Expanding your Studio Workflow with NDI Converters

NDI Converters are a great way to expand the NDI capabilities of your live streaming workflow, by integrating both wired HDMI or SDI devices, with traditional NDI sources, for ultimate flexibility.  BirdDog and NewTek both have a large variety of NDI converters to chose from, and it can be challenging to know which one is best for your production.  Luckily, we're here to help.

On today's Videoguys Live Webinar, Gary Bettan breaks down some of our favorite NDI converters, and the differences between these devices, as well as how they might fit into your live production.  

Check out the webinar, below:

Frequently Asked Questions about NDI Converters:

What Do NDI Converters Do?

  1. NDI converters are great devices to elevate your production flexibility and capability with the power of NDI, but what features do they bring to the table? NDI Encoders let you take the HDMI or SDI signal out of a camcorder or other device and bring it into your NDI Network.
  2. Allows you to use existing GigE network to send NDI video and communicate
  3. Turns your camera/ device into an NDI source and makes it available to every other NDI aware product on the network

NDI Encode vs Decode:

When first getting started, there might also be some confusion when it comes to the differences between NDI Encode vs NDI Decode.  Different NDI converters will support different functions.  

  1. NDI Encode will take an HDMI or SDI signal and convert it to NDI. ​You can use your existing HDMI & SDI cameras with NDI workflows 
  2. NDI Decode will take an NDI signal, and convert it back into HDMI or SDI.​These devices allow you to attach an HDMI monitor to any jack on the network!

NDI Version 4.5

NDI Version 4.5 is Here, with a Ton of New Features, Including:

  • Realtime iOS Support
  • NDI|HX improvements and lower latency
  • Unlimited IP recording
  • Mix Full NDI and NDIHZX together without worries or conflicts
  • NDI SDK for Unreal Engines

What is the difference between Full NDI and NDIHX?

NDI Users will be aware that there are two different versions of NDI, but which one is better?  The answer is neither.  Each version is fit for a different workflow.  

  • Full NDI has lower latency and higher bandwidth to deliver superior image quality 
  • NDI|HX is more compressed, creating additional latency and requiring more computer power got the mixer/ switcher

Comparing NDI Converters:

Check out this chart we've created that will help break down the differences of some of our favorite NDI converters from NewTek and BirdDog. 


BirdDog Flex:

The BirdDog Flex Encoders and Decoders are a series of three great NDI converters.  The Flex Out will take an HDMI feed and convert it to NDI, the Flex In will take an HDMI feed and convert it to NDI, and the Flex Backpack includes all the features of the Flex In, but can also hook to the back of your production monitor, and act as a power passthrough.  All three devices are priced at $399.

The BirdDog Flex out can also pair with NLE's like Adobe Premiere Pro or Avid Media Composer, to monitor and push playback in real time, we demonstrated this in our webinar. 

Check out the workflow, below:  

BirdDog Mini:

The BirdDog Mini is a great NDI Encode and Decode device, that will convert an HDMI signal into NDI, to bring a wired signal into your NDI production system.  This converter also features tally, and 1080p crisp video.  

BirdDog Studio:

The BirdDog Studio is an excellent NDI encode and decode device with tally capabilities that can ingest HDMI or SDI signals, and convert them to NDI.  NDI can also be converted back to HDMI or SDI. 

BirdDog 4K Family:

The BirdDog 4K family are 4K encode and decode devices, that are great for your 4K NDI workflow.  They come in three flavors, 4K HDMI, 4K 12-G SDI, or 4K quad, which features four SDI inputs.  

NewTek Spark Plus Family:

The NewTek Spark Plus Family includes NDI converters for any workflow you might be creating.  The Spark Plus 4K is an awesome encode device, that can ingest 4K HDMI and convert it to NDI in 4Kp30/

The Spark Plus IO 4K is very similar, but it features both input and output (encode and decode) capabilities.  HDMI can be converted to NDI, and vise versa, in 4Kp60.  

Input and output options continue with the Spark Plus IO 3G-SDI.  As the name suggest, this device can input our output a signal from 3G SDI to NDI, or NDI to 3G-SDI.  This is a 1080p device, with a max resolution of 1080p60.  

NewTek also has a 4K SDI to NDI converter option with the Spark Plus IO 12G-SDI.  This is an input or output device that can convert 4K video from 12G-SDI to NDI, or NDI to 12G-SDI. 

Learn more about NDI Converters HERE.


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