NewTek TalkShow FAQ - Live Skype interviews that look great - and sound amazing

NewTek TalkShow


NewTek TalkShow - NOW SHIPPING! Live Skype interviews that look great - and sound amazing

If you’re a broadcaster, live production pro, or event producer who wants to include more experts, interviews, and correspondents in your program, you no longer have to spend big budgets on live shots, truck uplinks and heavily equipped video crews—or waste time coordinating on-location interviews and low-quality phone recordings. Millions of remote guests for your show are now just a video call away.

NewTek TalkShow, the turnkey solution that delivers live Skype video calls in broadcast-ready, full-frame HD, is the only video calling production system that integrates everything you need for professional-grade video calling into a single interface in your control room— leaving your host to focus on the conversation, and leaving nothing to chance in the field. But TalkShow does more than just connect great-looking Skype calls. It allows you to transform every call with a complete set of studio-grade capabilities, enhancing behind-the-scenes control and communication and allowing the operator to refine call picture and sound quality with professional tools—just like any other in-studio source.

At a glance

  • Broadcast-style video from regular Skype calls— with automatic aspect ratio conversion and balanced audio—and without requiring a scan converter
  • Access to 300 million monthly connected Skype users— and anyone else who downloads and signs up for the standard desktop client on any supported device
  • Distraction-free conversations, with no on-screen interruptions— such as pop-ups, ads or dialog boxes. Unlike consumer calling software, TalkShow keeps technical management separate from face-to-face communication
  • Industry-standard 1RU chassis and HD-SDI I/O — with embedded audio for streamlined, single- or multiunit installation and integration into any established switcher workflow
  • Video and audio over IP— with built-in AirSend technology to network with TriCaster or 3Play, plus fully integrated Dante audio support
  • Real-time video production tools— including proc amp controls and auto color correction to adjust image attributes, compensate for lighting conditions, and enhance call video quality
  • Audio quality enhancement— with built-in compressor/limiter tools, gain control, graphic equalizer, and VU metering to maintain consistent call volume and prevent audio clipping
  • Full-bandwidth call recording— to external USB 3.0 or SAN storage for postproduction, archive, or delayed use

  • Turnkey solution that integrates multiple production components for control over every aspect of your Skype video calls: Avoid the uncertainty and complexity of chaining together multiple components, and the hassle of coordinating and executing satellite feeds or microwave relays, while putting control of quality, image, sound, communication, recording and workflow at your fingertips.
  • Optimized for broadcast: Skype TX software dramatically improves upon the consumergrade, free Skype client to deliver full-frame HD video and balanced audio. TalkShow further adds exclusive studio-grade tools and capabilities, to ensure even higher-quality video calls, a more professional workflow, and a broadcast-quality viewing experience.
  • Delivers the high-quality video and audio that broadcasters demand: In addition to processing Skype video calls in distraction-free, broadcast-ready HD, TalkShow is the only video calling production system that allows broadcasters to manage all aspects of a live Skype video call in the control room—just like any other video source—including picture adjustments and audio enhancements.
  • Removes typical video calling limitations: TalkShow is a fully integrated, professional system, simplifying the video calling workflow and enhancing call quality, while eliminating the interruptions that typically interfere with and detract from video calls.
  • Simple to implement: Anyone with any SDI video switcher and an Internet connection can use TalkShow to route Skype video calls into a live show. A turnkey hardware/software solution with industry-standard video and audio connections, it plugs directly into virtually any production workflow—with no specialized networking tools, ENG equipment, or proprietary software required.
  • Reduces equipment requirements, setup time and operational costs: TalkShow helps you stay on budget by minimizing field production and travel expenses—conserving time, resources, and manpower spent coordinating and performing live shots.
  • Enhances over-the-network production workflows: TalkShow provides support for IP workflows in the following ways:
    • TriCaster or 3Play environments: When connected to the same local network, TalkShow can route Skype video calls into the NET inputs of TriCaster or 3Play, and receive return video and audio from TriCaster or 3Play network outputs—conserving SDI connections for other sources. TalkShow will also receive tally notification from other NewTek systems over the network indicating when the video call is on air.
    • Dante audio environments: TalkShow can interface with audio devices utilizing the Dante networking protocol from Audinate® when connected to the same local network.


The TalkShow Advantage Producers and broadcasters have many choices when it comes to including live Skype video calls in their programs. Here are just a few reasons why NewTek TalkShow gives producers the advantage.
If you need callers to identify when their call is selected as the on-air source, only NewTek TalkShow makes it possible. Built-in tally is also visible to operators at-a-glance and downstream TDs (in NewTek TriCaster and 3Play environments), reducing chances for on-air mistakes Callers have no built-in visual indication to notify them when their call is the on-air source. External tally configuration and components required to communicate on-air status of calls for in-studio personnel
Only TalkShow allows call manager to independently adjust incoming and outgoing audio signals using built-in gain control, graphic equalizer and compressor/limiter for the highest-quality sound, and embeds SDI on both input and output Without embedded SDI on output, and no with onboard tools to independently manage audio, installation and cabling are more complex - and board op will have to ride levels
Capture calls with one-click, full-bandwidth recording onto external USB 3.0 or SAN storage in QuickTime file format, and repurpose into extended postproduction workflows - only with TalkShow Recording requires a complicated workflow involving external capture device, signal routing, storage, all of the necessary cabling to make it work, and coordination to ensure recording is triggered
Works easily into established network audio infrastructures with input from and output to audio devices utilizing the increasingly ubiquitous Dante™ networking protocol from Audinate® Requires technically complex, external audio configuration to interface with network audio devices, or locking in to proprietary audio networks
NewTek's real-time processing engine gives you control over picture attributes, adding correction tools to enhance lighting and color including proc amp controls, auto color setting, and white balance - and clean, deinterlaced return video to caller Without tools to address color and lighting, potential risk for quality differences during the course of a call, if remote lighting or color balance conditions change. Additionally, return feed back to caller from SDI source will show interlace lines
Without interrupting on-air audio, communicate with caller directly by plugging in a standard headset and clicking the Talk Back button. Easily discuss Q&A, instructions or coaching tips with confidence and improve conversation quality Offline interaction between call manager and caller can’t take place without adding complex external audio switching or other parallel communication means (phone, IFB, etc.)
Substantial local monitoring built-in provides confidence with full-motion real-time video previews, front-panel rackviewable display of caller video with tally, phone jack for connecting an in-studio speaker, and accurate on-screen VU metering Quality control limited by basic local monitoring that takes place in software, not an integrated display— including video previews that are less than real time (~5 fps), and unmarked VU metering only
In NewTek workflows, dramatically reduce setup time and conserve hardware connections by using built-in NewTek AirSend technology to network with TriCaster and 3Play network I/O over IP Setup requires hardware connections even in NewTek environments, plus some degree of rerouting or re-wiring to pair with TriCaster or 3Play
Reduce cable runs to a total of three cables with SDI I/O carrying video and audio; or even to just one cable total, when networked with TriCaster and 3Play over IP Adding one caller to a program can require 2x the cabling with video and audio hardware connections wired separately; or consists of wiring multiple devices together
Compact 1RU system slides into even the most crowded racks and makes it easy to stack multiple TalkShow systems to accommodate multiple callers Adding one caller to a program could consume up to 3x the amount of rack space or consist of a sprawling mass of components and cabling with multiple points of failure
Easily overcome changes that can impact call presentation and system performance with a comprehensive restore function that lets you return to factory default settings at any time Undoing unwanted system changes means resorting to troubleshooting, retracing steps, or experimenting with every device in the workflow—consuming valuable time, energy and expense in the process —to discover and resolve the issue
Customers already know how to use Skype. With NewTek TalkShow, based on Skype TX, there's no need to change the way staff, crew and remote callers use video calling - and no learning curve Custom solutions could introduce complexity, disrupt familiar calling workflows, add extra setup for callers, and potentially limit client device compatibility

1. Is it just regular Skype in a hardware frame? No. TalkShow is a turnkey, fully integrated, studio-grade hardware/software system, and comes in a 1RU rack mountable chassis.
  • The hardware offers dual channel Ethernet connectivity, two channels (1-in, 1-out) of HD-SDI I/O that includes reference signal, and professional XLR audio support.
  • The system includes Skype TX software from Microsoft for initiating, receiving, monitoring and managing video calls. Skype TX is not common desktop Skype—it is studio-grade with multiple, broadcast-focused enhancements.
  • Most importantly, unlike other Skype TX manufacturers, TalkShow also features a unique set of live production tools from NewTek for further controlling precisely how the call will be a part of the production and how it will appear.
  • Finally, it offers additional over-the-network I/O integration with TriCaster and 3Play.

2. Is TalkShow the same as Skype TX? No. Skype TX is software from Microsoft that makes Skype calls more HD broadcast production-ready. TalkShow is the fully integrated, hardware/software solution. In addition to incorporating Skype TX, NewTek has also added our own innovative software functionality to TalkShow, that allows producers to deliver enhanced video/audio experiences, critical when producing credible, high-quality broadcast programming and simply not possible with standard desktop video calling products.

3. Why should broadcasters and other companies purchase TalkShow? Skype by itself or even with an add-on scan converter has quite serious quality limitations for professional broadcasters (and other businesses that need to make a credible impression with video) that can both interfere with and detract from the conversation, and present an unprofessional viewing experience for the audience. TalkShow dramatically improves upon these limitations with broadcast-grade studio tools and capabilities.

4. What are the differences between TalkShow and other Skype TX manufacturers? Other video calling production systems just pass a studio-grade Skype call through to a switcher. With TalkShow, you can make every call higher quality, more efficient, and more like network TV along the way—and it will continue to work harder for you, even when the show is over, because only TalkShow allows complete control of the entire video calling workflow—before, during, and after the call.

5. A Skype call is just a Skype call, right? How can TalkShow improve on it? TalkShow can receive the video signal from any Skype client from anywhere in the world and allow an operator to enhance, adjust and/or improve the appearance of the Skype call in real time with a suite of tools built on NewTek’s own powerful graphics processing engine.

Think about lighting and color qualities alone: with our proc amp controls, and auto color correct, you can take unpredictable conditions present in any remote location and automatically adjust their attributes to your site’s selected presets. Even if the subject moves, changes the position of the webcam, or sits in front of a window; or if the ambient lighting changes, even though your guest is not in the controlled environment of your studio, you can make the image appear as consistent with your show’s desired characteristics as possible. Sound-wise, Skype TX provides balanced audio, which enables the audio signal to be finessed with professional sound equipment in such a way to minimize interference and unwanted electronic noise (unlike the standard free Skype client). TalkShow augments this further by incorporating another NewTek innovation from our other video solutions in the form of our audio-sweetening components—our built-in compressor/limiter tools and on-board graphic equalizer, to allow producers to improve the sound of the call as it’s transmitted during the live show. In both video and audio, Skype TX improves upon the standard free Skype client—and with TalkShow, NewTek enhances and improves the producer’s control over these attributes even further.

6. Does TalkShow replace the need for satellite trucks? A traditional satellite feed may still make sense in certain situations for planned broadcasts. But, they are often time consuming to set up, can be costly to execute, and are not scalable to countless potential correspondent and guest scenarios—not to mention, perilous in some breaking news situations, such as weather and natural disaster coverage. TalkShow is a viable alternative to satellite trucks for broadcasters seeking to maximize coverage more affordably and efficiently, and also warrants consideration as a redundant solution for remote communication when use of a satellite truck is not feasible or recommended.

7. Does TalkShow help overcome glitchy Internet connections or dropped calls? While TalkShow cannot prevent dropped Skype calls or cure Internet traffic woes, the system does have built-in tools that can help maintain calls, minimize glitches and improve image and audio quality, even at very low bandwidth thresholds. TalkShow can also identify the version of the Skype client that the remote caller is using, which can help the operator determine if the caller needs to update their Skype before going to air to improve the call quality. However, it’s important to note that the quality of any Skype video call can be affected by connection speeds at either end and the overall network infrastructure.

8. Does it work using a Wi-Fi Connection? The TalkShow system requires a wired network connection. Regarding remote callers, the standard Skype client supports Wi-Fi. While this is common and certainly accepted, we recommended that remote guests use a wired network connection when possible, simply to ensure the highest possible and most consistent, reliable connection speeds.

9. How many guests can you “Skype” in using TalkShow? TalkShow VS-100 allows one live guest per system at any given time. Producers can accommodate additional callers by adding one TalkShow system for each caller. There is no limit to how many TalkShow systems can be used in a production other than the number of inputs on the production switcher.

10. Who are the intended customers for TalkShow? TalkShow is ideal for broadcasters (network, local, cable, news, talk and entertainment), professionals including studios, facilities, media companies, OB units and independent producers, and enterprises with a focus on live video communications. But generally speaking, anyone with a TriCaster, 3Play, or an SDI video production switcher and an Internet connection is a potential customer for TalkShow.

11. What will the audience see on a show using TalkShow? Viewers will be able to see remote guests in full-frame HD, picture-in-picture, or in any other creative way producers decide to insert Skype video calls into a program. They won’t see the typical Skype user interface that they’d see on their desktop or mobile when using the free Skype client.

12. What about call recording? Can both sides of the call be recorded? TalkShow’s call recording function will capture only the caller video. However, because TalkShow allows multiple, flexible audio configurations for audio in, audio out, and return call, you can configure which audio you need recorded quite easily.

If you would like to record both sides of the call or the entire video conversation with live switching, double box or picture-in-picture effects, you’ll need to capture the output from your switcher or activate TriCaster’s built-in recording function.

13. Do both parties need a TalkShow device for it to work? No. A broadcaster uses TalkShow to make or receive video calls from any Skype client (not just another TalkShow system) and incorporate them into their video program. Remote guests must already have Skype installed on their device and an active account, or be able to download and create an account using the free Skype application, which is supported by countless hardware manufacturers in devices including mobile phones, computers and laptops, teleconferencing systems, smart TVs and Xbox gaming consoles.

14. What comes in the box? TalkShow VS-100 system, keyboard, mouse, Quick Start Guide, registration card, User Guide in PDF format (accessible from the Setup control panel in the TalkShow User Interface), and power cable. Connectivity is the responsibility of the purchaser, as is the acceptance of Microsoft’s EULA.

15. Are there recommended connection speed and infrastructure components for using TalkShow? Anyone with an SDI video production switcher (or NewTek production system) and an Internet connection can use TalkShow.

Microsoft recommends that Skype callers who call into a TalkShow workflow should use a dedicated broadband internet access point with greater than 1.2Mbps bandwidth for High Definition calling, regardless of the device they use to make the call. In addition, to ensure the best video call quality, Skype callers who are regular callers or guests in broadcasts from a “Skype video studio” might choose to have the following minimum or recommended configuration to run their Skype software:
Hardware •CPU •Graphics card •Memory Minimum: •1 GHz •32 MB •256 MB Recommended: •At least 1.8 GHz •At least 64 MB •At least 512 MB

16. How is the tally supplied? Tally is provided by a contact closure GPI input or via network when TalkShow is integrated into a TriCaster workflow.

17. Is the Skype logo overlaid on all outputs? No.

Hardware Video Input 1 x HD-SDI with embedded audio
Hardware Video Output 1 x HD-SDI with embedded audio
Hardware Audio Input 1 x embedded SDI audio 2 x Balanced XLR (Line)
Hardware Audio Output 1 x embedded SDI audio 2 x Balanced XLR (Line)
AirSend Networking Integrated NewTek AirSend technology enabling network transmission of A/V input and output signals between TalkShow and other supported systems, including TriCaster, 3Play and select third-party partner solutions
Dante Audio Networking Integrated Dante audio support, enabling TalkShow to interface with other audio devices utilizing the Dante networking protocol from Audinate
Call Recording Supports full-bandwidth recording of call video and audio (optionally including return audio on separate channels) to external USB 3.0 or SAN storage
Video Effect Controls Fully configurable color correction settings for incoming and outgoing video signals, including white balance, proc amp controls and auto color
Audio Effect Controls Fully configurable settings for incoming and outgoing audio signals, including gain control, seven-band equalizer and compressor/limiter
Talk Back Supports direct, off-air communication between operator and remote caller via headset
Call Management •Direct mouse and keyboard USB interface required for Skype TX call management in single-unit installation (single-caller) •Supports Skype TX call management over local network via Skype TX Control application in multi-unit installation (multi-caller)
Local Monitoring • DVI and HDMI monitor ports for connecting external user interface display • Stereo 1/4” phone jack for local audio monitoring • Front-mounted RGB video preview display with tally support • Full-motion input and output video previews within user interface • Audio VU metering configurable for dBFS, dBU and dBVU
Watermark Integrated support for displaying Skype logo watermark on output
Tally • Supports hardware tally via HD15 GPI connector or network tally via NewTek AirSend • Optionally display customizable tally overlay on return signal
GPI HD15 GPI connector
Reference • Genlock input supporting SD (Bi-level) or HD (Tri-level) reference signals • +4dBU audio reference level
Software Windows Embedded 8.1, Skype TX Client software, and TalkShow control software
CPU 4th Generation i7 Quad-Core
Graphics Intel HD4600 GPU
Memory 8Gb
Storage 120Gb internal SSD
Processing Video: 4:4:4:4, 32-bit Floating Point Audio: 4 channels, 96 kHz, 32-bit Floating Point
Network Dual gigabit Ethernet NIC supporting Skype TX call transmission, AirSend signals to and from supported systems, Dante audio networking, and local network traffic
Fail-Safe • Multi-tiered fail-safe system • Automatic failover to audio transmission with caller snapshot when bandwidth falls below operator-defined preset value • Comprehensive system restore operation
System Physical 1RU Rack Mount with 180W power supply (110-220V external; 12V internal) • 19.0 x 1.75 x 16.75 in (48.3 x 4.5 x 42.5 cm) with rack ears attached • 14 lbs (6.4 kg)

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