NewTek’s First HDMI Product Gets A Lot Right
Streaming video is at an interesting crossroads right now. A generation of content creators raised on YouTube is transitioning to the more social live video experience, exponentially growing the entire streaming industry and building billion dollar streaming platforms. But the technology to support this exploding industry has taken baby steps to better production, and the learning curve for professional live productions is steeper than most YouTubers can handle.
Enter the NewTek Tricaster MINI – a feature rich professional HDMI video studio with broadcast grade software, all in a small carry-on-friendly form factor. The first Tricaster to natively accept HDMI inputs, the new MINI is an all in one solution for consumer, prosumer and professional live broadcasters. We’ve gone hands on with the Tricaster MINI and have come away very impressed.
The TriCaster Mini features 4 HDMI inputs, finally allowing any HDMI capable camera to plug directly into a TriCaster. This includes many DSLR, Micro Four-Thirds, HD camcorder and GoPro cameras (the new low-end GoPro lacks HDMI). This is the killer feature for the giant YouTuber base invested in sub-$2,000 cameras, of which most lack HD-SDI required from previous TriCaster models. Even Leo LaPorte’s TWiT.tv is an HDMI studio, incorporating Canon VIXIA and lots of converters. The latest video game systems wisely chose to disable HDCP over HDMI for gaming, allowing for game streaming via a broadcast studio workflow. NewTek also recognizes that not all HDMI cables are created equal (a constant issue for high profile productions) and offer an additional 4-pack of 100 ft. HDMI cables, tested and guaranteed to send a 100′ signal.
Broadcaster Will Feel Right At Home
Those familiar with TriCaster will feel at home with the Mini: it’s the same broadcast-proven feature rich software platform in a Mini-ATX form factor. Green screen keying, real time editable lower thirds, no-latency video switching, quicktime video playback and vector scopes come standard. NewTek also offers their free iVGA plugin so any Windows PC can screen-share with audio over the network, perfect for live casting Skype sessions and Hangouts. With 2 dedicated HDMI outputs on the Mini, TriCaster can now send the live program to modern projection and LCD TV systems directly.
The Demo unit we were shown included a battery-powered external HDMI monitor and USB wireless mouse & keyboard, allowing for a full TriCaster setup with only one power plug! Combined with a battery powered GoPro, Canon Vixia and LED light kit you can be broadcasting a professionally edited live broadcast with only a single plug and wired internet. This is by far the quickest and most portable live streaming setup for professional broadcast. Walking in to existing production environments, often with HDMI cameras, just got a whole lot easier.
Would Be Nice
There are a couple nice to haves that we wish were included in the TriCaster Mini package. First, no WiFi radio built in. Best practices say never to stream over WiFi, but our team has been in many situations at major institutions where WiFi is the only option. Secondly, please offer the backpack package! We are so enamored with the demo featuring a carry-on ready broadcast-in-a-backpack, and anyone working internationally will understand all the Customs Carnet issues the Mini solves.
**UPDATE: According the newly published official spec sheet, the final production model will include built-in WiFi. We have reached out to Netwek to confirm whether its g/n/ac.
Overall, the TriCaster Mini enters the market at just the right time as the entertainment industry embraces live streaming, ESPN broadcasts e-sports, and every MCN seems to be worth billions. This studio in a box plugs right in to broadcast workflows built around YouTubers and expands the capabilities of existing infrastructure. TriCaster Mini is competitively priced at $5,995 base model, or with enhanced recording and remote-broadcast friendly embedded monitor for $7,995. The feature set for a 1080p broadcast hardware & software solution is unmatched as NewTek continues to lead the online broadcast revolution.