The Bottom Line
- + Additional monitor
- + Plug and play
- + Stream Deck integration
- + Great value for creators
- + Great value for streamers
- - Small screen
- - Price
Should you buy it?AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy
Elgato has released a teleprompter, which may be the most underrated product the company has released so far.
Elgato is one of the biggest brands in the creator/streaming space, producing high-quality products that all integrate into each other. Now, the company has rolled out a teleprompter, and it's criminally underrated for the value it can bring you if you are a specific type of creator. Before we get into the close-up, Elgato's newest device is called Prompter. It is a $279.99 device that is essentially a monitor with double-sided glass that reflects the monitor onto the glass enclosing your camera.
While the $279.99 price tag is definitely stiff, the Prompter comes with a bunch of features that content creators working with video will really appreciate and see the value in, while others will not. Ultimately, the Prompter is a niche item, but I think it can be integrated into more content creators' workflows than what may be assumed the first time it's seen. Before we get into the applications of the Prompter, let's take a close-up look at it.
The Elgato Shine
As previously stated, Elgato is no stranger to the streamer and content creator market and quickly established its brand with incredible products such as capture cards, microphones, intuitive ecosystem software, and versatility. While Elgato products are certainly more expensive than budget solutions, it's widely understood they will be worth the money. The Prompter is no different.
Why is that? Elgato is similar to Apple in many ways, and one that I wanted to concentrate on is how both companies approach creating a new device. Apple is never the first to create a brand new, unique product; the company usually waits and sees what people like and puts a special Apple finish on an existing, established device. Apple's finish typically comes in the form of integrating the device into the iOS ecosystem, removing any problems that were voiced about the device's original design, recalibrating how the user interacts with it by identifying the most intuitive functionality, and adding requested features. Elgato takes the same approach to devices.
Elgato, very much the same as Apple, looks at already released devices and identifies ways it can improve upon the design, almost perfecting it in a way that best suits content creators and streamers. Elgato has done that with the teleprompter, transforming a relatively old technology that has typically been used by news anchors for many years into what I now consider my favorite product from the company. Introducing the Prompter, a nuanced redesign of the classic teleprompter that I believe will be a staple of many video content creators' and streamers' tool belts.
What Is The Prompter
For those who don't know how a teleprompter works, your camera is placed within the enclosure and shoots out of a two-way mirror. The two-way mirror reflects what is being displayed underneath it. Traditional teleprompters, such as the ones on Amazon, require the use of a smartphone app or tablet that displays the text backward so it is then reflected correctly in the mirror. The idea behind the traditional teleprompter is to read scripts while looking down the barrel of the camera.
I purchased a cheap one (under $100) a few months ago for The TweakTown Show podcast recordings, as I do ad-reads for sponsored episodes. However, the Neweer one I purchased off Amazon proved more of a hindrance than an assist to my workflow. It was too complicated to set up; I had to surrender my phone when I wanted to use it, and the overall interaction with the device and its software was janky.
So, how has Elgato changed the game? The Prompter is equipped with a 1024 x 600-pixel built-in monitor that acts as a second display when plugged into a PC. It shouldn't be understated how big of a change this is, as now it is possible to put any text on the screen, making script reading possible in any type of format (PDF, Word, Websites, etc). To go along with this feature, Elgato has thrown in some software in its Camera Hub that pairs directly with a Stream Deck, enabling the user to change scroll speed, size, color, font, and more.
Being someone who is doing an online podcast once a week that requires script reading, the Prompter has unlocked a whole different workflow for me while also increasing the quality of my content. The fact that the Prompter acts as an external monitor means I can put my co-host directly on top of my camera, so when I'm speaking to him, I'm looking directly down the barrel of my camera, as opposed to looking off to the side on a monitor next to the camera. After using the Prompter for a podcast, my co-host agreed that it adds to the intimacy of conversation by having me look directly at him rather than slightly to the left/right or wherever the monitor may be.
Since it's simply an external monitor, multi-person group meetings also work as each of the participant's cameras can be placed around the monitor. Additionally, script reading with the Prompter makes everything easier. Instead of reading my script off my phone, I'm now looking straight at the viewer of the video while reading my ad - saving content creators editing time by removing all the parts from the clip where they were looking down at their phone or another monitor checking the script.
Another feature that has stood out is the ability to make the Prompter my viewfinder for my camera. By simply opening up OBS and sending the preview directly to the Prompter display, I can see what my camera is going to look like while setting it up. This makes tweaking the lighting of the room just that much easier and the overall setup process for recording much more seamless.
While this feature may sound small, it shouldn't be underestimated, as many content creators will purchase an additional display just to monitor their camera angle. The Prompter has solved that for them while having many more features.
Elgato hasn't forgotten about streamers, as the Prompter comes with a native Twitch chat function that turns the Prompter display into a specifically designed big Twitch chatbot. Users are able to do this by signing into Twitch through the Prompter. Streamers will absolutely love this feature as they will now be able to put "Chat" directly in front of their camera, meaning they will be looking directly at the viewers when addressing Chat instead of looking off to the side, as the majority of streamers are doing now.
Elgato has re-imagined the teleprompter, transforming a once very niche device into what I believe now will be used for various reasons. Elgato gave it all the bells and whistles, which has earned it the worthy title of a must-have device for a video content creator or streamer workflow. The simplistic nature of the device, paired with the intuitive Elgato software that can be mapped to a Stream Deck for further customization and control from afar, is 100% worth the $279.99 price tag. There isn't a question about it.
However, now that I have used the Prompter, I'm already thinking about its next iteration. Elgato needs to make a Prompter XL that has a display resolution of 1920 x 1080 because the only problem with the current Prompter is the screen resolution is too low to be able to clearly see my camera angle or whoever else I'm speaking to over video chat. A Prompter with a 1080p screen that would be around 20 or even 30 inches would be incredible.
Overall, Elgato has knocked it out of the park with the Prompter, as the product has very little downside besides its now-expanded-but-still-very-niche use cases and perhaps its price. However, to those who see the value in the Prompter, it will be a no-brainer, and hopefully, the product will be popular enough that we see future iterations. What we have started off with is already impressive - I can't wait to see what Elgato is cooking up for its next-gen Prompter. Fantastic work, Elgato!