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Streaming Media East [7-8 May 2019]
Live Streaming Summit [7-8 May 2019]
OTT Leadership Summit [7-8 May 2019]
Video Engineering Summit [7-8 May 2019]
Content Delivery Summit [6 May 2019]
Streaming Forum [26 February 2019]

Review: Teradek VidiU Go

I found the VidiU Go to be up to the Teradek standard of professional production gear, now for the mobile, bonded streaming audience.

In Use

I tested the VidiU Go both in-studio and in the field. I found it easy to use. The detailed streaming data you are able to get from the VidiU through the VidiU app (Figure 5, below) instills awareness and confidence in how things are working, how your stream looks being sent, and the quality of your many connections. It also offers the ability to dive in and change VidiU settings in a much friendlier touchscreen way.

Figure 5. The VidiU app running on an iPad

There's also a couple of add-ons that I didn't expect to see: the ability to overlay text on the stream, or a logo, or even a scoreboard that you can update via the app. You can position these in the left, center, right, top, middle, bottom of the screen. Not precise positioning, but it gets the job done. You can change the names of the teams on the scoreboard, but it is very basic. You can't change the colors of the two sides, nor can you add in other information like period or quarter, time left, etc.

So if you were tasked with streaming the kid's game from a remote location, you could do this with any camcorder, the VidiU Go, and use an iPhone or iPad to change the scores.

As integrated as the package is, I can't help but be concerned about screwing and unscrewing the antennas all the time. While it is wonderful to be afforded the capability to use better, or directional antennas as needed, arranging the jacks with elbows so the included antennas could be folded down for storage would be welcome.

The battery lasted for about an hour and 17 minutes when I last checked my watch during the time run (Figure 6, below). So, for most types of games, you're going to need some external power in to the VidiU Go to last longer than that. Thankfully there's no shortage of external USB battery packs waiting to provide hours of power. A little velcro on top and a short cable solves this issue.

Figure 6. The VidiU app showing low battery power

But I can't help but think it might be better served by replacing the top plate of the VidiU Go with one that has a NP-F battery plate integrated into it, that could feed the VidiU Go directly. If the unit only needs 5v input over USBc, then the 7.2v from a NP-F will deliver even more run time when stepped down to 5v. Keeping the internal battery would let the end user to hot-swap the external battery for unlimited run time, and it would be more polished than a USB pack velcro’d to the top.

During my test, I streamed full 1080p60 of some water, in H.264 to CORE using both of the attached cellular models, while also connected to the VidiU Go via a tablet to see the feed and assess the connectivity. The internal fan is very quiet, and nothing became hot to the touch, meaning the fan was doing its job and keeping temperatures under control.

It counted down to 0% left, and then with a full screen warning on the VidiU Go it said it was shutting down and did just that. But the internal Micro SD recording of the hour-plus long stream ended up as a 2.2 GB file without a proper close, so here's hope that a firmware update can fix it so that at 1% any internal recording is properly closed with time to spare.

If you have a shorter event—news, local event coverage, and such, you'll likely never try to push the VidiU Go until it's dead. Plus, I did several test streams to different destinations and the streams were automatically labeled by the destination (Facebook or CORE) as well as the date and time, which makes it easy to find a particular recording.

The Facebook stream defaulted to a 720p recording at about 1.2 Mbps and the Core recording calculates out to be about 3.9 Mbps, based on file size. There's no adjustment on the recording settings because it's just a local copy of the data that's being sent. In most cases, like from a camcorder or live-switching setup, you'll likely already have the ability to have a much higher quality recording in the camera or the multi-cam switching solution, so saving just backup up what was streamed makes a lot of sense.

Conclusion

There are many reasons for multi-service bonded internet connectivity. The foremost is because accidents happen. If you're in charge of the stream and suddenly the stream isn't there, the client doesn't like excuses or finger pointing to be your answer, even if someone in the hotel did just close a door on the ethernet cable, damaging it.

Having a solution which automatically switches data over to your other internet connections, while you work to repair your main connection, allows you to fix the problem, deliver as promised, and then let them know later that you also saved the day.

For remote applications, the ability to leverage two different cellular services with high quality cellular modems helps ensure that you have a robust signal compared to the hundreds or even thousands of handsets surrounding you. The threaded hole enables you to get the VidiU Go up higher and into the clear. Antenna jacks can be connected to directional antennas in remote, or even installation-type situations.

The ability to go direct to the CDN of your choice, or leverage Sharelink for bonding, or leverage CORE for HEVC bandwidth savings end back end configurability, gives you the flexibility to use the Vidiu Go as you need it.

Aside from a few physical changes I suggested for the next model, and a firmware update to ensure no internal recording is lost if you run the Go until the battery runs out, I found the VidiU Go to be up to the Teradek standard of professional production gear, now for the mobile, bonded streaming audience.

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