In this installment of the latest in an occasional series we just made up entitled “This is Sick (But in A Good Way)” we speak with Mike Gailing, Director of Marketing at Teradek, about their brand new sub-$500 wireless video streaming product, the Teradek VidiU Mini – and their $99 companion iPad app, Live:Air. Holy CRAP.
Live Event Coverage is Da Bomb
Maybe you remember (and if you’ve never seen it, we highly recommend watching) THAT THING YOU DO, Tom Hanks’ directorial debut about a local, one-hit wonder Erie, PA band. It’s a loving homage to the Beatles, and the high point is when the Wonders (get it?) perform live just the way John, Paul, George, and Ringo did on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 (beginning at 1:51 in the trailer).
Or maybe you’ve binge-watched THE NEWSROOM, the latest Aaron Sorkin series starring Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer, a kind of faux-CNN drama which makes cable news look important and sexy as all get-out.
In either case, one thing both of these very entertaining vehicles have in common is the jolt that comes from live broadcasting, and the control room scenes are absolute gear porn: the most expensive gear out there with switches up the whazoo that allow you to do pretty much… anything.
The VidiU Mini Brings Live Event Coverage to The Rest of Us
Here’s the thing: with the VidiU Mini and their soon-to-be-released Live:Air iPad app, Teradek has taken all of that live broadcasting horsepower – complete with multiple feed switching, titles, overlays, and more — and shrunk it into a $499 box that slips into your camera’s hot shoe along with a $99 app that essentially replicates an entire live broadcast studio.
Besides – we already know that Oscar ads can be filmed with an iPad Air 2, so why not live-event streaming?
Mike did try to calm me down, but you could hear the grin in his voice: “We’re not trying to replace a NewTek Tricaster!”
But from where I sit, if you don’t need ALL of the power of a NewTek Tricaster (or Teradek’s own high-end gear) – in other words, if you’re a small school, a church, synagogue, small business, small production company with clients like these, or simply want to take drone videography to the next level, well – Mike's protestations to the contrary — they’ve already done it. [bctt tweet= “Teradek VidiU Mini + Live:Air iPad app: some pros are going to soil themselves.”]
How We Got Here
I asked Mike to walk me through their products, so I could better understand the VidiU Mini’s place in their firmament.
And I can tell you: this company is SMART.
“When we look at what’s happening in the market, we think there’s a much larger number of people who’d like to stream, and we want to make that capability available to them at a price point that works for them,” says Mike. “Those who want to go beyond what the VidiU Mini can do will have a great set of Teradek products waiting for them.”
Teradek splashed onto the scene back in 2008, but it wasn’t until 2012 or so that I first heard about them. I remember drooling when they released their Bolt with its zero latency, multi-device HD wireless monitoring solution. But I also remember then cleaning myself up and stopping, because it was nosebleed high above my one-man band aspirations both in terms of capability and price.
The Cube – which actually preceded the Bolt — was their first compressed signal WiFi based encoder ($2,990 on B&H for an encoder/decoder pair). As Mike says, “The Cube was designed to be the ‘Swiss Army knife’ of encoders – everything including decoders, full screen on iPads and iPhones, a high resolution 1080p protocol, and minimal latency.”
“Next up,” he continues, “was VidiU ($699). We were looking to see how we could bring this technology to more people, and we realized it made sense to offer a lower price point by carving out the web-streaming only section of the Cube as its own product. VidiU got online streaming and iOS support, though not at the same level as the Cube – only 480p when monitoring.”
“It really got people interested in web streaming.”
“Then we released the Clip ($599 – notice a pattern?). This was in response to people who were looking for a purely iPad solution. It allows people to stream to a single ipad, iphone or Android device at a full 1080p, with the same latency as the Cube. But we also offer a license for the RTSP protocol which allows streaming to a computer.”
Teradek kept a pulse on their market, and learned that a number of people who were buying the Clip wanted to stream, and a number of people wanted to monitor.
Thus was born the VidiU Mini ($499).
“The VidiU Mini takes all of the features of the VidiU,” Mike explains, “but combines it with the proprietary protocol (TDS – Teradek Streaming) of the Clip. The Mini has the same latency and 1080p output capability as the Clip and the Cube before it. But the difference is that the Mini doesn’t stream full screen. It’s not first and foremost a monitoring solution, though it can be used as a source for – and monitored in — Live:Air.”
“What Live:Air allows a user to do is add in cuts, fades, graphics, and overlays on top of up to four wireless sources – and send it straight up to the cloud where it is broadcast via Livestream, Ustream or YouTube Live.”
For $99 plus $499 for each Mini? Holy CRAP.
“You can have a pretty complete multi-cam live setup for under $2,000,” Mike grins again.
While you can operate the whole system in the field, now you’re dependent on your device’s 3G, 4G or LTE hotspot – and it’s just not going to be as fast as WiFi, nor as clean.
And you can’t use it for full HD, full screen monitoring (it's compressed via H.264 as well).
But in a twist on “there’s an app for that,” we return to Mike’s “there’s an upgrade path for that.”
All of Teradek’s other WiFI devices are getting free firmware upgrades that will allow them to work with Live:Air, too.
What Happens Next?
We’ll be getting one of these puppies in and will let you know what we learn. If it comes close to our expectations, Teradek has just made small production houses capable of doing much, much more.
Teradek VidiU Mini
Live video streaming has never been easier with the ultra portable VidiU Mini. Go live online to any Web destination or turn your HDMI-equipped camera into a wireless video source with the new Live:Air iPad Production Suite. Whether you’re streaming your church’s ceremony or sharing your high school’s sports game online, VidiU Mini helps you bring your unique experiences live to the Web.
For more information, visit www.teradek.com/pages/vidiumini.
Teradek Announces VidiU Mini and Live:Air iPad Production Suite
Via Teradek Press:
The Company aims to revolutionize live streaming with the new Create:Share initiative
IRVINE – Teradek, a manufacturer of professional video transmission equipment, has announced a new H.264 encoder, the VidiU Mini, along with an accompanying iPad Production Suite called Live:Air (pronounced Live to Air). Both products are part of Teradek’s new Create:Share (pronounced Create to Share) initiative that will develop a range of cutting-edge production tools to help independent content creators produce professional looking media.
VidiU Mini is a miniature HDMI encoder that can stream in full HD to any online video platform or to Teradek’s new Live:Air Production Suite. The device offers an internal LI-ION battery with up to 3 hours of runtime, bluetooth for quick device configuration, built-in dual band WiFi, and integration with the most popular Web streaming services, including Livestream, Ustream, and YouTube Live. For multi-camera productions, multiple VidiU Mini encoders can be used as wire-less video sources for the Live:Air application.
“We took the best features we’ve developed over the years for our popular VidiU encoder and put them into a smaller, easier to use device suited perfectly for action cams and DSLRs,” said Nicol Verheem, CEO of Teradek. “With so much potential at such an affordable price, anybody will be able to share their unique experiences live online with friends, family, and followers.”
The Live:Air Production Suite is an iOS application that helps create more professional looking live content with Teradek encoders and iOS devices. The software allows users to add visual effects and text overlays to live video sources and can be used to switch between multiple live video feeds and pre-recorded material, all with elegant transitions and fades.
Since Live:Air supports up to 4livevideo sources at once, users can connect multiple cameras equipped with Teradek encoders for real-time mixing. For single camera productions, the appli-cation can be used to overlay titling and sports scores, even if the only video source is the iPad’s built-in camera.
“The Live:Air iOS application is a very exciting new direction for Teradek. It allows anyone to create captivating live streams, be that with a single iPhone video source or a multi-camera pro-duction. The app is the perfect compliment to VidiU Mini and greatly simplifies producing high quality content for online consumption.”
VidiU Mini will be available March 1, 2015 on the Teradek Webstore and through authorized re-sellers for $499. The Live:Air application will be available to download from the Apple App Store on February 28, 2015 for $99. Both products will be on display at the Broadcast Video Expo (BVE), from February 24-26, 2015 at Booths K30 & H12. Learn more at: www.teradek.com.
Teradek, a Vitec Group brand, manufactures wireless video devices for remote video capture, live ENG backhaul, real-time monitoring, proxy recording and webcasting. For complex IP video workflows, Teradek's cloud-based workflow management platform allows users to remotely managing a fleet of Teradek encoders in real-time from anywhere in the world. All Teradek products are designed and manufactured in the USA.
(cover photo credit: snap from Teradek)