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A Game Streamer on Why He Loves NDI®

May 22, 2018 by Chuck Baker

Keith Mitchell, a game streamer and blogger at The Outerhaven, looked for a means to capture the video and audio on his gaming system and get it to a dedicated system for producing videos and for streaming, without adding output cards, capture cards and baseband cabling between the systems. He found the answer in NewTek’s NDI®, the royalty-free bi-directional IP technology for transport of video, audio, metadata and communications with automatic discovery - every NDI enabled device or application on a network can see every other, and be both a source and a destination for video production.

With NDI, all that was required was a standard network plus NDI-enabled applications on the two systems. Much of the software used was also free, and all of the products are commonly used in the esports and social video communities. NDI, in fact, is now in hundreds of products in the hands of millions of users worldwide, having become the overwhelmingly dominant IP video workflow standard since its release.

Bandwidth needs for NDI streams vary based on the source input. NDI is completely format independent, so it handles any resolution and color-depth. Modern top-end gaming is an especially demanding application which leverages high performance computers and graphics cards to produce and deliver high-resolution (and often high-dynamic range color and luminance) imagery at a high frame rate. That means that while a standard network can carry the signals, you may need to ensure that your components and cabling are in fact operating up to their ratings. Mitchell worked through such a set of issues, ensuring that the parts and connections were all up to standards and properly set up to ensure consistent best performance, and found NDI operation reliable, flexible and powerful:

In regards to NDI®, after making sure my network was up to par, I’m able to stream with zero issues. Using either h264 or NVENC, I can now stream or record high encodes across the network and they look good. Stream to Mixer (which I love) I was able to pump a 10MB bit rate stream with fast settings in OBS and the NDI didn’t skip a beat…I was even able to play a game looking at the PC that was receiving the signal.

Read the complete blog entry at The Outerhaven: Let’s Talk About NewTek’s NDI And Why I Love Using It For Streaming

For those interested, here’s a typical setup:

  • Gaming System with an NDI application that can capture the screen in real-time, encode to NDI and stream to the local network: This can be:
    • NewTek NDI Scan Converter, available free in NDI Tools Pack
    • A free or commercial NDI Scan Converter application available from several other vendors
    • Open Broadcasting System (OBS) NDI-enabled freeware application for video production and streaming
    • XSplit NDI-enabled commercial application for esports video production and streaming
  • Dedicated video production and streaming system, equipped with an application that can receive the NDI stream from the gaming system and encode and live stream it, mix it with other video streams such as other networked gaming systems and cameras on the players and live stream that, or record for later production of a video:
    • Open Broadcasting System (OBS) freeware application for video production and streaming
    • XSplit commercial application for esports video production and streaming
    • Any of several commercial applications for video production and/or streaming that are NDI-enabled
  • Gigabit Ethernet components (routers and switches) (minimum requirement)
    • DHCP recommended to simplify set up
    • Managed switches with IGMP Snooping enabled is recommended if NDI will be sent to many receiving systems within a large network
  • CAT5e cabling (minimum requirement)

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