The What: NDI, a Vizrt Group brand, has unveiled NDI version 4.5 of its video-over-IP technology, one of the most widely adopted in the world. The update, which the company says is the “most significant release update since NDI was introduced in 2015,” features improved compression, new mobile tools, support for Unreal Engine and more.
The What Else: Advancements in version 4.5 include capabilities for transferring video, audio, and metadata in real time across standard and wireless Ethernet networks. New features include breakthroughs in mobile phone connectivity, wireless networking, augmented and virtual reality environments, and more. These advancements come at a time when making video accessible over IP matters more than ever.
As social distancing is being widely practiced around the globe, the only way content creators can work together is through IP networks and software-defined visual storytelling (#SDVS). As growth in esports accelerates and more than 50 percent of online gamers are now using mobile devices, the ability to bring the game from a smartphone into streaming software favored by gamers is crucial. NDI 4.5 adds support in iOS for real-time, full frame-rate, and resolution capture of the display on wireless with NDI|HX Capture for iOS. In addition, the NDI|HX Camera for iOS app turns any iPhone into a full 4K wireless camera, giving it the same capabilities as a high-end video camera.
“No other IP technology for video production can translate to mobile phones because NDI is software-defined, not hardware-constrained,” said Dr. Andrew Cross, president of research and development for the Vizrt Group. “The NDI|HX mode for high-efficiency low bandwidth data transfer gives anyone with an iOS phone the ability to screen capture games and deliver it to any NDI-enabled multi camera live production system.”
Built into NDI 4.5 are extended capabilities for internet use and use on wireless networks. This version shows improvements to NDI|HX, with lower latency, full support for (multi) GPU decoding acceleration, and support for advanced compression formats.
Working with Epic Games, the NDI SDK for Unreal Engine adds full support for video inputs and outputs over IP, enabling a new generation of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) video products for integration into games and more. The NDI SDK for Unreal Engine is free to download and the source code is available so that developers can customize their content creations.
NDI 4.5 offers unlimited IP recording, with Adobe Premiere plugins both for real-time NDI and working with time-locked ISO recording across multiple streams. This takes NDI streams from the network and stores them on disk with no CPU usage, allowing users to record any number of streams to disk and extend this to multiple machines for almost infinite recording capabilities.
For use in embedded systems, NDI 4.5 now includes the latest version of the embedded NDI SDK that offers full FPGA support for both NDI encoding and decoding. In addition, there is support across almost all platforms for access to the compressed data streams, instant routing, and more. For advanced development, embedded platforms and custom hardware needs, NDI fully provides the ability for developers to create amazing products.
The Bottom Line: With version 4.5, NDI has been enhanced in a variety of ways while maintaining the same bitrate. Improved video quality, significantly faster decoding, faster discovery of sources, support for many more streams on a single PC than ever before, better discovery server, and new example code are some highlights of the many new improvements.
The NDI 4.5 SDK and NDI Tools are free downloads, available by the end of March 2020 here.