Pearl Nano vs Pearl Mini

I’m looking to buy a future proof unit and struggling to understand the difference in the pricing between the Pearl Mini and Pearl Nano. From the specs, it looks like the cheaper Pearl Nano can do both 4K and H.265, but the Pearl Mini cannot.

What are the advantages of the Pearl Mini over the Nano? Is it a hardware or software limitation that is preventing the Mini to be 4K and H.265 enabled?

Hello there, thank you for your interest in our Pearl encoders! I’d be happy to outline the key differences between the Mini and the Nano.

Probably the biggest difference between them is that the Pearl Nano is a single layout, single channel encoder. This means that it cannot do any sort of switching between different input signals, and it can only send out streams with a single set of encoding configurations. This means that if you need to send both a 720p signal and a 1080p signal at the same time the Nano would not be able to do that.

Since the Pearl Mini can have multiple channels, and multiple layouts, you can send out streams with varying resolutions, bitrates, or frame rates. With multiple layouts you can also set up your program such that you can switch between different camera angles or video sources. To do that on a Nano you would need an external switching device.

Another big difference is the Pearl Mini’s ability to ingest NDI|HX sources, this is something the Pearl Nano cannot do. Full NDI ingest is still the domain of the Pearl-2 though, which can be confusing sometimes.

As you’ve pointed out, the Nano can encode in H.265, and with the 4k add-on can ingest and stream 4k. This is indeed a hardware limitation on the part of the Pearl Mini. Due to certain features available to the Nano’s CPU it’s able to do this while the Mini cannot. It’s very unlikely that the Mini will ever be able to encode in H.265 or use 4k, unless there is a significant hardware refresh of some kind.

The Pearl Mini also has a larger number of inputs than the Nano, two HDMI, one SDI, and two USB inputs that can do audio and video. The Nano’s USB port is currently only capable of audio, though video is still on our development roadmap. Mini also supports 3.5mm audio input, while the Nano does not.

The Mini also has a large touch screen that can make interacting with it far simpler and easier than using the Nano’s smaller screen and physical buttons. This does somewhat come down to personal preference though.

I hope that this helps outline some of the major differences between the two devices! Basically the Pearl Mini is a larger and more powerful encoder in general, but the Nano has some specialized features that allows it to excel in areas where the Mini cannot. Let us know if you have any other questions, we’re always happy to help!