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Review: NewTek TriCaster 40

With the TriCaster 40, NewTek's newest compact video switcher and live production box, NewTek goes retro and down-market but still delivers a capable solution at a price $20k (or more) below other models in the TriCaster line. And that, in itself, should be cause for rejoicing.

Let's start this review by stating clearly what the TriCaster 40 (TC 40) from NewTek is not: It is not a high-end, all-digital, rackmounted video production switcher. And that should be cause for rejoicing.

For those who have longed for a compact, field-capable TriCaster with high-definition, the TC 40 comes as a pleasant surprise--as long as you're not looking to hook up any Serial Digital Interface (SDI) or HD-SDI cameras to the unit.

Readers will remember our reviews of the TriCaster 8xx and 4xx series of extreme video production units (see related articles links below), but it's interesting to note that just a few weeks ago the TC 40 won a Streaming Media Readers' Choice Award. We think this is due to the fact that the TC 40 is much more akin to the compact TriCasters of yesteryear, and carries a price point that is as retro as the unit's external housing.

Whatever the case, the TC 40 has resonated with users. Let's look at a few reasons why. For our review we looked at form factor, input capability, output—including streaming—capability, and user interface.

Form Factor

To say that the TC 40 is the smallest HD-capable TriCaster would be an understatement. At 17.5 inches long, 10.4 inches high, and 8.5 inches wide, the form factor of the TC 40 is almost identical to that of the TriCaster Studio.

NewTek TriCaster 40

A recent review of the TC 40 tested the form factor question, and noted that the fact that the TC 40 is similar in size to the TriCaster Studio and Broadcaster means "it should fit inside the same road cases used by those earlier TriCaster models."

In fact, with the exception of the fact that the TC 40 has fewer BNC connectors on its faceplate, one could mistake it for an older SD-only model. Yet under the hood, there's a whole new beast waiting to rip through almost any analog video source you throw at it.

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