Technology Showcase: Web Video Streaming Gear
May 6, 2009 12:00 PM, By Bennett Liles
Sending video to the Web has become push-button easy.
The NewTek TriCaster packs a whole production studio into one box with support for up to six cameras and multiple audio sources with simultaneous feeds to a projector, recorder, and web streaming. Preview and program monitors can display live, virtual sets, and the video switcher handles six SDI or composite inputs. The preview monitor can also display waveform and vectorscope signals. Production capabilities include more than 200 video transitions and audio mixing with trim adjustment along with live graphics, animated overlays, and titles. The LiveText option enables an additional operator for graphics-heavy productions. One button provides simultaneous web streaming and recording of up to 20 hours of full-resolution video to the internal hard drive. The Tricaster outputs video in either 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios.
The iEncode from Onstream Media consists of a 1RU hardware front end and the company’s Visual Webcaster software that supports an unlimited number of webcast attendees. The system’s features include control panels with separate host, presenter, and attendee views to allow hosts to work behind the scenes while managing the webcast. Output can be streamed live or recorded for on-demand viewing and viewer feedback via polling and Q&A. Customizable webpages for event registration can be created, and one or multiple PowerPoint presentations can be incorporated into the webcast in perfect synchronization along with one or multiple Flash files. A built-in editing suite allows users to edit media files, mark in and out points, remove unwanted segments, and change trigger times for the various elements. Two hardware versions are available: the Slim Tower case unit with webcam and onboard capture card, and a 2RU box with onboard capture card.
The Optibase MGW FlashStreamer, as the name implies, uses Adobe Flash to provide realtime encoding, streaming, and presentation storage on the unit’s internal hard drive in the form of .flv files to post for on-demand viewing. All that viewers at the receiving end need is the Flash player incorporated into a web browser. No additional installation is needed to receive high-quality H.264 video at low bit rates. The hardware allows for plug-and-play operation and automatically begins encoding and streaming, while the browser-based management software can be used for remote management. Up to 200 viewers can simultaneously watch streamed presentations using the built-in media streaming server. For larger audiences, an Adobe Flash streaming server can be used. The unit has two separate Gigabit Ethernet ports on RJ-45s and two USB 2.0 ports. There is one composite video input for NTSC and PAL, and the output formats are H.264 and On2 VP6 for Flash.
The R500 portable webcasting system from Public-i delivers webcasts through a branded microsite that can be updated from any computer using a simple content-management system. The system features a fully hosted solution using audio and video capture software and remotely controlled or mobile digital cameras along with the ability to embed textual information for functions such as the identification of presenters. On archived presentations, the viewers can use local computer keys to stop, start, rewind, and fast-forward through the presentation. Public-i offers an integrated solution with tech support including camera crews, editing, encoding, web hosting, and CD/DVD creation, and the company specializes in covering government events. The system is equipped with items similar to those an ENG news crew would carryincluding a cable reel, tripod, camera, carrying case, and encoder that can be directly connected to a laptop computer.
Combined with the Mediasite EX server, the Mediasite ML recorder from Sonic Foundry packs live portable webcasting ability into an incredibly small carrying case, and it can be set up and operating in as little as 5 minutes. In the digital realm, the unit can capture IEEE 1394 FireWire video, and for analog sources, it can input composite and S-Video in NTSC and PAL formats. In addition to FireWire audio, the Mediasite ML recorder can also input analog audio on balanced XLR or unbalanced RCA connectors. The portable unit can store enough on its internal 160GB hard drive to cover an entire day-long event, and the integrated 17in. backlit LCD monitor can display 1280x1024 video and graphics. Sound is carried through integral loud¬speakers on the unit. There is also an integral DVD (+/-RW) drive. The Ethernet interface can connect to either 10Mbps, 100Mbps, or 1Gbps networks. Windows XP is embedded, and the whole case weighs in at 22lbs.
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