Teradek – Prism vs Cube: A Buyer’s Guide

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In this buyer’s guide, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about Teradek’s professional-grade encoder and decoder solutions to decide which is right for you.

Both Prism and Cube enable live video streaming over the internet. They offer point-to-point workflows (encoder-to-decoder), local wireless video monitoring, proxy file uploads for camera-to-cloud workflows, and so much more.

Designed for live production companies, broadcasters, filmmakers, megachurches, and large corporations, Prism and Cube perform in mission-critical scenarios where reliable, color-accurate, and low latency point-to-point streaming is needed.

Let’s unpack each solution to help you decide which device solves your IP video needs.

A Brief History on Cube and Prism

Cube is Teradek’s longest running line of encoders and decoders. In fact, the first Cube (Cube 100) was an early pioneer for portable box encoders. Before compact devices like the Cube 100 came along, the only other option for hardware encoders and decoders was a large rack unit. The difference?

A typical rack unit is roughly the size of a briefcase.
A Cube 100 is roughly the size of a deck of cards.

This portable device leveled the playing field – allowing anyone to mount a Cube to their camera or camcorder, and live stream their content to the internet from anywhere. As the years progressed, Cube kept upping the processing power – increasing capacity for features like HEVC, SRT, SDI video inputs, and even network bonding for a reliable live streaming connection.

And for those who needed a rack unit solution with multiple encoder and decoder cards? In 2020, Teradek launched Prism Rack Unit – enabling up to 4K HDR video for live broadcasts. Now, the all-new Prism Flex provides the same rock-solid, low latency delivery found in Prism’s powerful rack unit – but in a lightweight, camera-mount, and table-top body.

Now that you’ve got a lay of the land, let’s get to know each solution.

Product Overview

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Product: Cube 600 Series (Cube 655 | Cube 605)
Product Type: Encoder

Cube 600 Series is an H.264 (AVC) video encoder that enables live video streaming over the internet, point-to-point workflows (encoder-to-decoder), local wireless video monitoring, and proxy file uploads for camera-to-cloud workflows. Featuring 3G-SDI and HDMI inputs, a high-powered 802.11AC WiFi router, and a rugged aluminum chassis with a professional locking 2-pin connector.

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Product: Cube 700 Series (Cube 755 | Cube 705 | Cube 775 | Cube 725)
Product Type: Encoder | Decoder

Cube 700 Series is a professional, scalable integrated encoder and decoder system designed for video over IP delivery. Compatible with previous generation Teradek systems, the Cube 700 offers SD/HD MPEG-4 AVC/HEVC (H.264/H.265) decoding for point-to-point video distribution, allowing content creators, broadcasters and system integrators to cost-effectively and reliably meet strict QoS requirements.

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Product: Prism Rack Unit
Product Type: Encoder | Decoder

Prism Rack Unit elevates your production workflow with industry leading, low latency video up to 4K HDR. With room for up to nine blades in a 2RU chassis or three blades in a 1RU chassis, you can customize Prism with any combination of HD and 4K encoder and decoder cards necessary to accommodate your environment and workflow.

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Product: Prism Flex
Product Type: Encoder | Decoder

Standing alongside the Prism Rack Unit is Prism Flex: Teradek’s flagship H.264/H.265 encoder/decoder that supports up to 4K HDR streaming to any destination (Point-to-Point + Online Video Platforms). It’s compact, multi-I/O, low-power design can squeeze into small spaces – making it easy to integrate into any live production workspace and workflow. Plus, it includes ports for Ethernet, WiFi, and USB (x2) for LTE modems.

Great! Now that you know the difference between the devices, these questions will help point you in the right direction.

Which Product is Best For Me?

Use this simple Q&A to decide which of the Cube 600 Series, Cube 700 Series, and Prism products you need.

1. Do you need to stream in 4K?

Yes: Prism Rack Unit*, Prism Flex*

No: Cube 600, Cube 700

*Prism Rack Unit and Prism Flex also support HD streaming

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1080p                                   4K

2. Do you need to stream in HDR?

Yes: Prism Rack Unit*, Prism Flex*

No: Cube 600, Cube 700

*Prism Rack Unit and Prism Flex also support SDR streaming

3. Are you using this device for studio production or field production?

Studio Production: Prism Rack Unit

Field Production Cube 600, Cube 700, Prism Flex

4. What are your bandwidth requirements?

If you have below 5 Mbps of upload, you’ll be better off with an HEVC encoder and get twice the efficiency as AVC.

HEVC: Cube 700, Prism Rack Unit, Prism Flex

(If you have between 5-20 Mbps of upload, HEVC or AVC will do.)

HEVC/AVC: Cube 600, Cube 700, Prism Rack Unit, Prism Flex
If you have between 20 Mbps up to 85 Mbps of upload, Prism is your solution.)

5. How strong is your internet connection?

You have a solid Ethernet connection: Cube 600, Cube 700, Prism Rack Unit, Prism Flex

You have a solid WiFi connection: Cube 600, Cube 700, Prism Flex

Your Ethernet and/or WiFi connection is unreliable or nonexistent:
You should consider using an LTE connection bonded with Ethernet and/or WiFi using Core, our cloud-based platform.

1x LTE Modem: Cube 600, Cube 700, Prism Flex

2x+ LTE Modems: Prism Flex, Bond 600, Bond 700

6. Are you recording on your device for later consumption in the cloud?

Yes: Prism Flex allows you to do local recordings on an SD card with automatic later chunking to the cloud. This feature is known as store and forward.

No: Cube 600, Cube 700, Prism Rack

7. Do you need to transmit more than 2 audio channels?

Yes: Prism Flex and Prism Rack Unit allows you to transmit 5.1 Surround Sound.

No: If you just need 2 or less, then all solutions will work (Cube 600, Cube 700, Prism Rack, Prism Flex)

8. Do you need an SDI loop-out?

Yes: Prism Flex, Prism Rack Unit

No: Cube 600, Cube 700

And there you have it! This should help you narrow it down. Want to see all the features? This chart will give you a clear side-by-side comparison.

Cube vs Prism Comparison Chart

Features

Cube6XX

Cube7XX

Prism Rack

Prism Flex

Dual Ethernet

X

X

Up to 1080p60

Up to 4Kp60

X

X

4:2:0 8-bit

4:2:2 10-bit

X

X

HEVC

X

Max Bitrate (Mbps)

15

30

85

85

Slice-based encoding

X

X

Final Thoughts

Cube is a trusted solution for broadcast professionals. But if you want the best of the best, Prism is your solution. You get:

  • 4K Encoding/Decoding. Cut in close with clear footage.
  • 10-bit, 4:2:2. Show color that bursts off the screen.
  • HEVC + AVC. Get better visual quality at half the bitrate.
  • SRT, RTMP(S), MPEG-TS. Send streams to every platform.
  • Store and Forward. Save and send files in chunks for faster delivery.