NewTek NDI® has been available to the public for about 4 years now and the market has responded. Over 2,000 companies/developers are now shipping or developingNDI®-enabled products- Avid Technology adoptedNDI® into their Media Composer workflow, any SKYPE account can now be anNDI® source, LiveU can use NDI® in their cellular bonding solution, Sony and Panasonic adopted NDI® for their camera lines, and even Vizrt, now the parent company of NewTek, is using the NDI® protocol in its Graphic Server. NDI® is rapidly expanding the functionality and capabilities of IP workflows for live broadcast.
NewTek’s Chris Burgos recently demonstrated NewTek NDI® End-To-End IP Workflow and TriCaster Premium Access features at Key Code Media.  This was the Key Code team’s first-time getting hands-on with the latest version of NDI® since NAB 2019. We like what we’re seeing! Here are the top 6 things we think you should know about NDI®:

1) NEWTEK NDI®: INTRODUCTION TO KEY NETWORK TERMS

Before we jump into what is NDI®, we need to go over general networking terms. What is a network switch, POE, cable requirements, and so forth. If you consider yourself a beginner, make sure to watch this video for context. Otherwise, jump over to the next video.

2) NEWTEK NDI® | WHAT IS NDI?

The developers of NDI® are to make it easier to setup/configure for production teams, be completely interoperable with NDI applications, work on existing network infrastructure, leverage high bandwidth networks when available, and be flexible. Here’s what NewTek is doing with NDI®:

The auto-discovery allows NDI® users to span a network by name. When you’re using an NDI® product, you don’t need to memorize IP or port addresses. When you go into a TriCaster and select ‘detect the source,’ the system will automatically tell you what PTZs are available within your network- similar to how your phone would connect to a wifi or Bluetooth source. This could be a mixture of cameras- agnostic to the manufacturer- all connecting to your switcher through NDI.

NewTek has also made NDI® completely interoperable with the previous version. Today, NewTek is pushing 3.8, and soon they’ll be showcasing 4.0. All version of NDI® are forward and backward compatible. So, if you have an original 1.0 NDI® device that has never been updated, it will still work with your TriCaster today. This also goes for PAL and NTSC signals, the system will automatically convert the standard to NDI®- or visa versa.

The NDI® is designed to work on 1GigE infrastructure since that is the standard most facilities work on today. This also means most facilities will be able to use NDI® without replacing network switches or cables.

3) NEWTEK NDI® | PERFORMANCE CAPABILITY

NDI® is a software-based protocol that is also bidirectional. This includes the use of NDI® to communicate with other systems – they can send and they can receive. Commands can be assembled into scripts (macros) and these macros are then used to execute complex sequences of actions with a single keystroke on the control surface or keyboard.

How often has someone handed you a laptop for a presentation, and it happens to be using a resolution or frame rate that isn’t compatible with your switcher.NDI® is resolution and frame rate independent. If you connect that same laptop into an HDMI-to-NDI converter, it will automatically detect that source resolution and integrate into the switcher. This is also great for eSports where people are using multiple computers with multiple resolutions that need to be brought into a production environment.

The NDI® codec is of high quality, with low latency. In a single ethernet cable @ 1GigE you can deliver 2 streams of 2160p60, or up to 7 streams of 1080p60. This is reducing the number of cables required for each camera or source. When compared to SMPTE 2110 and SMPTE 2022, NDI requires 90% less bit rate to deliver the same 4K resolution. Efficient!

4) NEWTEK NDI® | WHAT IS NDI | HX?

NDI | HX is a high-efficiency version of NDI. The NDI | HX is much slimmer, it can be used in much more bandwidth restrictive environments. At 15mb, an NDI | HX camera can be connected through a wide area network.

The tradeoff is that there are a few frames (3) of latency with NDI | HX, so this would not be an ideal solution for IMAG.

5) NEWTEK NDI® | KVM DEMONSTRATION

NewTek NDI® KVM allows you to access any NewTek TC1, VMC1, or NC1 IO module on your network from any laptop or desktop. This allows you to take control of all of your systems from a single device, without the need for KCM hardware.

It’s important to note, the NDI® KVM feature is only available with a NewTek Premium Access subcription.

6) NEWTEK NDI® | NDI TOOLS

There are a handful of free NDI® applications that will help in your production workflow. Here are a few to the most commonly used NDI® tools:

NDI® Studio Monitor: This is the most popular NDI® Tool available. The NDI® Studio Monitor will allow you to open multiple instances in a single computer, remote control PTZ Cameras, and supports multi-monitor video wall & digital signage applications. There’s actually a lot more available in this app, so you may want to download to learn more.

NDI® Scan Converter: Captures full screen, full frame rate video (up to 60Hz) for any desktop or webcam direct to IP. There is also support for multi-monitor configurations, audio source selection, region-of-interest support, and has a minimal impact on system resources.

NDI® | Virtual Input: This will allow popular software applications- Google Hangouts, GoTo Meeting, Skype, and Zoom to recognize NDI® as a source. This will allow you to provide full frame video, up to 4K UHD at 60 fps, for your next web presentation.

NDI® | VLC Plug In: Play media via VLC as an IP Source. This is great for when last minute video is added to a presentation, but there isn’t time to transfer or transcode onto the TriCaster.

NDI® Plug-in for Adobe CC: This will allow you to play directly from your Adobe Premiere Pro timeline as an IP source to your TriCaster. This is great if you have a last minute correction from post- like a misspelled name- but do not have time to export the revised video before the production goes live. This same tool will also work for pushing Alpha from an Adobe After Effects project.

NDI® Access Manager: This will allow your NDI® signal to cross subnets and overall manage the visibility and accessibility of NDI channels on your network. This is great for complex networks that require setting permissions for what channels are available, what groups can access those channels, configuring private or public channels, or accessing channels on other networks.

Are you interested in learning more about NewTek NDI? Contact us!

Key Code Media not only sells and support broadcast products, but we can also train staff on how to use is through Key Code Education. Contact us if you need anything.