NewTek`s TriCaster 40 Opens Up Opportunities

NewTek`s TriCaster 40 Opens Up Opportunities
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Start Streaming: NewTek's TriCaster 40 Opens Up Opportunities
Published On: 03/21/13 12:03:09 PM
By: Ned Soltz
NewTek (http://newtek.com/) continues to innovate in the world of all-in-one video streaming solutions. Few products even
come close to the capabilities of the NewTek line.
The streaming space continues to gain
significance for content creators at all
levels, from religious institutions,
educators and event producers to
broadcasters. The proliferation of
offerings from providers such as
Livestream and Ustream gives
producers access to streaming services
that range from free to the level of a
professional broadcast.
Smaller content creators have a variety
of software and hardware tools at their
disposal. Streaming applications such
as BoinxTV (http://www.boinx.com/boinxtv/)
and Telestream Episode
Based on a Microsoft Windows 7 architecture, TriCaster 40 combines video
in, switching, effects, titling, keying, virtual sets, recording, video overlay
output and streaming in a portable 19 lb. unit.
(http://www.telestream.net/episode/overview.htm) work
in conjunction with a user’s existing hardware and may be configured to
stream to a number of different service providers. Hardware devices such as products from Teradek
(http://www.teradek.com/) and
Livestream (http://new.livestream.com/) enable output directly from the camera; this output may
be streamed to a server or brought into a streaming app for production. I don’t mean to detract from these applications
or hardware devices—I own and use products from Telestream and Teradek—but they feel more “computer” than
broadcast to me.
The TriCaster line has the feel of a broadcast control room. To put it quite simply, if you are a video tech and have
ever used a switcher, you can use a TriCaster with a very short learning curve. If you’ve never used a switcher, you
will learn its intuitive workflow much faster than you will a “computerish” application.
For many lower-budget operations, the TriCaster was only an aspirational product ... until NewTek released the $5,000
TriCaster 40 (http://newtek.com/products/tricaster-40.html) .
TriCaster 40 hits a price point that will
attract religious institutions, the
education market and low-budget
enterprises. With one of these units, a
previously unstructured web stream can
become a polished production. The
TriCaster 40 enables entry-level
streaming users to upgrade their
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deliverables, with a basic feature set
approaching the next product in the
TriCaster line, the $20,000 TriCaster
455 (http://newtek.com/products/tricaster455.html) .
TriCaster is a dedicated
hardware/software solution. While the
higher-end TriCaster 8000
(http://newtek.com/products/tricaster-8000.html)
, 855 (http://newtek.com/products/tricaster855.html) and
455 models come in a
TriCaster 40 accepts inputs from four simultaneous live video sources
rackmount form factor, TriCaster 40 sits
(usually cameras) over component or composite connections. It accepts
on the desktop. Based on a Microsoft
HD, SD or a mixture of sources.
Windows 7 architecture, TriCaster 40
combines video in, switching, effects,
titling, keying, virtual sets, recording, video overlay output and streaming in a portable 19 lb. unit. All you need to add is
a computer monitor. Optional add-ons include the TriCaster 40 Control Surface.
TriCaster 40 accepts inputs from four simultaneous live video sources (usually cameras) over component or composite
connections. It accepts HD, SD or a mixture of sources. Since it is designed to work with multiple cameras—many
times of different models and capabilities—each input has an independent frame synchronizer and proc amp controls.
It also has two video outputs as well as analog audio in/out and a headphone jack.
TriCaster 40 has fewer inputs than more
costly products in the TriCaster line, of
course. Additionally, the absence of SDI
or HDMI inputs can be somewhat
limiting and is a feature I hope NewTek
will consider in future versions of the
product.
The 40 accepts network input via gigabit
Ethernet or Apple Airplay
(http://www.apple.com/airplay/) .
It’s a great
way to get content from your iPad into
the TriCaster.
Video can be loaded from external
sources into the unit’s DDR. (Higherend TriCasters have two DDRs.) There
are four independent channels for
effects, keying, virtual sets or composite
creations, and each channel can have
three fully configurable controls.
NewTek provides 24 HD live virtual
sets, and users may purchase additional
sets. The superb real-time keyer
handles blue/greenscreen. TriCaster
software allows for such controls as
TriCaster 40 connection diagram
specular highlights, multiple camera
angles and real-time reflections.
A graphics overlay channel may be output via the TriCaster’s video card via DVI, VGA or HDMI connectors. You could
use this channel to feed a PowerPoint presentation from a network source to a projector while also being able to use
that channel as one of the switching sources.
TriCasters get the name “tri” from their
three methods of content delivery:
output, stream or record internally.
TriCaster 40 ships with a 1 TB media
drive that can store 20 hours of 1080i
video in .mov format (more when
transcoded in real time to H.264). Users
may add external drives via built-in
eSATA ports for extended recording.
The unit accepts and plays back
virtually any media format.
Most users will buy or rent a TriCaster
for its streaming prowess. The TriCaster
TriCaster 40 user interface
40 will output a live stream either as
Adobe Flash or Microsoft Windows
Media. NewTek works very closely with streaming providers and offers a TriCaster SDK for third-party development.
Thus, setting up a stream is as easy as entering a configuration menu and entering account and program information.
TriCaster 40 includes presets for the most common streaming profiles, in resolutions up to 720p.
Operating a TriCaster is essentially the same as operating a production switcher. TriCaster 40 has 14 switcher
channels: six external, four internal and four virtual inputs. Cue up a selection, select a transition if desired, have a
graphic or bug ready to insert, cue up a DDR source, mix an audio source, and then punch it up or switch using the Tbar. It’s easy to use. What impresses me is that the TriCaster 40 is just as responsive as the higher-end models.
NewTek offers a $1,995 control surface
for the TriCaster 40. The TriCaster 40
CS (http://newtek.com/products/controlsurfaces/tricaster40-controlsurface.html) is
a
more basic offering than higher-end
control surfaces (TriCaster 8000 CS and
855 CS, for example), but it is a perfect
complement to the 40’s functionality. I
NewTek offers a $1,995 control surface for the TriCaster 40.
strongly recommend purchasing one.
The workflow of punching up programs requires both speed and rhythm, and I find doing it much more difficult with a
keyboard and mouse. Because this is an entry-level product, the TriCaster 40 Control Surface is not as intimidating for
a new or more casual user than a switcher in a typical control room.
Another add-on is LiveText 2 (http://www.newtek.com/products/tricaster-software/tricaster-livetext.html) , which is included with the
educational version of TriCaster 40 but adds $1,000 to the price of the retail version. LiveText 2 is effectively a
complete titling workstation, with 3D graphics, rolls, crawls, credits and graphics. It can use imported graphics to
create titles and goes beyond the TriCaster 40’s native titling capabilities. If that extra $1,000 isn’t in the budget,
however, TriCaster 40’s built-in text capabilities and its ability to import text from applications such as Adobe Illustrator
and Photoshop might be adequate for your needs.
The TriCaster 40 is a worthwhile purchase for those expanding from simple streaming to polished production. It works
and “thinks” like a video production system and emulates real-world studio hardware. Years of NewTek experience
have made the software and hardware rock solid. Its basic plug-and-play architecture and portability allow it to go
virtually anywhere with power and an internet connection. NewTek has put a lot of power into users’ hands at a price
point that will attract even more.
Product: NewTek TriCaster 40 (http://www.newtek.com/products/tricaster-40.html)
Score:
Pros: Powerful, full of features, streams to any provider, TV-like, easy to use, stable, reasonable entry price.
Cons: Component-composite-Y/C only. Needs SDI or HDMI, even at that price point. Add-ons bring price up to
$8,000.
Bottom Line: Nothing touches TriCaster in the streaming arena. And now TriCaster power and functionality are
available in a less expensive, feature-packed product. Suitable for churches, schools, non-profits, smaller content
providers.
MSRP: TriCaster 40 $4,995, TriCaster 40 Control Surface $1,995, LiveText 2 software $995
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