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NewTek's New TriCaster 40: Bringing the TriCaster Back to the "Little Guy"

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

If you've been staring at your TriCaster Studio, Broadcast, or even the venerable TriCaster Pro, and wishing you could go high-definition for less than the cost of a new mid-sized sedan, you're about to be rewarded. 

NewTek today announced the immediate availability of the TriCaster 40, priced at $4,995. Score one for the "little guy" that made NewTek the company it is today.

What's to like about TriCaster 40? First is its size: In a form factor reminiscent of the three SD-based TriCasters noted above, the TriCaster 40 has four inputs capable of HD or SD. 

The inputs can be mixed-and-matched, just like with the more recent 855 Extreme and 455 Extreme, but the 40 lacks digital HD inputs. Yes, you heard that right: The four inputs on the TriCaster 40 are component, composite, or Y/C only. 

No SDI for you, unless you shell out the really big bucks, but the TriCaster 40 can work for HD production if you've got cameras that are HD-capable and also have component outputs.

TriCaster 40 also has two analog outputs, each with the same component-composite-Y/C options, and four virtual inputs. For more on the virtual input model, see our review of the TriCaster 850 Extreme from a few months ago.

NewTek TriCaster 40

An additional feature that makes the TriCaster 40 a mid-point production device is the dual Gigabit Ethernet connectors. Not only do the Gigabit connectors allow for redundancy, if one is streaming, but they also allow the TriCaster 40 to also input network-based content, including IP cameras and Apple AirPlay-equipped devices. This is a slick feature that allows iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices to be used as a source, something that both producers for both corporate presenters and university lecturers will find quite helpful.

On the downstream key side, TriCaster 40 has 2 independent downstream keyers, each offering digital video effects and scaling.  Up to five layers of video can appear on screen simultaneously, including virtual sets—24 of which are included with the TriCaster 40.

Finally, the TriCaster 40 is capable of 1080i recording resolutions, either as QuickTime or what NewTek calls "web quality H.264" formats. We'll take a look at this during our upcoming review of the TriCaster 40, to see whether it can handle the 20 hours of 1080i content that NewTek claims.

Finally, in a nod to the "little guy" that first brought the TriCaster to prominence, NewTek is pricing this analog-only HD version at $4995. It seems that the company heard the rumblings of discontent that have grown over the past two years of NewTek's seeming focus only on high-end live production.

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