Dan Miall the President of BirdDog posted this on an online vMix NDI forum over the weekend. It is very important information that explains some of the differences and benefits of the BirdDog Studio NDI converter vs. the newly released NewTek NDI|HX Spark family of converters. We will be carrying both and we will be happy to answer your questions about them, in order to help you select the NDI converter that best meets your needs and budget.
BirdDog is using a custom hardware approach to processing video into NDI, this is based on an FPGA processor which means it is low power, high performance and can be made very compact. Getting anything to work on an FPGA is specialist work, and video is probably the most specialised of FPGA applications. No doubt it has taken longer than we or anyone wanted for us to produce BirdDog, but the fact remains it is the ONLY hardware implementation of the 'core', high quality, i-frame only NDI protocol in operation. We are a new company so we have developed everything from the ground up here, the team has literally been working day and night.
The recent announcements of NDI3 are great news for everyone, it allows IP workflows to reach further out into the production. NewTek's boxes really are great at that part of the equation, areas where you would usually have to use traditional h.264 network streaming or wireless links can now be seamlessly integrated into your production with lower latency than ever before. These new NewTek devices, along with announcements from various PTZ manufacturers all utilise the NDI|HX subset of NDI3, which is the 'high efficiency' compression scheme, without going into details, as magical as NDI is, something has to give when you reduce compression by tenfold, hence NDI 'core' is still very much part of the NDI3 specifications.
I would go as far as to say that people wishing to use NDI on their main production cameras on commercial productions that are used to using HDMI or SDI cameras are not likely to want to use the new NewTek Spark devices as their primary feed, and similarly people wanting to send video over a sub-par network or WiFi will be disappointed with BirdDog Studio NDI operating with NDI 'core' technology.
I genuinely see a place for all these currently announced products in the same production with no real overlap.
Onto more things BirdDog:
At shipping (this week for 'pre-orderers'!) we will support the following features, with a huge amount more to come over a short period of time (I know we have a long way to go to make you all believe our timelines!)
- 1920x1080 HDMI and SDI Video input (including Interlaced and progressive rates, up to 60p, Auto-syncing to input rate)
- NDI hardware encoding in realtime
- On-board Tally, fully integrated with NDI
- - Power over Ethernet
Us here at BirdDog are truly excited about NDI and are very optimistic about it and our future in the world of IP production. Any questions, feel free to ask! Sorry about the long post, I'll be more brief in future!
Founder & CEO, BirdDog
NewTek CTO Dr. Andrew Cross jumped on one fo the the NewTek NDI user forums to post this Q&A to address some of the misconceptions floating around the interwebs about NDI Spark and NDI HX technology. You can read it here: Dr. Andrew Cross: NDI Spark FAQ