Image: NewTek

Teams and NDI

Network Device Interface (NDI) is the royalty-free software standard developed by NewTek that enables the transport of high-definition video from compatible devices (cameras, players, computer displays) over a computer network at high-quality with low-latency. Initially it was limited to NewTek equipment for processing and switching and mixing but NDI nowadays has become almost an industry standard and many devices now offer NDI as way to transport video over LAN networks. Microsoft Teams, the conferencing facility that is widely replacing Skype, has incorporated the NDI standard, which means that you can transmit audio and video streams from a Teams meeting to your local network and this way insert them in a production chain that is compatible with NDI, for example using vMix or NewTek Tricaster. NDI requires high bandwidth connectivity (preferably Gbit networks): it is a local area network streaming technology, so it enables only video distribution within the (virtual) facility. At this stage Teams provides only NDI out. Teams NDI out allows streaming of the speaker, of the local input (the audio and video you put into your own Teams machine), of each individual user, of the shared screen or the gallery view. NDI processing is bandwidth and processor heavy, so it is easy to understand that in a 40-party meeting, it is not reasonable to expect to stream each of these sources at the same time. Furthermore, NDI will not alter the quality of the incoming Teams sources: if these are bad audio and video, NDI will just stream the same poor quality. Note also that the audio streamed by NDI is always the mixed program sound.

(Image: NewTek)