Hardware Review: The Elgato Prompter

featured image of the elgato prompter with the text of the article name

Editor’s Note: The Elgato Prompter was provided to StreamerSquare for the purposes of review.

Few companies have ventured into the streaming space as successfully as Elgato. Established in 2010, Elgato has been producing computer peripherals for 14 years. However, it wasn’t until 2012, with the release of the Game Capture HD, that they truly made their mark in the content creation space.

The Game Capture HD offered a capture resolution of 1080p at 30fps, making it affordable and user-friendly. It was compatible with any computer with a USB port, effectively becoming a game changer in a market that struggled to find sub-$400 HD capture devices that “just worked.”

Fourteen years later, Elgato is a powerhouse in the content creation industry. Expanding their reach, they have recently released the Elgato Prompter.

What is a Prompter?

A prompter is a device that allows speakers to read from a script while appearing to look directly at the audience. Typically, it is a piece of see-through glass with a monitor that reflects the script in front of the camera lens.

Traditionally, affordable prompters come as kits with the expectation that an end user provides a phone or tablet. This approach keeps costs low for those with compatible mobile devices but can be cumbersome to set up each time you sit down to stream or create scripted video content.

Enter the Elgato Prompter

Priced at $279, the Elgato Prompter is marketed as an all-in-one solution for content creators and streamers. It includes everything needed to start using a prompter, regardless of your primary content creation setup.

The build quality is a mix between feeling “cheap” and “intentionally lightweight.” Given that it is designed to be mounted in front of a camera lens, its lightweight nature is more of an advantage than a mark against its build quality. The transparent material is high quality and blemish-free, and it does not appear to attract dust easily.

Setting up the Elgato Prompter is straightforward, though I encountered a couple of minor issues with my stream PC, which I’ll discuss later. Assembling the hardware was easy, thanks to the numerous options provided.

For larger, more professional setups, adapting the prompter to your camera lens is as simple as selecting the correct lens adapter and attaching the lens mount. For smaller cameras, there are standard ¾ inch tripod mounting holes directly on the prompter, along with hardware to mount your camera directly to the base. Additionally, there is a mount for the Elgato Facecam as well.

Software and Performance

The prompter uses the DisplayLink protocol, which adds an additional monitor to your computer via USB. This bypasses the GPU by using the CPU to compress and stream a virtual feed to the “monitor.” This means you don’t need to disconnect any existing monitors, but it does require additional software and slightly increases CPU usage.

Most content creators with moderately powerful CPUs should not have a problem. However, those with less powerful processors or those who are already maxing their current setup out with a 1080p stream might need to consider this added load.

In my case, the DisplayLink drivers were not installed automatically with the Elgato software, requiring a manual download and installation. Others I’ve spoken to did not encounter this issue.

Once the software is installed, the prompter screen goes black, and you can load a script to display and scroll, or use it as a live stream chat reader. The 1280×800 screen resolution is perfect for its size, providing sharp and clear text. The software is robust, offering options for scrolling speed, text size, and customization.

Practical Use

You can also load Twitch chat onto the prompter, which has worked almost flawlessly for me, despite needing occasional reconnections. I now habitually type “test” into my chat at the beginning of each stream to ensure everything is working correctly.

The prompter allows you to look directly into the camera while speaking, creating a more personal connection with your audience. It might not suit everyone and can be disconcerting to some viewers, but it enhances engagement for interactive and personal content.

For my usages, this greatly changed how I personally interacted with chat. Before, I would side eye conversations as most of us do and then respond into the camera. Oftentimes forgetting mid response what I was responding to. Utilizing the prompter, the conversation stays in view which helps me more effortlessly stay on topic.

When chat is moving fast, this can be less beneficial. It does still work as a an effective way to stay on topic with the chat. The eye contact with the camera is a bonus for engagement.

Lastly, for scripted content creation, this package greatly improves my workflow. Although I’m far from a professional scripted content creator, the projects I’m currently working on have become a breeze to set up. Loading a script and dialing in the scroll speed for the content you’re reciting is the hardest part. I would imagine with time this would become more natural for any creator.

Is it Worth the Price?

Determining if the Elgato Prompter is worth the $279 price tag depends on your needs:

  • YouTube Content Creators: If you produce scripted content and don’t have an old iPad, the Elgato Prompter can elevate your production quality. This will save you time and make your videos more polished.
  • Full-Time Streamers: It’s a solid purchase, especially for those who do both streaming and scripted content. For streamers alone, it’s harder to justify unless your content heavily relies on viewer interaction.
  • New Content Creators: For beginners, this falls into the “non-essential” category. It’s not necessary for success, and investing in other areas might be more beneficial initially.

In conclusion, the Elgato Prompter is an excellent product. I use it daily, and while it’s not essential, it has significantly improved how I engage with my audience.

About the Author

Flamegoat, Chief Technology Officer

Just a guy working in the Streaming Space with a deep and lengthy career throughout. Engineer, content creator, lover of all gadgets.

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