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What is NDI

What is NDI

What is NDI

NDI® (Network Device Interface) is a free protocol for Video over IP, developed by NewTek. It is designed to allow distribution of live high quality video over existing IP infrastructure, freeing users from hardware constraints and gives the benefits of reduced cost and deployment time.

Allowing multiple video streams on a shared connection. Full NDI supports high quality, low latency, frame-accurate video over standard Ethernet networks. NDI HX is a lower data rate codec and compressed like h.264 which can be used also in low bandwidth scenarios, such as Wi-Fi and 4G networks.

NDI is supported by a wide range of manufacturers of both hardware and software. As it benefits any network-connected video device and software, you find video switchers, encoders, graphics systems, capture cards, and many other production devices with NDI support.

The required bandwidth for NDI transmission depends on resolution and frame rate.  The NDI encoding algorithm is independent of resolution and frame-rate, and supports up to 4K resolutions and beyond. With the performance over standard GigE networks, it makes it possible to facilitate an IP video production pipeline without negating existing investments in SDI cameras and infrastructure, or costly new high-speed network infrastructures.

FULL NDI

FULL NDI is designed to support higher resolution, broadcast-quality video and uses I-Frame encoding. Provides single-frame delay and requires a GbE network and router. The following estimate of bandwidth load per NDI video stream is from the NewTek documentation “Adding NDI to your network”:
1 x stream 1080p50/59.94 video = 125Mbps
1 x stream 720p50/59.94 video = 90Mbps
1 x stream UHDp30 video = 200Mbps
1 x stream 1080i50/59.94 video = 100Mbps
1 x stream UHDp60 video = 250Mbps

NDI|Hx

Highlight of NDI HX is the low bandwidth requirements which allow users on simple Gigabit networks the ability to host multiple video streams without tying up to much network traffic. NDI HX @1080p30 typically requires about 10-20Mb/s. 

The newest NDI|HX version, NDI|HX3 is an option for better video with reduced latency – using a fraction of the bandwidth of Full NDI high bandwidth. Software applications, such as NewTek TriCaster, Vizrt Vectar Plus, vMix, etc., will not need any upgrade to support NDI | HX3.

NDI and your Network

Video over NDI transports best on a Gigabit network. So check bandwidth limitations of your network switches and the bandwidth requirements of your NDI sources. If you add more cameras to the network, it could cause quality issues. Netgear developed an entirely new series of switches developed and engineered for the growing audio, video over IP (AV over IP) market. The Netgear AVline is certified for Everet NDI cameras and controllers, making it a easy to ensure settings are correct for a specific audio or video application.

NDI Version 5

The newest NDI 5 version will allow anyone to easily share live, high quality with anyone else in the world. The new version includes a variety of improvements, including NDI Bridge, which forms a secure bridge between any NDI network regardless of location and opens a variety of applications for remote workflows and for live video production. Another new tool is NDI Remote, which allows anyone using just a URL to contribute live audio and video using an Internet-connected device, like a camera phone or a web browser, to another point anywhere in the world. NDIv5 is supported by Everet NDI Cameras.

How do you add NDI devices to your network?

NDI works on standard IP based networks, getting started with e.g. Everet Pro Grade PTZ cameras with NDI® is equivalent to adding connected devices to your network. This is because the NDI-enabled devices behave like any other networkdevice. In a commonly used setup, multiple PTZ cameras can be positioned in an area connected to the network. The live production system can be in another location. As long as the cameras and the live production system are located on the same network, they can communicate in real-time.

Converter boxes from e.g. Newtek, Kiloview and Magewell can also be linked to HDMI or SDI devices and translated into network-friendly NDI signals. Displays can also be captured using software tools. Even mobile devices with cameras can be linked into the system and used as a live video feed. This ability to bring any type of AV feed into a live production system is simplifying setup for live streaming systems.

Some examples of video production applications for Mac and/or Windows operating systems that support NDI are: vMix, OBS, Wirecast, Marsis and Tricaster.