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NAB 2019: Magewell Talks NDI Streaming

Streaming Media Producer's Shawn Lam and Magewell's Mike Nann discuss Magewell's new NDI ProConvert encoders and decoders in the Magewell booth at NAB 2019.


Shawn Lam: It's Shawn Lam here for Streaming and Media Producer at NAB 2019. I'm here with Mike from Magewell and we're going to be talking today about their NDI devices. Now you've got two devices here so one's an encoder, one's a decoder. Walk us through these.

Mike Nann: So, the Pro Convert Family, the big thing we're trying to achieve was to let people easily bring and reliably bring SDI and HDMI signals into the IP-based workflows. One thing that we found, I mean so many production professionals want to take advantage of the flexibility of IP and reduce cost of deployment. But they have existing equipment investments, and not everybody wants to go out and replace their SDI camera with one that has a network jack on the back right now. So we really found a lot of people that wanted to be able to bring those signals in to make the whole workflow practical and affordable. We started with the encoders, with Pro Convert Plus Series that we announced a couple of months ago. And those are available in 4K and HD models and they take your existing base span signals and convert them into NDI streams with extremely low latency. And this is over a gigabit ethernet as part of the overall. NDI protocol. So you hook these up and obviously however many sources you have you can be converting them to NDI streams with low latency. If you're doing a live production workflow, they're camera-mountable, they also have tally lights and PTZ camera control, so everything you need to actually make it a full-fledged camera accessory. And they're plug-and-play, so you just plug it in, it automatically detects the import format and network configuration and off you go.

Shawn Lam: Now there are different versions of NDI, so which versions do these support?

Mike Nann: So we started with the 3.x variance of NDI right off the bat. And we do all the way up to the full bandwidth, so you know for maximum quality. And obviously at this show they've announced NDI 4.0, so that's something we'll be looking at adding in as well. I mean these are hardware devices, quote-unquote. But they're all FPGA-based, so we have the flexibility of loading new firmware on and adapting easily as the technology continues to evolve.

Shawn Lam: Excellent, all right. And you have the decoder here as well, that pairs with the encoder.

Mike Nann: Yeah, well, you can pair it with the encoder or not necessarily, because there are a lot of devices out there in the NDI ecosystem. I mean what we're finding is a lot of people take the encoder, use it to bring these camera sources in, and they might land on a TriCaster eventually or another NDI device. Conversely, you could pair this with the decoder, or the decoder could take any NDI stream that's on the network, decode it so you could hook it up to a bunch of monitors, video walls, iMac in a church, things like that. 'Cause that's what you're not seeing yet. You don't yet see a network jack on the back of a monitor or a large display that's actually NDI-compatible. So this really completes the chain. And as you said, just pair them together and you could be transporting video, audio, and power over one cable, that's another option.

Shawn Lam: Now you also have some software, too, that works on computers that you can incorporate these devices into that type of a workflow. Walk us through that.

Mike Nann: Well, there's a couple of different things. I mean, first of all you can take the Magewell Bridge Software, which you don't even need one of these hardware NDI devices, because it can work with any of our capture devices and automatically decode or encode the NDI streams to go along in the network. But if you don't want to be doing it with a computer, you can actually be using these devices. As much as they're plug-and-play, there is a web-based interface as well that you can at it. They have advanced functionality, FPGA-based video processing, scaling, things like that. So you can actually be controlling them fully over the network, or even as I said, controlling PTZ cameras through the same interface as part of a full NDI end-to-end workflow.

Shawn Lam: Fantastic, do you have price points on these items here?

Mike Nann: There's a full range of pricing on them, anywhere from $495 and up, depending on your input interfaces, whether you want 4K or HD and actually, we're about to introduce some lower-end models, so we say, that bring it down. For example, this has loopthrough interfaces on it, but we're going to be introducing lower-cost stuff as well to bring it even down to make to it even more accessible for people who don't need all the extra bells and whistles.

Shawn Lam: All right, thank you very much, Mike.

Mike Nann: All right, thanks, Shawn.

- This has been Shawn Lam for Streaming and Media Producer at NAB 2019.

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