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Thread: NDI to HDMI

  1. #1
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    NDI to HDMI

    We are looking at switching to a NDI video setup at my church. We have Cat6a and gig switches run throughout the campus and to all of the the TV's. From my understanding we can output an NDI signal from the Tricaster across the LAN. What would I need to be able to convert the NDI signal back to HDMI so the TV's will be able to display it? We are looking at sending to 10-20 TV's. Sorry if this has been covered before, lots of data to sift through on this site.

  2. #2
    Current solutions include:

    - NDI Studio Monitor running on a PC with HDMI output (software is free)
    - Connect NC1 I/O (SDI output, but use a SDI to HDMI converter)
    - BirdDog Mini (NDI to HDMI output box)

    Soon, there will be many other products using the NewTek NDI FPGA design once released, like the Deltacast N2H product.
    https://www.deltacast.com/products/delta-neo-n2h

    If these TV's are connected to a via coax cable system inside the building, you could also look at using a QAM encoder with a HDMI input to connect the above solution. Would be a good method to get one signal to all 10 to 20 TV's. However, a QAM solution will add latency.
    Kane Peterson
    Key Accounts Sales Engineer
    NewTek, Inc.

  3. #3
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    The Nh2 is easy to use and very small.
    Deltacast is a serious compagny.

    You can also look the new magewell RX, it'is coming soon.
    https://www.magewell.com/products/pro-convert-aio-rx

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by kanep View Post

    Soon, there will be many other products using the NewTek NDI FPGA design once released, like the Deltacast N2H product.
    [
    Kane, can explain more about what makes this different and why many more companies will likely start producing hardware. Just looking to future proof my setup a bit.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radio_TVPat1982 View Post
    Kane, can explain more about what makes this different and why many more companies will likely start producing hardware. Just looking to future proof my setup a bit.
    One thing to consider when selecting endpoint display converters (with future proofing in mind specifically) is broader compatibility.

    Dedicated Hardware devices seem attractive on one level, but its worth appreciating that you can get a similar level of reliability and performance from a properly configured Linux mini PC - indeed there is far less difference than you might think. Devices like the Deltacast are very likely running some sort of linux operating system, but on a slow ARM CPU, and offloading NDI decompression to the FPGA. You can do essentially the same thing with a more powerful x86 CPU, still running Linux.

    Also, if you are feeding an HDMI display specifically - your objectives are different to if you are trying to output SDI for a more complex receiver. In these cases a Mini PC with HDMI out is a great solution. Conversely if you are feeding NDI into an SDI vision mixer and you need genlock - then a hardware device may offer some benefits.

    The main difference is to consider which of the 2 platforms (pure Linux on faster x86 CPU vs Linux on slow ARM CPU + FPGA) offers best 'future proofing' - in particular to ask whether the device you select supports all the existing flavours of NDI and NDI HX. Then consider support for NDI HX2 (in NDI 4) and support for 16bit per pixel NDI 4 support.

    I can't speak for the dedicated hardware devices, but mini-pc solutions such as Sienna NDI Monitor for Ubuntu already support NDI (HD, FHD, UHD and non standard sizes), and NDI HX and with a simple library update will support NDI HX2 and 16bit NDI as soon as NDI 4 ships. Using Linux Ubuntu 18 LTS you have a very, very stable platform which will not plague you with enforced updates, or constant 'phone homes' like Windows 10, and you also get all the benefits of a complete operating system for broader administration features you might want in any of your infrastructure devices.

    Ultimately the decision to use dedicated hardware typically has 3 objectives:
    1) To be less expensive than using CPU
    2) To make conversions which are too slow in software.
    3) To use less power, cooling or physical space

    In the case of a mini PC like Beelink N41 - which is fast enough to decode FHD and even UHD 30p - has no fan, runs on PoE with a small adaptor and even including the NDI Monitor software costs less than the least expensive dedicated hardware converter, those 3 objectives are equally well (or better) achieved.

    So - its a blurry line between CPU or FPGA for decoding.

    Ultimately FPGA for encoding makes more sense - where you have only 1 defined format to produce so compatibility is less of an issue, and where there is no equivalent CPU device currently in the same form factor - and where you may need a higher load such as UHD60 encoding. However, for decoding, personally, I am not convinced there is a really solid argument.

    It probably comes down to personal preference - but for future proofing specifically - I think there are strong arguments for a CPU based software platform, rather than dedicated hardware. HX support is a simple differentiator as example. Beyond that it may be that there are clear applications for one or the other - perhaps you need both.

    Hope this helps expand the general knowledge about this topic.

  6. #6
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    What a great response. Most of the tech stuff admittedly went over my head a bit. I have toyed with the possibility recently of using some smaller scale software based options. I see people building their own solutions and also reselling some of their solutions. By nature competition will drive the cost down so I am hoping the move to NDI FPGA will bring some interesting and cost efficient alternatives. I am always looking to downscale the size of equipment I travel with.

    My goal is to make smart purchases and to be able to deliver a "truck" style broadcast without the major financial investments. So far, NDI has been a game changer for me and I cant wait to see the next version of it that Dr. Cross previewed at NAB.

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