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Review: NewTek TriCaster 455

Half the size of the NewTek TriCaster 855, the TriCaster 455 holds its own for live production and streaming at a lower price point. We really like the functionality of the 455, especially when it comes to one-button streaming, a robust but manageable control surface, and the ability to add AirPlay virtual inputs to the HD-SDI physical inputs.

Digital Outputs

TriCaster 455 not only has two serial digital interface (SDI) outputs, which can be switched between program and preview modes, but the 455 also has an HDMI output that can be used to feed a projector for image magnification (IMAG) use cases where a streaming media producer might want to display the program output to a local audience via projectors or flat-panel monitors.

In addition, there are two digital monitor port connectors, one DVI-I and one HDMI, that drive external user interface and multiview monitors, respectively. The use of a DVI-I output connector for the user interface allows a streaming media producer to use either a digital monitor (via DVI-D or HDMI, the latter via a DVD-D to HDMI converter) or a standard VGA monitor.

On the TriCaster 855, there's some confusion as to which DVI output to use for multiview and which one to use for the user interface; the 455's simplification of the monitor ports, via two distinct connectors, eliminates that confusion.

NewTek TriCaster 455 Extreme

Virtual Inputs

AirPlay is the main feature you'll want to remember when it comes to virtual inputs. TriCaster 455 has four virtual inputs, providing the ability to ingest AirPlay-equipped content from an iPad, iPhone, iPod touch or newer MacBook Pro laptops.

This means that Keynote or PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets (within reason), and even web pages or images can be used as a virtual input alongside the standard analog or digital internal video inputs. The only requirement is that the TriCaster and the wirelessly connected AirPlay device are both on the same network and subnet class, as the AirPlay-equipped device interfaces with the TriCaster 455 via the TriCaster's Gigabit Ethernet port.

Networking

The 455 Extreme has one Gigabit Ethernet port, in contrast to the much lower-priced TriCaster 40, which has two Gigabit Ethernet ports. The use of redundant Gigabit Ethernet ports is more critical for field production, as a failsafe for instances where one cable may be damaged, yet that doesn't negate the need for redundancy on rack-mounted TriCasters.

The use of dual Gigabit Ethernet ports on a rack-mounted unit like the 455 would show NewTek's dedication to streaming, especially when it comes to load-balancing streaming outputs across the local area network.

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