Avatour works with several different 360° cameras to enable real-time remote presence. Learn about the pros and cons of different camera options in this article.
TL;DR: the best 360° camera for most Avatour users is currently the Insta360 One X. It combines low cost, reliability, good quality, and ease of use. We are always evaluating new devices as they become available, and we update our recommendation regularly.
Cameras with full AVATOUR integration
Imeve has worked with camera manufacturers Insta360 and Ricoh to tightly integrate their products with the Avatour Host app. This enables us to directly control these cameras, making for a much easier experience for users.
- Insta360 One X: This is our default recommendation, and the device we include in our own turn-key Avatour kits. The OneX is cost-effective and reliable, with an excellent form factor and good-quality 4k real-time capture. While its battery cannot be charged during live streaming, Avatour permits hot-swapping of replacement batteries in seconds without ending the session, enabling longer sessions with minimal difficulty. Supply shortages for this camera have been addressed and it's now easily available direct from Insta360.
- Insta360 One R: The One R is a multi-purpose camera with similar image performance to the One X. Its form factor is less convenient, though, and we have experienced some issues with stability. Hot-swapping batteries on the One R is impossible due to the design of its mount. Avatour works with the One R but we recommend the One X.
- Ricoh Theta V: The Theta V is an older device with inferior video capture quality to either Insta360 device above. It is unable to maintain 30fps while livestreaming and has a tendency to overheat in hot locales. However the fact that it works without a cable connection to the Avatour Host device means that it can accept external power while operating, making 24/7 continuous operation possible. This also makes it impossible for Bluetooth audio to be used, and creates an additional point of connectivity failure. We generally don't recommend the Theta V for these reasons.
- Ricoh Theta Z1: The Theta Z1 is the latest and highest-quality camera in the Theta line. It offers significantly better sensor and lens quality than the other devices, providing improved sharpness. However it shares some of the drawbacks of the Theta V: the lack of bluetooth audio and an additional wireless connection. The Theta Z1 is a good option for situations where continuous power is required.
Cameras without integration
The Avatour Host app may also be used with any 360° camera which can deliver an equirectangular RTMP feed to a specified URL. Simply set the Avatour Host camera setting to "Other (Manual)" and copy the "Ingest URL," and paste it into your camera's livestreaming app.
We have seen mixed success with non-integrated devices, however. Some devices simply can't deliver low enough latency to be useful for real-time communications. And even for those that can, when used in this limited integration mode, Avatour is restricted in its ability to optimize visual quality and manage connectivity. The upshot is that if you're not experienced with livestreaming, we strongly recommend using one of our integrated cameras.
The Pilot Era and Pilot One cameras are exceptions to this rule. Since they actually run an Android OS, it's possible to load the Avatour Host app directly onto these cameras, and they're actually relatively easy to use, with excellent sharpness and superior battery life. Users of these cameras should contact Avatour support for help with installation and configuration.