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Casting Views: ViewCast's Streaming Technology, Part 1

Apr 27, 2011 2:30 PM, with Bennett Liles

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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

Up until the past few years, to get your video signal out from a location shoot it took a truck, a crew, and a microwave or satellite engineer. Now with advanced compression and broadband access live video can go worldwide on line. Jeff Kopang of ViewCast is here to tell us about the Niagara 2120 that has all that power in a tiny box coming up on the SVC podcast.
OK, Jeff thanks for being with me on the SVC podcast from ViewCast with some of the ViewCast encoders, particularly the 2120, first tell me a little bit about ViewCast.

You bet. Well, ViewCast develops industry-leading solutions for the transformation, management, and delivery of professional quality video over IP and mobile networks. I like to think that we simplify the complex workflows that are associated with the web base streaming of news, sports, music, and other digital media to computers and mobile devices. Our products range from Osprey capture and streaming cards to dedicated Niagara streaming appliances to our VMP digital asset management platform that helps you manage your media throughout its complete life-cycle including things like live or file-based ingest, work flow, editing, search, archiving, and publishing. We serve a wide variety of vertical markets including broadcast, narrowcast, enterprise, governments, among many others and we also have a very diverse customer base including companies like the BBC, HBO, FOX News, MTV, NASA, eBay, UPS, and a bunch of others. [Timestamp: 1:54]

And that’s an exploding market right now everybody can be a broadcaster and it has opened up a landscape where only your imagination is the limit on what you can do and where you can take it. The hardware’s gotten smaller, lighter, much easier to operate from the days when you needed a whole crew and something that’s come along that takes this thing to the next level of mobility in one man operation it’s the Go-Live broadcasting kit. Of course Go-Live is an Israeli company that does a lot of live webcasting. They decided to use the Niagara 2120 as the central core of their system. So Jeff, what format does it use and what was it designed to do?
Well, the Niagara 2120 is one of the lowest cost professional-grade streaming appliances on the market. It’s designed to be compact and very portable but its still offers the same advanced features included our other professional-grade appliances things like scaling, cropping, alpha channel overlay, and deinterlacing. The Niagara 2120, when you talk about format, streams exclusively in the flash H.264 format and it can stream multiple bit rates and resolutions at the same time. [Timestamp: 3]

What are the physical characteristics of the Niagara 2120? What does it look like and how does it operate?
Well it’s a 1U, half-rack configuration so you can place two units side by side in a 1U 19in. rack. It has one analog video input that can be component or composite along with unbalanced or balanced stereo audio inputs. It weighs only 4.9lbs. It has an external 12V power supply so you can power it remotely with Anton Bauer battery packs. [Timestamp: 3:29]

OK it can do a number of different things and it can be set up in of different ways. How does the interface work? I know you can hook directly into it with a computer through the USB port and I think it has a web interface too?
Yes it has a built-in web interface and that comes standard with all of our Niagara streaming appliances but you can…it can be configured to accept a switch production video feed, you can hook a camera directly to it along with the audio feeds, it just depends on your particular application. [Timestamp: 3:55]

And how does the 2120 fit into the bigger Niagara family of encoders? This is obviously the smaller, lighter end of the line, what are the other ones and where does this one fit in with the Niagara models?
Well the Niagara 2120 is the entry-level appliance product. We have two different flavors of the 2100 line. One is the Niagara 2100 itself which is a Windows Media-only device and then the Niagara 2120 is a Flash-only device, and from there we step up to our Niagara 4100 which is a high-definition SDI ingest box that streams in multiple formats and bit rates resolutions simultaneously, and then we have our Niagara Pro2 which is a standard definition SDI input box, and then our Niagara 7500 which is a single channel high-definition SDI appliance, and then our 8224 which has eight independent analog input capability. [Timestamp: 4:52]

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