What is NDI?

NDI is the abbreviation of Network Device Interface, which is a network device interface protocol introduced by NewTek in 2015. NDI is a standard protocol for ultra-low latency, lossless transmission, and interactive control over an IP network.

What is NDI used for?

NDI is used for video encoding and video transmission. When you take a video from your video camera, NDI compresses and formats the raw video data into a proper IP stream, so it goes through the Internet easily and efficiently.

On the other side, your computer or video production centre can get the video source automatically and rapidly.

What are the features of NDI?

NDI adopts digital high-definition Ethernet transmission technology to connect front-end acquisition equipment (NDI digital high-definition camera) directly through point-to-point through CAT5 or CAT6 network cable, and then uncompressed real-time digital high-definition signal through network data link layer. The sorting is sent to the receiving end NDI analysis class device (DVR, compression card, repeater, optical transceiver, etc.), thereby implementing and the like. HD-SDI transmission effect.
The transmission of NDI will be more price-competitive, more stable and more resistant to interference than transmission over coaxial cable.
Moreover, real-time, two-way audio, bidirectional control signals, etc. can be transmitted while transmitting video signals, and Power over Ethernet (POE) technology can also be used, thereby reducing the use cost and saving the wiring cost.
After NDI encoding, the NDI audio and video signals can transmit and receive multiple broadcast quality signals in real-time through the IP network. Features such as low latency, accurate frame video, mutual recognition and communication of data streams.

What is the NDI protocol?

  • NDI is a standard protocol for ultra-low latency, lossless transmission, and interactive control over IP networks;
  • The biggest feature in NDI protocol is that NDI video transmission can “get rid of“ traditional HDMI and SDI cables.
  • NDI protocol provides ultra low latency (almost real time), lossless transmission, and two-way control.
  • After the NDI encoding, the audio and video signals can transmit and receive multiple broadcast quality signals in real time through the IP network, and have the characteristics of low delay, accurate frame video, mutual recognition and communication of data streams.
  • It simplifies the construction of the system and the transmission and call of various signals in the system in a new form of network application layer, which makes the system design, integration, application and maintenance become simpler and more flexible.
  • Enables compatible video products to communicate, transmit and receive broadcast-quality video in a high-quality, low-latency, frame-accurate manner, making it ideal for switching in live production environments.
  • NDI supports an access mechanism that allows manual entry of the IP address of a computer on a different subnet running the NDI source.

What is NDI HX?

NDI HX is another version of NDI which has been enhanced to broaden a whole new world of devices using built-in h.264 compression chips. This will eventually allow more hardware devices to support the NDI standard. The spotlight of NDI HX is the low bandwidth requirements that allow users on simple Gigabit networks the ability to host multiple video streams without tying up to much network traffic.  

What are the differences between NDI ® and NDI | HX?

Now there are two versions of NDI: NDI® and NDI | HX. All NDI ® is an I-frame high bit rate protocol with ultra-low latency (1 frame or less) and almost no loss of quality, which can replace complex SDI/HDMI connections, but requires a certain bandwidth, such as a single 1080p60 An NDI stream may require 140 Mbps, and a single 4Kp60 NDI stream requires 250 Mbps. For high-quality video transmission, NDI ® is required for encoding and transmission. If you want to stream multiple NDI sources at the same time, it is limited by the bandwidth of the local network. For example, Gigabit Ethernet can only transmit several NDI sources at the same time.

NDI|HX is a low-bandwidth version of NDI, a compressed version of the long GOP H.264 variant with the advantage of low bandwidth requirements, allowing a simple Gigabit network to carry multiple video streams without consuming large amounts of network traffic, such as A single 1080p60 NDI stream requires only about 10 Mbps. The low bandwidth advantage allows the NDI|HX to be deployed with a WiFi wireless connection or a network link that is less than a gigabit speed. It should be noted that NDI|HX will produce a little delay compared to all NDI®, but it is still acceptable and still better than the existing RTSP transmission delay. The amount of delay depends on the device used, frame rate, video resolution, and network conditions. See more for the differences

What is the application of the NDI protocol?

NDI can directly drive the camera to encode SDI or HDMI video source into NDI protocol stream, video transmission over a wired network or wireless WIFI network, video transmission over a wired network or wireless WIFI network, reducing wiring cost and deployment time. Good to meet the needs of the studio, on-site multi-camera video production.

What are the advantages of the NDI encoder?

  • Built-in 5G enhanced WIFI module for more stable wireless transmission, while supporting USB expansion of wired network transmission;
  • Built-in high-capacity lithium battery power supply, also supports 5-16v external mobile power supply, no need to consider wired power supply;
  • Active heat dissipation design (built-in fan), adapt to high temperature conditions, stable and reliable operation;
  • Portable and compact, weighing only 380g, comes with hot shoes, easy to install the camera;
  • Support wireless remote management using mobile phone/PAD end APP, easy to operate;
  • Support dual stream output, the main code rate supports 1080p60Hz video encoding, and the sub-stream supports 720 p 60Hz video encoding, which can be simultaneously streamed to two platforms;
  • Comes with SD/TF card slot, supports local recording, and supports NAS network storage;
  • Support 1080p60Hz video format, the output resolution can be customized;
  • Using imported chip and H.264 video coding technology, combined with video dynamic noise reduction, image enhancement and other technical processing, can achieve low bit rate encoding and ensure high definition image quality.

What is NDI in OBS?

OBS is open-source software for video production and streaming. It is popular among NDI users, as you can use it to:

  • Detects the NDI video source automatically;
  • Stream the NDI video to different platforms (such as Youtube, Twitch, Facebook, etc.);
  • Out the NDI video as a virtual camera for video calling Apps (such as Skype, Zoom, Meet, etc.);

For proper access to your NDI video, you should install OBS and NDI plugin at the same time.

At the same time, there is another free streaming app called “Streamlabs OBS” (SLOBS or SLABS OBS). It supports built-in NDI function as well.

NDI vs SDI, which one is better?

SDI is one of the traditional stream video transmission approaches. You need an SDI wired cable to connect your camcorder and video production system. For on-site live projects, you normally need intricate deployment for any SDI video production program.

NDI is a protocol based on Internet infrastructure, so it is lightweight. Because your video can be transferred through Ethernet or Wi-Fi, one of the typical cases is using an NDI hardware encoder.

For convenient and efficient video production and streaming, NDI is a better choice; for lossless video quality preserving, SDI is better.

Is NDI free?

Using NDI costs nothing. You can get the official NDI tools for free. The toolset lets you to capture your screen and share the synced screen with anyone. If there are other NDI sources within your network, the Studio Monitor will detect them and view them in real-time.

As many IM software like Skype, Zoom, Teams have NDI built-in, you can use NDI as a free and powerful tool in video communication.

Can I use NDI with Zoom? Do teams Support NDI?

Yes, you can use NDI in the latest version of Zoom and Microsoft Teams. When you have free NDI Tools installed on your computer, in Zoom and Microsoft Teams, you can test NDI by following steps:

  1. Enable NDI properties in Zoom/Teams/Skype settings (if necessary);
  2. Run “Webcam Input” from NDI tools, right click the app icon, choose any video source;
  3. If you want to share your screen (rather than external video source), run “Screen Capture” from NDI tools to output your screen as an available video source;
  4. Go back to Zoom/Teams/Skype, and select the “NewTek NDI Video” to use your NDI video source (rather than webcam) in video chatting.

Which is better, NDI or capture card?

If you need to capture your screen, either a video capture hardware or an NDI tool will do: the capture card takes the video data from another computer, while the NDI tool pushes the video data to the whole network.

That means, normally, using a capture card is one to one, and using NDI is one to all. Meanwhile, the NDI tool is free.

How much bandwidth does NDI use?

The bandwidth costs for different NDI videos are:

Default Bitrate250Mbps200Mbps125Mbps90Mbps

How do I send NDI?

You can send your encoded NDI stream via software like OBS or hardware like Kiloview media gateway MG300.

With OBS, you can send your NDI stream to stream platforms (such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, and so on) via RTMP pushing.

With MG300, you can send your NDI stream to not only stream platforms (like above), but also SRT counterparts, as well as the built-in RTMP server (public static IP or DDNS required).