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NDI (Network Device Interface) is a technology developed by the NewTek company and enables the transmission of a high-quality audio-visual signal via a local network (LAN, Ethernet). NDI enables the transmission of video, audio and data between computers and other devices such as cameras, mixers and recorders without the need for additional signal capture or conversion hardware.


NDI is based on the IP protocol, which allows easy and reliable connection of NDI-enabled devices. In addition, NDI also enables the automatic discovery of devices on the network and the transmission of multiple video signals over a single network cable. Camera control and tally signal are also carried out via the same free tool and cable.


NDI is used in a variety of industries, including television and film production, live broadcasting, video conferencing, and other applications where efficient and reliable transmission of audio-visual signals over a network is required.



Advantages of the NDI protocol:

  • Easy installation and use: NDI is easy to use and requires no special hardware. Simply install the NDI software on the computer or other device you want to use and connect it to the network.
  • Free license: NDI is a free protocol that can be used by software developers and hardware manufacturers, meaning that the technology can be used by anyone who needs it.
  • High quality: NDI allows the transmission of a high-quality audio-visual signal in real time, which enables high-quality video production, even live.
  • Efficiency: NDI allows multiple signals to be transmitted over a single network cable, reducing costs and improving efficiency.
  • Wireless connection: NDI enables wireless connectivity, making it easy to connect devices in remote locations.
  • Adaptability: NDI is a flexible protocol that allows integration with other applications and hardware and can be extended with features such as PTZ camera control, virtual mixers and more.
  • Automatic detection: NDI enables automatic discovery of devices on the network, reducing the time and effort required to set up connections.


Video PRODUCTION software- support for NDI:

  • OBS Studio: OBS Studio is a free software mixer available for Windows, Mac and Linux. It supports NDI and allows easy management of various video sources, including NDI sources.
  • vMix: vMix is ​​a paid mixer software for Windows that supports NDI and allows you to manage a variety of video sources, including camera, video, photo and other NDI sources.
  • Wirecast: Wirecast is a premium software mixer for Windows and Mac that supports NDI and makes it easy to manage a variety of video sources, including camera, video, photo and other NDI sources.
  • TriCaster: TriCaster is a paid mixer software offered by NewTek. It supports NDI and allows you to manage various video sources, including camera, videos, photos and other NDI sources.
  • CasparCG: CasparCG is a free software mixer for Windows, Mac and Linux. It supports NDI and allows you to manage various video sources, including camera, videos, photos and other NDI sources.




Cameras with NDI support:


Many cameras already have a built-in NDI protocol:

These are just some examples of camera manufacturers that support the NDI protocol. There are many other manufacturers on the market that offer cameras with built-in NDI support and the choice depends on the needs and budget of the user.


What kind of LAN do we need for NDI?


NDI requires an Ethernet network that supports speeds of at least 1 Gigabit per second (1 Gbps). The network should be able to transfer large amounts of data in real time without interruptions or delays to ensure a high quality and reliable connection.


In addition to the speed of the network, it is also important that the network has a low delay (latency), since the NDI protocol is based on low latency and high performance. The higher the delay in the network, the more the images and sounds from the sources will appear with a delay in the production.


To use NDI on a network, you will need an Ethernet network with multiple switches and routers that will provide real-time transmission of NDI streams and allow access to NDI sources and receivers on different devices on the network. For larger projects, separate networks can be used to provide traffic separation and improve performance.




What cables and switches are suitable for NDI?


To use the NDI protocol, we recommend using a Cat5e or Cat6 Ethernet cable. Both cables support speeds of up to 1 Gbps and are suitable for transferring high-quality video and audio content in real time. It's even better if you use CAT6a, which supports data transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps and can transmit signals up to 100 meters away. This means that you can use a Cat6a cable to connect different devices that support the NDI protocol over long distances.


Cat5e cable is often limited to about 100 meters in length, while Cat6 allows transmission up to 55 meters at 10 Gbps or up to 100 meters at 1 Gbps.


In addition, it is important to choose a switch that has enough bandwidth and low latency, as this will ensure a reliable and high-quality connection for streaming high-quality video and audio content in real time.



NETGEAR AV switches


When implementing a network for NDI, we especially recommend switches that support and optimize AV traffic over the network. In this way, bottlenecks and higher latencies do not occur.

Link: NETGEAR AV products


What is the difference between NDI and NDI HX?


NDI HX (High Efficiency) is a version of the NDI (Network Device Interface) protocol intended for use on devices with limited hardware capabilities, such as mobile phones, tablets and other portable devices.


NDI HX uses compression technology that allows high-quality video and audio content to be transmitted at a lower bandwidth, which means that the transmission can take place on devices with lower processing capabilities or on networks with lower bandwidth. At the same time, NDI HX still provides high image quality and minimal latency, which is crucial for real-time use.


In addition, there is also an NDI|HX2 version, which brings improved picture and sound quality and lower latency compared to the NDI HX protocol.


In general, the NDI protocol allows video transmission with different resolutions and data transfer rates. For example, to download a 1080p video at 60 frames per second, the bitrate can vary between 100 and 300 Mbps, depending on the quality of compression and other factors.


In the case of compression with NDI HX, the bitrate is reduced, for example, for 1080p/60fps, the bitrate can vary from 12 to 24 Mbps. However, it should be noted that compression can affect image quality and in some cases can cause quality loss.



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