NETWORK DEVICE INTERFACE
Technical Perspectives

Technical Perspectives: Network Device Interface (NDI)

Written by Sanjeev Kota Posted April 10, 2017 by Carolina
Sanjeev Kota

Sanjeev Kota

Recent technology trends indicate the broadcast media industry is in the process of transitioning from Serial Digital Interface (SDI) to enhanced NDI-enabled IP workflows in order to maximize the interoperability between production hardware and software. Industry leaders are already working together to establish IP broadcast standards to achieve large-scale implementation.

What is NDI

Network Device Interface (NDI) is an open-source protocol developed by NewTek™ that enables video equipment to send and receive multiple input and output signals between production devices on an existing Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) Network and broadcast several streams of high quality, low latency, frame-accurate video and audio in real time. This makes it possible and easier to have more than one source accessible for live production switching without having to connect to new devices or move locations.

Components of NDI

NDI utilizes multicast Domain Name System (mDNS) techniques, also known as Bonjour or Zeroconf, to create an environment for discovery on a local GigE network that requires no special configuration or a manual operator. Using this method, NDI receiving devices can automatically detect available NDI sources and link using a TCP transport for connection.

NDI transmits video, uncompressed audio and metadata in XML form in both directions, which permits a sender and a receiver to establish an arbitrary connection where they can exchange messages. To successfully implement these aspects of NDI, the protocol comes with specific tools to enable video access, IP commands, and bi-directional metadata interchange.

Benefits of NDI

There are many advantages to moving toward IP-based workflows. With IP, for starters, production becomes part of an intertwined network where every computer and production equipment is connected. SDI, in contrast, does not enable devices that are connected on a network to talk to each other.

Second, production companies are finding it harder to retain seasoned professional broadcasters with smaller budgets. The demand for more high quality video, however, continues to rise, making it difficult for production companies to meet new demands. By using NDI-enabled IP workflows, video feeds become accessible from any location with a high quality, real-time framerate.

Lastly, IP workflows have much potential to offer to producers who seek to have multiple camera inputs in different locations. The adoption of IP-based workflows is well underway, and, contrary to popular belief, implementing these changes into existing infrastructure is quite straightforward.

NDI-enabled IP workflows provide:

  • Unmatched level of connectivity in an existing network
  • Opportunity for scalability, flexibility and minimized costs
  • Increased volume of video signals
  • High quality, natively encoded, frame-accurate video streams matching any format and resolution
  • A simplified IT and IP configuration process for a cohesive network infrastructure
  • And a solution to logistical problems concerning limitations set upon by physical locations, as well as those regarding limited physical inputs on a switcher used when switching live feeds during production.

NDI's superb performance over a GigE network makes it possible for broadcast professionals to utilize existing investments in SDI equipment. Therefore, eliminating the need to invest in new high-speed network infrastructure and maximizing efficiency by enabling live, frame-accurate video access from multiple locations to use in live production.

For more information on media software solutions, visit chetu.com/media

Disclaimer:

Chetu, Inc. does not affect the opinion of this article. Any mention of specific names for software, companies or individuals does not constitute an endorsement from either party unless otherwise specified. All case studies and blogs are written with the full cooperation, knowledge and participation of the individuals mentioned. This blog should not be construed as legal advice.

Chetu was incorporated in 2000 and is headquartered in Florida. We deliver World-Class Software Development Solutions serving entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 clients. Our services include process and systems design, package implementation, custom development, business intelligence and reporting, systems integration, as well as testing, maintenance and support. Chetu’s expertise spans across the entire IT spectrum.

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