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Inside NDI 5’s ‘Quantum Leap’ with NDI President Michael Namatinia

NDI 5
(Image credit: Vizrt Group)

Earlier this month, NDI announced NDI 5, the latest release in the software standard that aims to make it possible for users to connect to any device, in any location, anywhere in the world, allowing it to work with almost any video application. We caught up with company president Michael Namatinia to learn more about what he calls a “quantum leap” forward in functionality, as well as plans for future development. 

According to Namatinia, NDI 5 was in development for two years. “We really wanted to create a release that would change the way NDI is seen within the world,” he said. “We are very close to our clients. We’re lucky that we have so many end users that we could have a back and forth, and most of these features are what our end users and our SDK users have been waiting for.”

[NDI Unveils NDI Version 5]

This process yielded three chief features that set NDI 5 apart. The first is the expansion of the technology from local area networks to wide area networks. “NDI 5 breaks the limits of the local area network,” Namatinia said. “So that means that contribution can be not only within your small organization, but universities to universities, and corporations to corporations. It’s not just bringing in one guest like we’re doing here on Zoom, but it’s bringing in assets—all the assets from one area to another area to be able to combine them.”

Michael Namatinia

Michael Namatinia (Image credit: Vizrt Group)

The second chief feature is the incorporation of audio into the standard. “[Users] now have full control of the audio within the IP, which before they maybe would have to have a separate system,” Namatinia said. “Audio is kind of like this side problem in the production that you have to have separate equipment that has its own standard; it doesn’t fall into the regular standard. We’re also open to the rest of the IP audio platforms, so we can bring them in, but we can do all the work within NDI, and that’s another huge leap if you’re trying to do a production that’s always been separate.”

Third, NDI 5 can run on devices with ARM processors. “That means mobile assembly now has become a part of the assembly chain,” Namatinia said. “Suddenly devices that did not have accessibility to NDI now can become an NDI device. It brings the price from thousands or hundreds of dollars down to dollars on the development side.” Going forward, Namatinia expects to see a wave of new NDI-capable products coming out that enable more comprehensive production at a lower price.

What’s next for the standard? “We’re working on widening some of the hardware that’s available, so we’re going into the signage market,” Namatinia said. The plan is for manufacturer partners to eventually release NDI-native displays that can be connected with a single network cable.

Another future development is to make NDI run natively on mobile device browsers. “Just opening a browser and having NDI there would really simplify the workflow,” Namatinia said. “That will be another game changer in how IP video is seen and used throughout the world.”