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Almost Live with Streaming Media: NewTek 3Play

Shawn Lam and NewTek CMO Carter Holland discuss the latest developments with NewTek's 3Play professional instant replay and slo-mo server.

[Note: This sponsored interview was recorded at NAB 2014.]

Foremost among NewTek's announcements and new developments introduced at NAB 2014 were enhancements up and down the company's 3Play line of systems designed to help producers deliver professional live sports shows. Recent additions to the line include the flagship 3Play 4800, which lists for $39,995; and the more compact 3Play 440, which sells for $24,995.

Like NewTek's TriCaster line, the 3Play is much more than a one (or two or three) trick pony--just as TriCaster is about more than switching and streaming, so is 3Play more than a replay and slo-mo system. Streaming Media Producer conributing editor Shawn Lam caught up with NewTek CMO Carter Holland in the NewTek booth at NAB 2014 to discuss the 3Play, its range of capabilities, and newest enhancements.

"What we’re doing with 3Play is looking at the whole environment for creating a full sports show," Holland said. "And so not only do we have replay in slow motion, but we’ve integrated things like motion graphics or titling. We actually have a switching capability. So if you didn’t have a production switcher, you could actually use 3Play now to switch a show. We’ve got real-time social media capabilities, so you want to publish clips while your event is happening directly to your YouTube or Facebook or Twitter, do that, all right within the system."

Shawn: It’s Shawn Lam here for Streaming Media Producer. We’re at NAB 2014. I’m at the NewTek booth. I’m joined by NewTek CMO Carter Holland, and we’re here to talk about some of the advancements here at NewTek. Now, you’ve got the 3Play that’s the new announcement. That’s a model that I’ve actually used myself. I’ve used the 425. What’s new?

Carter: We have a whole new line of 3Play systems. And the big thing that I want to point out about 3Play is that there are a lot of manufacturers that make replay systems out there. What they typically do is focus on linear tape-based workflows to do replays. And replays are really only one part of a sports production. What we’re doing with 3Play is looking at the whole environment for creating a full sports show. And so we’re not only, not only do we have replay in slow motion, but we’ve integrated things like motion graphics or titling. We actually have a switching capability. So if you didn’t have a production switcher, you could actually use 3Play now to switch a show. We’ve got real-time social media capabilities, so you want to publish clips while your event is happening directly to your YouTube or Facebook or Twitter, do that, all right within the system.

Shawn: That’s all within the 3Play.

Carter: All within the 3Play line. So we have our flagship product, which is the 3Play 4800, which sells for $39,995. We introduced that last year at NAB. We have major advancements in that system. And then we introduced a brand-new model, the 3Play 440. It’s all the same software capabilities as the 4800. It’s just a smaller, more compact, two-rack unit device for four-channel, or four-camera show, and that starts at $24,995. And then our former 3Play 425 product is now available for under $10,000, which is really kind of an historic event for us, because just a few years ago to have a four-camera replay device, you know, you were well into the six figures. So now you got it for under $10,000. And by the way, this is one of NewTek’s brand hallmarks. As a company, we’re constantly focused on looking at that live production environment, trying to figure out, “How can we take all these component parts, or as many of them as possible, pack them into an integrated turnkey system, and offer at a price point that makes it more accessible for everybody?” And that’s what we’re doing here at this NAB.

Shawn: That’s definitely one of the trends I’ve noticed, whether it’s with NewTek over the last few years or other manufacturers, is that integration of the workflow, the entire workflow. And TriCaster, definitely has been a big part of that.

Carter: The TriCaster is very much built on that same philosophy of looking at live production and figuring how we could integrate all those capabilities in. The Tri part of the name came from the ability to be able to broadcast to television, stream, and project to displays all simultaneously. We can actually do a lot more simultaneously now. We can also record, we have ISOcording on all camera inputs on all the professional TriCasters while you’re doing those other things. And so you’re right. We’re always looking at ways that we can bring those things together. The thing about it is, though: We also recognize there’s an ecosystem of other companies out there that offer very capable products to customers.

Shawn: And these are the third-party developer network you’ve got?

Carter: We launched that program, the NewTek Developer Network, a little less than two years ago. We now have 57 solutions in that. There are 50 companies, and at this NAB there are actually 22 new workflows that are being announced by our developers. Things from media asset management to shared storage, new graphics capabilities, telestrations. So the ability to use your finger to create analysis marks and have that go out to your broadcast working directly within our products now. So it’s really exciting. And not only is it validating for us and our place in the production world; it’s really powerful to customers. Because at the end of the day, they really want the technology to be transparent, and they have a show to produce or a story to tell, and that’s what our products and our connections with all of these other developers are really letting them do.

Shawn: Excellent. Well, thank you very much, Carter, for sharing with me the news from NewTek. This is Shawn Lam for Streaming Media Producer at NAB 2014.