Solutions. The FCC is also given the go ahead for StarLink to be used in moving RVs and boats.
00:01:09:00 – 00:01:37:17
Here’s an artist’s rendering of a StarLink satellite. The system is pretty easy to set up. The package comes with the dish Wi-Fi router sturdy, 75 foot cable. And this mount here that goes on the ground just goes in right here. Like that, you could see the laptop. Yeah, just nothing like that. If you want to ground mount it for an extra 25 bucks, you can purchase the StarLink Ethernet adapter.
00:01:37:23 – 00:01:53:15
Otherwise, you’ll have to connect with wi fi, which isn’t bad. The Wi-Fi router actually works pretty well. For now, I’m using a Samsonite suitcase for storage and transport. It works. Okay, but I have a feeling there’s something better out there. Once you have the hardware set up, you can open up the app, which is pretty easy to use.
00:01:53:28 – 00:02:16:18
You’ll have to connect your phone or tablet to the StarLink wi fi, but once that’s connected, the app will show you the status of your StarLink. Whether it’s offline or connected, search for signal, etc. And there’s also a handy speed test for checking, upload and download speeds when you first fire it up takes about 15 to 20 minutes for StarLink to get a signal, but after that it generally connects in between one and 2 minutes and pretty quick.
00:02:16:28 – 00:02:42:25
My first streaming test was on the fourth floor of the idea one building where my studio is located here in downtown San Diego. I connected my Ursa broadcast G2 directly to the Ethernet port of the StarLink adapter. Everybody here got my StarLink going, so we’re going to set it up with the broadcast to try and stream iTunes streaming bridge to see what that looks like.
00:02:43:05 – 00:03:11:17
The StarLink. And it’ll be easier than black magic. Unfortunately, as much as I wanted it to work, going straight out of the camera of Ethernet to the StarLink two streaming bridge just doesn’t work quite yet. Next, I tried Vimeo to see if there was a better result that this going on streaming low at three megabits per second. But the video.
00:03:11:23 – 00:03:48:10
But the video is choppy. Yeah. As you can see, the bit rate and various frame rate are dropping wildly on stable connections. And that’s going Ethernet straight, solid lets you just do a speed test not too long ago and that turned out okay. I think it’s just that the connection is not stable and so 5G is definitely better, at least in downtown San Diego.
00:03:49:06 – 00:04:12:28
Even though there was enough bandwidth to support an HD stream, the bitrate and frame rates were fluctuating wildly, and that’s led to erratic glitches and jerky movements during the video stream. It turns out this is a common issue when using StarLink and Blackmagic cameras or A10. I did some googling and I found a YouTube video by Doug Johnson who had the same experience with Blackmagic cameras and started.
00:04:12:28 – 00:04:35:01
His solution was to use a live solo with LRT, turned on to stabilize the frame and bitrate. This also worked with the target system they had too. Here’s a link to this video if you want, check it out. With these tips in mind. We headed up to the Torrey Pines Glider Port in La Hoya for further testing. This time I placed StarLink on top of the car, which is super cool.
00:04:35:22 – 00:04:53:03
I set up the StarLink and a lot of u solo and local success. Doug was right. There is still some glitches here and there, but this was looking far better than the earlier tests. That idea one. However, the results weren’t quite good enough for professional work. Note You don’t need to have cellular modems plugged in for this to work.
00:04:53:16 – 00:05:14:10
Even with one source connected, the LRT does its thing. It’s actually conditioning the signal to have a stable frame rate despite erratic bitrates. These tests were promising, but the locations weren’t remote enough. I had to test it from a place without cell service to really know if I was going to keep it. So we decided to head back to one of our favorite camping spots, Gardens, Boulder Gardens.
00:05:14:25 – 00:05:51:13
It’s by Joshua Tree in the high desert and quite remote and beautiful. My Verizon cell phone doesn’t work there, and neither does my ADT modem. We’re testing out or searching two connected solo, which is sending the signal down yonder to StarLink satellite. Check that out. As you can see, we’ve got the Jackery solar panels powering the StarLink and extension cord.
00:05:52:09 – 00:06:09:14
Only a third of the camera upload speeds on the StarLink vary widely from two megabits per second up to ten megabits per second. The best looking streams were at 720 p 30 frames per second. I also tried it at 10:30 p.m. but honestly, there were just far too many glitches to consider it as a solution for a professional situation.
00:06:10:02 – 00:06:35:23
However, to its credit, the stream never totally dropped out. Here’s an example of what these glitches look like. Now for power. I use the Jackery Explorer 1002 solar panels getting 97 watts in and 85 watts out batteries at 94%. It provided ample power for a full day of streaming. The Jackery powered the laptop versus broadcast u two live u solo and StarLink without any issues.
00:06:36:01 – 00:06:52:19
I was pleasantly surprised to see that more power is going into the jackery through the solar panels that was going out to power the gear. So this test was completely battery powered with only a satellite connection to the outside world. After returning to San Diego, I set the sucker aside for a couple of weeks to work on the project.
00:06:53:10 – 00:07:15:28
The next time I took it out was the Fiesta Island. This time I wanted to test out a couple of ideas. One, How would the StarLink handle Zoom? Two, How would it work? We used live stream studio to stream directly to Noumea. And three could amount to StarLink on a. Well, yeah, I was. It. Was it. It’s actually.
00:07:16:03 – 00:07:42:06
I’ll show you right now. Mounted on a Cardellini clamp to the face and that’s mounted to the C stand and these kind of leaning claps just about anywhere between like 35 to 50 bucks. It’s not too bad. And allows you to raise it up and down from side to side. Very stable. You should put a sandbag on. Okay.
00:07:42:22 – 00:07:58:24
So first off, I set up the streaming gear in the back of the SUV and set up a canopy, protect it from direct sunlight. As I mentioned, I was able to mount the StarLink to c stand using a harder leaning clamp. And this is definitely the way to go. Hey, look, I’m bringing sand to the beach, but safety first, right?
00:08:01:26 – 00:08:14:22
Open up the StarLink app to see what happens. 730 on. And while it goes on, I go, all right. Trying to find a signal so long it takes months.
00:08:18:10 – 00:08:52:11
There’s a lot of action right there. And it’s recording. Yes, I can see it’s still a bar and it takes a couple of minutes of searching, searching online. I’m not. Here you go. Hey, that took, like, way less than a minute, right? I use a ten minute pro iso to convert the signal from the camera and a Wi-Fi connection from the laptop to the StarLink.
00:08:52:23 – 00:09:11:22
This lightweight setup worked like a charm. I tested out a zoom connection with Jeff Turbo. Got it from it. Zoom. Zoom is just going to be this way, man. So that it is just as good as what we are streaming with. Because I was all enough. I guess so, man. I mean, but yeah, I would say that it’s a little.
00:09:12:06 – 00:09:18:14
I would say that it’s a little choppier. There’s a couple of stutters.
00:09:20:22 – 00:09:45:17
Next, I wanted to see how Live Stream Studio worked with StarLink. I had to try several settings before I could get it to work though. At first, only seven 2060 worked, but eventually I ended up trying their new MPEG dash voting system. It worked like a charm, but would break their new MPEG dash encoding option really conditional signal into a very stable stream even at ten 8660 at around 4.5 megabits per second up.
00:09:45:26 – 00:10:33:16
After streaming for a while, though, there were a couple of connection warnings just now. Got a couple of warnings. Connection speeds, didn’t affect the actual video. I don’t know. Let’s find out who we. According to Vimeo, here are the pros and cons of using MPEG Dash Beta. When you choose to stream using MPEG Dash, your viewers are much less likely to experience interruptions, buffering and choppy playback that server or encoder issues can cause.
00:10:34:02 – 00:10:55:00
However, this protocol can only do so by introducing additional latency or delay from your event to your viewers. The latency when you use the default RTM setting is about 15 to 20 seconds. If you stream by MPEG dash or latency to your viewers will be closed for one minute. Eventually, I also tried the new Vimeo browser based webinar feature, which had really good results.
00:10:55:00 – 00:11:19:03
With that, you can see we’re still streaming live on Vimeo. Now. I changed it to streaming with the browser app that they have gotten really good connections there. Although we did about 7 hours of streaming and the Jacquie held up with about 37% left at the end of the day. Everything was plugged in and there was about 95 watts of drop.
00:11:19:26 – 00:11:38:12
The latest test I did was over the July 4th weekend at the T1 two River Valley Campgrounds. It’s right by the Mexican border and you can even see the border wall from the campsite. And when I first fired up the star, like I thought I was in Mexico, but eventually it switched over to San Diego. I kept getting a message saying that I was on the limited StarLink RV, but this didn’t really seem to affect me.
00:11:38:22 – 00:11:56:24
We are here at the Tijuana River Park. I know it sounds nasty, but it’s actually not smelly like the Tijuana River. This time I wanted to test it with the live U solo and the USB modems. My AT&T and Verizon modems didn’t have much of a signal at all down there. Maybe one megabits per second up and down.
00:11:57:02 – 00:12:17:14
StarLink was averaging around 7 to 12 megabits per second and 70 to 90 there. Testing with the love you coupled with the StarLink 80 and Verizon modems had mixed results. The modems kept going in and out. Not a problem, though, because StarLink was there as a very reliable backup option. Eventually, I switched back to streaming with the laptop and Live Stream studio.
00:12:17:27 – 00:12:38:10
The results were great. Even better than the last test if you stylin. I did find one error message in the video that was recorded on Vimeo. Here it is. Seems like this might be caused by the connection being too slow. Maybe this is something Vimeo can address before it comes out of beta testing. So I’m back here on the fifth floor of Idea one because I had to do one more test with the StarLink.
00:12:38:11 – 00:13:16:27
I didn’t test it with the Sling studio and have a wedding coming up. I want to use that. So I thought I’d better test it anyway. The sirens come in. It’s a crazy day in San Diego. It’s incredibly hot at 75 degrees. I’m running a speed test with 5G and compare that to the StarLink Internet speed test with 5G that’s already installed on the in downtown San Diego, 109.7 down and 45.4 up.
00:13:18:21 – 00:13:58:10
No test and StarLink suit we got here. It’s not very good results. 15 megabits per second down and six megabits per second uploads. Go live again and see if this is going to work. Then we go and I would like to see it’s splitting the connection pretty evenly with the StarLink on Ethernet and the two USB modems and now is actually going to be more right.
00:13:58:10 – 00:14:36:09
All right. That’s what we like to see. Okay, let’s see what happens for 5 minutes. Good, stable connection on the previous live music. Good. We’re going to remove the hotspots and see if it really is redundant. So no hotspots, just the StarLink. See how that affects the signal over here, starting to drop. So that’s one backup. Whoa. Just shut up and then shut down.
00:14:37:21 – 00:15:14:16
It’s going crazy. What about videos, though? You know, to be honest now. Yeah, it’s I’m going to call it the StarLink dropped packets because that’s exactly what’s happening. They’re just the train is getting there, but it’s dropping off cars, the boxcars. It just drops them on the side of the train. It just doesn’t impressively, though, the Ethernet went up.
00:15:14:16 – 00:15:45:15
When you unplug the modems, that’s going that’s way up. But yeah, look at the crazy that way. So we’re looking at the actual video stream and not the low res view and that seems to be doing pretty well despite the loss bitrates down, but quality’s not that great. But we are seeing this on 5G and this is auto and this is on orders.
00:15:46:10 – 00:16:24:08
Yeah, we’re streaming it off 5G on a laptop and as you can see, we’re still getting pretty crazy fluctuations there. And the bitrate frame rates staying steady. I would say the lowest test we’ve ever seen, I think on StarLink upload was single like high single digits, like 8 to 9 megabits per second. So if you were in a critical remote situation, I would take a quarter of that like 2000 or two megabits per second, 2000 kilobits per second or two megabits and start there.
00:16:24:15 – 00:16:46:21
So you should get consistent quality if your client satisfied, the audio’s good, the video’s consistent. It’s not buffering on any device that you’re using. Have someone remotely test to see the quality. And I think around 2000 you’re going to be solid on StarLink if just using sound. Hey, all right. How to do one more test? Because I wasn’t convinced that it wouldn’t work on the last test.
00:16:47:10 – 00:17:49:16
That’s going to give it one more chance. I just want to give it one more chance. Go on, StarLink. We’ve got to stay on top of it. Okay. For the record, in speed test here, speed test on that is in downtown San Diego by the water in a place called Seaport Village Results 6.7 Upload 21 load Got Galchen your usb-c to internet adapter two StarLink routers that they’re trying to $25 after that stolen car may have instructions here know I didn’t think about that on that part she’s going to be obstructionist let’s give it a shot.
00:17:49:25 – 00:18:39:15
It’s going to try to stream to cinema via livestream to us to Vimeo once again. And I’m going to press go on the camera if you get good luck 13 megabits per second. Wow. Now it started here. Okay. Stuttering, unstable connection. So on streaming low, this is still on age to 64 low 30 meters per second. It’s still says unstable connection here.
00:18:40:25 – 00:19:19:09
It seems like it’s house very unstable. Here is my experience buffering problems. Check your available bandwidth connectivity. Now that’s 13 meters per second. This is on average in 5 to 4 has zero average family to serve. Yeah, no bueno. So after two months, it’s still not working with going directly allergy to it and StarLink there’s just not enough bandwidth and the bitrate fluctuates way too much.
00:19:19:26 – 00:19:38:09
So there you have it. That’s my test sticking to it. We’ll test this again another couple of months. Have some more updates after having StarLink for a couple of months and conducting various tests, here are my conclusions. Overall, I’m very impressed with the product I’m sure will keep getting better as they keep adding more satellites. Their team seems to do updates regularly, which is great.
00:19:38:24 – 00:20:00:24
And here are the pros and cons I experience with StarLink. So the pros are that you can stream from practically anywhere in the US. In Mexico, it’s easy to set up and relatively quick to put. It’s well built and provides it dependable internet connection with unlimited data. And you can also policy, subscription and monthly intervals. Now the cons sorry to say, but inconsistent fit rate.
00:20:00:26 – 00:20:29:04
It’s just crazy. Not happy with that. It’s bulky compared to cellular modems. Upload speeds, not that great. It could be better. I would be super happy if they could get it up to the 20 to 30 megabits per second range. Another con is the $185 a month subscription and it’s very sensitive to obstructions. You really have to have a really clear area to use it, but I think the best formula is to use StarLink in conjunction with the live you solo or the tier system.
00:20:29:04 – 00:20:49:09
If you have that, you can practically stream from any country they service as long as you have an unobstructed view of the sky. Well, I don’t think I would rely on it as a main streaming option just yet. It can definitely add to your stream redundancy, which is of utmost importance when live streaming a crucial event. If there’s no other option, then the tricks I mentioned in this video can get it done for you.
00:20:49:09 – 00:21:08:19
And if you need to monitor your stream in the field, then with 70 to 150 megabits per second download speeds, it works perfectly. That way you can have a separate incoming internet connection, then your outgoing connection for monitoring. And though I haven’t tested it yet, you could theoretically use the StarLink for sending the backup stream to CDA. It has an option.
00:21:08:19 – 00:21:48:21
Hey, so that’s my StarLink story. I’ll keep testing it and working with it as opportunities arise. Thanks for watching. This song has video. I hope you glean some knowledge from our efforts here at Cinema Viva. As always, I’m Horacio Jones.