Review: NewTek TriCaster 40
With the TriCaster 40, NewTek's newest compact video switcher and live production box, NewTek goes retro and down-market but still delivers a capable solution at a price $20k (or more) below other models in the TriCaster line. And that, in itself, should be cause for rejoicing.
Let's start this review by stating clearly what the TriCaster 40 (TC 40) from NewTek is not: It is not a high-end, all-digital, rackmounted video production switcher. And that should be cause for rejoicing.
For those who have longed for a compact, field-capable TriCaster with high-definition, the TC 40 comes as a pleasant surprise--as long as you're not looking to hook up any Serial Digital Interface (SDI) or HD-SDI cameras to the unit.
Readers will remember our reviews of the TriCaster 8xx and 4xx series of extreme video production units (see related articles links below), but it's interesting to note that just a few weeks ago the TC 40 won a Streaming Media Readers' Choice Award. We think this is due to the fact that the TC 40 is much more akin to the compact TriCasters of yesteryear, and carries a price point that is as retro as the unit's external housing.
Whatever the case, the TC 40 has resonated with users. Let's look at a few reasons why. For our review we looked at form factor, input capability, output—including streaming—capability, and user interface.
To say that the TC 40 is the smallest HD-capable TriCaster would be an understatement. At 17.5 inches long, 10.4 inches high, and 8.5 inches wide, the form factor of the TC 40 is almost identical to that of the TriCaster Studio.
A recent review of the TC 40 tested the form factor question, and noted that the fact that the TC 40 is similar in size to the TriCaster Studio and Broadcaster means "it should fit inside the same road cases used by those earlier TriCaster models."
In fact, with the exception of the fact that the TC 40 has fewer BNC connectors on its faceplate, one could mistake it for an older SD-only model. Yet under the hood, there's a whole new beast waiting to rip through almost any analog video source you throw at it.
The Extreme version provides a number of enhancements over the original TCXD850 including full HD recording treatment, with the ability to record 1080p30 of any discrete input as well as the program or AUX outputs (the TCXD850 could record only outputs). This extended ability to record both inputs and outputs means that 850 Extreme can perform isolation recording of up to 8 simultaneous camera inputs with its proprietary IsoCorder software.
NewTek returns to its roots of empowering entry-level and budget-constrained live producers with its first sub-$5k HD-capable, multi-camera live production system
Half the size of the NewTek TriCaster 855, the TriCaster 455 holds its own for live production and streaming at a lower price point. We really like the functionality of the 455, especially when it comes to one-button streaming, a robust but manageable control surface, and the ability to add AirPlay virtual inputs to the HD-SDI physical inputs.
Streaming Media Producer editor Steve Nathans-Kelly interviews NewTek SVP on the red carpet at Streaming Media West regarding the NewTek TriCaster 40 and the present and future of affordable, accessible live production and webcasting.
Frisco, Texas-based NBA Development team the Texas Legends have created a custom-built mobile streaming and broadcast production trailer boasting its own 10x10 studio and featuring NewTek TriCaster for switching and streaming, a ProSonus mixer for audio mixing, and NewTek 3Play for instant replay, with 3 benches for production crew.