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Feature suggestion - NDI support


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NDI = Network Device Interface


We have been testing the Newtek developed NDI system recently and found it to be very functional. 


In short NDI is a practical implementation of video over IP that is now open for hardware and software developers to integrate into products. The system has gained considerable ground over the past 12 months with many manufacturers adopting it.


Take a look at Newtek's website to learn more but here are a few highlights:


- Bi directional video and audio over standard IP network infrastructure, no special switches/routers required

- SD - 4K resolution support

- Supports key and Fill video and up 16 channel audio

- Multiple signals over standard gigabit network links

- Very low latency (sub 80ms)


One of the most useful features we've seen is the free NDI Tools from Newtek one of which is called NDI Scan convert. Runs on any PC or Mac and can be set to capture the entire screen or focused window and create an NDI stream on the connected network, the process is similar to a VNC server but without the delay and at full HD-4k res and frame rate. The resulting stream can be seen on the network by any NDI compliant receiver, hardware or software.

If the receive element was implemented in Watchout you could input Powerpoint, Keynote, character generators, web pages even live sources without going anywhere near a scan converter or capture card.  

I've seen character generator software with NDI output that supports key and fill.

There are iOS NDI apps that turn an iPhone into a network camera, an app that captures an iPad browser and many other innovative uses of the NDI standard.


So, how about including NDI support in Watchout both in and out. It could be a usable alternative to VNC.


We have no commercial ties with Newtek but having tested and used it we just think it has a great deal of potential, its accessible, why not implement it. 


Anyone else think this is a good idea?








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  • Moderator

I think there may be more here than meets the eye.

It would appear that offers simple playback of objects,

but sophisticated real time compositing and animation

in a real time render appears to be beyond their intent.


WATCHOUT is completely based on generic

hardware accelerated Microsft DirectX 3D real time rendering.


There is no mention of support for that standard at your references.

Instead, it offers an SDK for their technology.

So to do as you propose,

WATCHOUT would need to be rewritten from scratch to function with a proprietary standard.

I would conjecture a whole lot of features would have to eliminated to do that.

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I did some tests with their NDI Transmit software that created a directshow presence that Watchout picked as a capture source and it worked very well. However it could only present one NDI stream at a time. You needed to set up the Transmit software to pick which network stream to decode before it was passed to the filter. 


It is clearly a viable way to get video into Watchout but needs some finessing. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Fredrik,


I've not tested the Bird Dog device yet but that sort of unit opens up plenty of opportunities. While the latency is quite low in NDI I'm not yet convinced it will be good enough or any faster than a traditional capture method unless of course the signal path contains frame synchronisers and such like. So may be too slow for imag live images.


I hope to learn more at IBC.



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  • 7 months later...
  • Moderator

This suggestion has come to be.

As we can see mainstream WATCHOUT NDI support on the horizon,

thought I would revive this thread.


An observation on latency.

"NDI low latency mode peer to peer on a decent computer should be lower then a frame."

It appears WATCHOUT will the add ≈ a frame delay

Add to that any delay added by the NDI source - capture cards in an NDI host,

or delay added by an NDI compliant video to IP converter, etc.


Anyone have any good reference links for what it takes to

prepare a "decent computer" with capture cards

to serve as a good WATCHOUT NDI source?


Want to try this with two capture cards

and two inputs per card - two at UHD, two at HD.

Is that even possible to accommodate?

To multiple watchpoint servers? (where it starts making sense)

If so, any thoughts on what network requirements would be to stream

those four to three watchpoint servers concurrently? (12 streams, 6 UHD, 6 HD)

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Jfk asked:

"Anyone have any good reference links for what it takes to
prepare a "decent computer" with capture cards
to serve as a good WATCHOUT NDI source?"


You may want to reference this from vMix. Not that high specs, it would seem -



Thomas Leong

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Are you suggesting I should purchase and install vMix software

to act as an NDI source for WATCHOUT?


I am not concerned about the computer hardware spec,

I already have a very high spec computer and DataPath capture cards for the test.

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  • Dataton Partner

We are running the 60 day test version of vMix at PL+S in Frankfurt right now. The bottle neck here is the USB capture device which adds latency but could not be avoided due to late notice. We will do more tests with areal computer and capture card after the show.

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