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Streaming Media
Magazine

June 2019
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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.

When you need bonded wireless internet connectivity, there are a few choices. But I don't think there's one as integrated as the Teradek VidiU Go. Technically the third iteration of the VidiU system, after the original, then the Pro, and now the Go. It will push your video stream across wired ethernet, WiFi, and two cellular connections.

Hardware Features

The Teradek VidiU Go (Figure 1, below) enables you to directly attach two dedicated cellular modems to either side of the unit, plus internal WiFi and ethernet. All of the antennas use standard connections so they could be replaced with larger or more directional antennas as needed. This is a key differentiator vis a vis competing systems. Even some of Teradek's earlier solutions, like the Bond, used consumer USB stick cellular modems for data.

Figure 1. The Teradek VidiU Go

Each of the Teradek Node modems for the VidiU Go screws into the side of the unit and uses a standard USB connector for power and data. The SIM card fits into the modem and the whole assembly feels very well integrated. It doesn’t require a bunch of USB sticks dangling off the sides to get your stream out, although that is possible too, if you already have them and prefer to go that route.

The VidiU Go has an easy-to-use screen and a prominent red record button to get things going (Figure 2, below). There's also four-way navigation and enter button on the front.

 

Figure 2. VidiU Go power and navigation

All of the I/O is on the back and includes: USBc for power, 3.5mm audio in, 3.5mm headphone, ethernet, HDMI, and SDI. The one exception to this is the Micro SD slot for internal recording. That is housed on the side where the modems attach, but the slot is in the VidiU and not the modem. I would have liked to see this instead be accessible on the back of the unit, and not covered up under an attached Node modem.

Underneath the unit is a small fan to help cool the unit, and a 1/4-20 threaded hole for easy mounting on top of a threaded stand, camera show adapter, or magic arm. The rugged storage case with custom-cut foam comes with HDMI, SDI, and Ethernet cables.

The informative display seen in Figure 2 shows the power source and the quality of each cellular connection. You can easily page through settings for broadcast, recording, video, audio, network, cloud, and system. When the system is off and charging, tapping the center button of the front panel tells you the battery level.

What It Does

There is no shortage of devices that will compress video to push it online to a CDN. From backpacks like the Link Pro I reviewed in October, to very inexpensive little handheld units by numerous companies, and even direct integration inside some camcorders, this is becoming very commonplace in today's connected world.

Here is what the VidiU Go brings to the table today:

• integrated, high-quality cellular modems for bonded cellular internet connection
• integrated 802.11 WiFi to connect to locally available WiFi for upload, or for direct control of the VidiU Go with a handheld device over WiFi. Teradek has a VidiU app for iOS.
• H.265 HEVC for upload to CORE to reduce data transmission costs. While HEVC doesn't work to destinations like Facebook yet, you can leverage CORE to transcode and distribute your stream to multiple destinations.

The VidiU Go does not, unlike the Link Pro, share the bonded cellular connection it creates over its own WiFi network. The VidiU Go is designed to only connect to local WiFI as a potential internet connection for video upload. You can connect to the VidiU Go directly, via WiFi for local adminstration and configuration via the VidiU app.

If you’re not using local WiFi, the VidiU Go defaults to an Access Point (AP) mode and you can connect to it as a WAP, launch the app, and configure the device. If you’re using local WiFi for upload, then you connect both the VidiU Go and the iOS device to the local WAP, and when you launch the app, it seeks out the VidiU Go over the local area network so you can administer it.

CORE and Sharelink: The Other Half

Administering several devices in the field is handy for administrators sending out crews who need to focus on the event, or the production, and not trying to configure RTMP destinations and IP whatnots in the field. Turn it on, it connects to CORE, and an administrator sets up the destinations for this particular stream.

CORE is not required to use VidiU GO. But you need either CORE or Sharelink to make use of the bonding capability across cellular, ethernet, local WiFi, hotspots, etc. Both CORE and Sharelink also enable delivery to multiple destinations from one upload stream (Figure 3, below).

Figure 3. CORE and Sharelink feature comparison

Additionally, CORE offers back-end configurability and administration of one, or multiple streaming appliances, events, destinations, and more. HEVC H.265 is not yet supported by RTMP, so CORE accepts HEVC from VidiU Go and then transcodes it to H.264 for uniform compatibility. You can also record the streams coming in to CORE.

CORE (Figure 4, below) can be set up with a $0/month account so you pay for only the services you need, when you need them, as well as the data you push through the servers. This means you can pick and choose what you use every time you fire up the VidiU Go if that is what you want.

 

Figure 4. Teradek CORE dashboard

Related Articles
This tutorial demonstrates how to boost your streaming throughput by sharing signals from up to four iPhones with the Teradek VidiU Pro via ShareLink
Teradek's Link Pro Backpack offers enhanced MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) cellular connectivity, plus the reliability of bonded cellular, connected to Teradek's powerful Link WiFi Access Point, and all rolled together in a backpack powered by your choice of V-Lock or 3-stud battery.
Paul Schmutzler demonstrates how to deliver a solid stream from any location with the Teradek VidiU Go.
Paul Schmutzler explains how you can take advantage of the cost and bandwidth savings of HEVC in your livestreams with the Teradek VidiU Go.
Paul Schmutzler demonstrates how to stream to multiple social platforms simultaneously with the Teradek VidiU Go.