ViewCast Aims To Streamline Complex HD Workflows

New for the 2009 NAB Show is ViewCast’s Niagara 7500, a high-definition streaming box designed to simplify the complex workflows associated with delivering HD video to IP and mobile networks.

“The goal here is to streamline and simplify operation,” explains VP of Marketing Jeff Kopang. “One of the most compelling things about this box is that you can switch on the fly from a single video source between standard-def and hi-def signals. In a broadcast environment, it’s very compelling, because, if you have an HD program and SD commercials, you can switch the production environment without losing sync and without crashing the box. None of our competing products do that.”

The dual-quad-core streaming appliance features SD and HD SDI inputs, balanced and unbalanced analog and AES/EBU digital audio, and eight stereo pairs of embedded SDI audio inputs. At 2 RU high, it has a sleek touch-control interface with contextual menus and can stream in multiple bitrates and resolutions simultaneously in Microsoft VC-1, Silverlight, and H.264 Flash Live.

The box provides broadcast features like video preprocessing, closed-caption rendering, de-interlacing, and inverse telecine, as well as Niagara SCX Pro management software, which allows users to control multiple units remotely.

“There’s also an available SDK, which exposes all of the features of the unit so you can write your own interface and backend it into broadcast automation systems,” Kopang says. “This is a best fit for some of the major broadcasters that really want to simplify the complex workflows of getting HD out to the Web. You plug this into your workflow, and you don’t need scaling units and cropping units and bit-reduction units. You just plug your SDI high-definition source right into the box, and it will scale down and do all your video preprocessing for you.”

Also on display at NAB will be ViewCast’s Niagara 2100, which, with a price tag of $3,995, is geared toward lower-end sports-broadcasting applications.

“We’re marketing it as the lowest-cost encoder on the market,” Kopang says. “We’re really grateful that we were able to bring this product to market in this timeframe. We feel it represents an ideal value at both sides of the spectrum.”

The 2100 is designed to allow even non-technical personnel to stream video through its built-in Web interface. The unit does not include SDI, but professional connections for balanced and unbalanced audio are standard. The dedicated Windows Media device is Silverlight-compatible, accepting a component, composite, or S-Video feed.

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