writes this article about the ground breaking release of NDI.
Replacing traditional SDI systems with IP technology is something that promises to save big pots of gold, although it principally applies to those of us who are involved in big live studio installs or OB work. It's a tool of the live or as-live production world, which is understandably interested in building video infrastructure out of commodity-priced information technology hardware, as opposed to the industry-specific SDI routers and switchers that are normally used. Perhaps the biggest push for this has revolved around uncompressed video, ultra-low latency and the sort of requirements imposed by big broadcasters. These requirements mean that only the best, latest and fastest computer networking gear can do the job – right now, it's barely cheaper than the SDI option, if it all.
NDI as standard
NewTek's NDI initiative is an alternative designed quite specifically to send production video over IP networks in a way that doesn't have these exotic requirements, with the result that it can often use gigabit Ethernet networks that already exist or which can be built very inexpensively. This approach creates something that is usable now, as opposed to demanding the last corpuscle of performance and tolerating the fact that it won't be widely deployable for a few years. NDI has found favour, not only because of the relatively undemanding infrastructure requirements, but also because NewTek has actively encouraged third-party development of compatible tools. To be fair, the effort to standardise high-bandwidth, uncompressed video over IP is also very concerned with interoperability, to the point where it's becoming a real time sink. As a single company, NewTek has been free to make decisions and quickly create something that works.
One of the ways in which NewTek has encouraged third parties is to provide NDI-compatible applications through its online store, which has just seen the very first third-party sign-up. NewBlue's Titler Live Broadcast is designed to produce lower thirds and other text and graphics for live production and currently goes for a hair under $1500. NewTek has enjoyed considerable interest in the software development kit for NDI, the second version of which is imminently due or may even be released as this article goes public.
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