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Review: Teradek Vidiu X

Anthony Burokas provides an in-depth look at the Teradek Vidiu X Live Streaming Encoder.

In this video review, I am going to give you a look at the Teradek Vidiu X. You may have seen my previous review of the VidiU Go [], which is very easily recognizable with Teradek's distinct, die-cast, cellular metal modems on each side. You put your SIM card in, power it over USB, and the data goes into the microSD recorder. It's got one HDMI, it's got one SDI, audio in, audio out, USB-C ethernet, Wi-Fi antennas with good range, and a built-in battery, power button, record button, and four up-down-left-right buttons, an inner button on the front, and a little LCD display.

In this review, I'm going to introduce you to the VidiU Go's little brother, the Vidiu X. You can see in the video that the two units are comparable in size. If you line up the Record buttons, you can see that the display and the buttons are about the same size. The key differences with the Vidiu X are that it doesn't have things that attach to the side. There's no built-in battery and there's no SDI on it.

Powering On and Setting Up

The front panel of the Vidiu X has a Record button and a four-way joystick. What is missing is the power button. When you plug in the Vidiu X, it powers up; when you pull the power out, it turns off, so they've simplified that aspect of it.

The first time you power on the Vidiu X, it will be set up in access point mode. That means is it is its own Wi-Fi hotspot, and it is broadcasting out. Then you access it through another device for the software. I'm using an iPad. In my Settings screen, I see VidiU X 00055 (Figure 1, below), which identifies the unit I'm reviewing. There is no Wi-Fi password, so the iPad will connect right to it. Then, when it is connected to this device, we can come back out and we launch the VidiU app, where we can connect to the Vidiu X.

Figure 1. The Vidiu X showing up in my Settings screen. Click the image to see it at full size.

Walkaround, Part 1

Let's do a walkaround of the Vidiu X. Looking at the front panel of the unit (Figure 2, below), as mentioned earlier, on the left is the Record button and on the right is a four-way joystick. The joystick Is very fast, which is a great improvement over the VidiU Go. This joystick is super easy--the feedback, the feel of it.

Figure 2. The front panel of the Vidiu X

The first place you'll want to navigate to with the joystick is the network settings. Top to bottom, you'll see Modem, Wired, Wireless (Figure 3, below). When you navigate down to Wireless, you can see it's set on access point. This is where, technically, you can do almost everything you need to do on the face of the unit. If you have an iPad or another device already connected to your WiFi, it's easier to type in a complex password there than it is to go back and forth and deal with the teeny little screen. But in a pinch, it's there and you can do it.

Figure 3. Network Options

Along the top of the unit, there are three lights: one for camera, one for cloud, and one for recording. On the unit's left panel, you'll find a USB port, which is for connecting your modem. Teradek makes high-end modems, but if you just have a hotspot, you can plug that in, and when the Vidiu X is powered up, it will power the modem. Also, if you wanted to, you could use a USB-to-ethernet adapter and plug in a second ethernet network and be connected to two completely separate ethernet networks for bonding, because there's an ethernet port on the back. Also on the back panel, you've got HDMI in and HDMI out.

Mixing with Airmix

That is another key difference between the Vidiu X and the Vidiu Go. The Vidiu X can be put inline to something else. If you wanted to, say, capture a slide presentation up at the front of the room, you could use this to do that. Now, that doesn't quite make sense at first when you think about it, because if I'm streaming, normally you think, "I'm streaming the program."

That gets to one of the interesting functionalities of the VidiU series: They are not just a streaming devices. They're not just bonding devices. They are also hardware interfaces to Teradek's Airmix software. So this can be set to be a hardware interface over WiFi and then appear as a source in the Airmix software so you can switch between live cameras and in the Airmix software. You can add titles, graphics, countdowns, scoreboards, all kinds of things. You can record it, or you can stream it. You can do instant replay. You can do audio mixing.

It's a really cool program. This is your hardware interface to plug in any HD camera you want and--wirelessly, or wired--bring that signal over into Airmix. So the Vidiu X is three different things in one.

Walkaround, Part 2

So let's continue with the walkaround. On the back I/O panel (Figure 4, below), you've got audio input for your analog audio input. In the software, you can select between the HDMI audio or the analog audio, wired ethernet, and your USB-C. On the right side is a full-size SD card slot. Another improvement over the VidiU Go is this full slot--so much easier to get your card in and out and deliver video if you need to hand one off.

Figure 4. I/O options on the Vidiu X back panel

It's a second recorder. If you're using a video mixer that doesn't do recording internally, like one of the basic ATEM Minis, that video mixer can come into this box and out to your monitor and then you take your program. You can record it. You can stream it from this box.

The bottom of the unit has a quarter 20 thread hole. It's got two M2s, and then, there's a fan in here so the air gets pulled in one, blown out the other, or blown out the other slots that are available throughout the unit. That helps keep the unit cool, because this one is plastic, whereas the VidiU Go is more metal. This plate is metal and this one is actually going to be used to help dissipate the heat.

Choosing a Wi-Fi Option

The Vidiu X has essentially the same menu structure you'll find in the software. It's just easier to get more of a broad overview of what's going on when you use the software as opposed to being buried into the menus. In the top right of the software UI, you'll see three dots. There you can access all of the settings that you're going to need: streaming, recording, audio and video, network, and your system (Figure 5, below).

Figure 5. Choosing streaming, recording, etc. in the software UI. Click the image to see it at full size.

The first thing you're going to do is change the network settings, because right now, the Vidiu X is its own access point. In order to do streaming or do anything else, you need to get it onto the internet. So go to Network. Here you can add Wired and the modem or anything over USB. If you go into the WiFi, you'll see where it says Access Point.

On the right is where we can tell it that it's going to be the client. It's going to connect through something else. So we're going to switch to Client and then, down in the bottom left, we're going to tell it to do a WiFi scan. For me it shows a ton of WiFi options--more than I see on my phone--so it's got some pretty good antennas in there, and the plastic case makes sure it's able to reach out. So we're going to connect to the office (Figure 6, below).

Figure 6. Choosing a Wi-Fi option. Click the image to see it at full size.

Now it's not going to ask me for my password because I have already previously connected it to my office Wi-Fi. If it hadn't, it would pop up an alert saying, give me the password, so they can do that. Now, it's changed over to connecting to the Wi-Fi in the office. As such, we come back out and look at my Wi-Fi. My Wi-Fi will also default to the office because the Wi-Fi from the Vidiu X is no longer there.

So we're on the office Wi-Fi. The software is going to look for Vidiu devices on the Wi-Fi and it should discover that one. So let's look at what's going on. Every now and then, things don't work as you expect--double-check. So it looks like what has happened is in between my telling it to forget my connection and remember my connection that it might not have remembered the password. So now that it's in Client mode, I can't access it through the iPad. I could either take the Vidiu X and tell it to go back into its own Wi-Fi mode or I could just do it on the front panel of the device itself.

So let's look at this in the menu on the Vidiu X. I'm going to go into network settings. I'm going to go into wireless. It says it's Client, so that switch did work, but you can see in Figure 7 (below) it did not connect to my network. So I'll go to Setup, select Visible Networks, S4-GW-Office, and Confirm, then enter my password.

Figure 7. Not connected

So that's exactly what happened. It seemed to forget the password. And that demonstrates that, in a pinch, you could resolve the problem on your tablet through the software or on the Vidiu X itself. So you don't actually have to have another device to administer what's going on here. But when it comes to authorizing Facebook or authorizing YouTube or things like that, it's easier on a larger device than it is on the face of a tiny little three-line, four-lane display.

Now that it's on the same network as me, you can see in Figure 8 (below) that it has an IP address and we're going to connect to it. Just to demonstrate the difference, we're going to go back into the network and you can see in Figure 9 (below Figure 8) that it is a client. So we're talking to it as one of the things that are on the network here, as well as my iPad, as well as other things.

Figure 8. Connecting to the Vidiu X. Click the image to see it at full size.

Figure 9. The Vidiu X is now a client. Click the image to see it at full size.

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