I had heard a rumor that at the end of August, there’d be news about a much lower-priced HD portable studio from NewTek. The details arrived this morning in the form of a NewTek press release, whose headline mentioned that it would be under US$5000 (at least for the segregated 59.94 Hz version). After visiting the website, I was able to satisfy about 90% of my curiosities. Ahead you’ll find my first impressions, and the remaining questions I sent to NewTek.
Short spiel from the TriCaster 40’s press release
- Real-time HD and SD Video Production – Use multiple cameras, video inputs, stored clips, graphics, laptops, iOS devices and more to create and deliver television programming in real time at the native resolution of your video sources, without compromising quality
- Portability – The small desktop footprint allows you to produce a broadcast-quality show from virtually any location, while its cart-friendly size can make any room a real-time studio
- Turnkey Operation -No need for complex cabling, multiple integration points, or individual components that require configuration. A 14-channel switcher, with four live camera inputs, multiview monitor, digital disk recorder, program record storage, network inputs, streaming encoder, downstream keyer, graphics, titles and effects, virtual sets, and chroma key are all integrated into system
- Built-in Live Streaming – Instantly reach a global audience on any screen with worldwide distribution through your choice of CDN
- Virtual Sets – Transform any location with a few square feet of green screen into an elegant, virtual broadcast studio set using the system chroma key. Each virtual set includes multiple camera angles, distinct set locations, moving backgrounds, active video monitors, real-time reflections, and over-the-shoulder double box effects
- Network-style Visual Elements – Achieve maximum creative impact with true professional titles and graphics, 200 video transitions and 24 virtual sets
So how many physical live camera inputs?
Those ProVideo Coalition readers who remember my 2010 review of the TriCaster TCXD300 called NewTek’s TriCaster TCXD300 ignites 3rd multicam revolution, now in HD may recall that (TCXD300 model) only had 3 simultaneous external physical video inputs (not counting the re-use of those to create closeups, and the use of internal and network inputs). Well the TriCaster 40 has 4 simultaneous live video sources, in any combination of HD analog component, SD analog component, Y/C or composite. Yes, the TriCaster 40 has no SDI inputs. In other words, you have to connect an analog signal from each camera, the best of which would be HD component analog, i.e. YUV, aka Y, R-Y, B-Y using a component BNC cable. Yes, this means that the signal will suffer a conversion from the camera’s digital signal to analog and then a second conversion back to digital inside the TriCaster 40.
What about network sources?
Like other TriCasters, the TriCaster 40 accepts network sources, which can be other networked computers (i.e. Skype video sources) or even AirPlay devices. The TriCaster 40 can accept up to two of such sources.
Outputs (updated/corrected after conversation with NewTek)
The TriCaster 40 can stream HD (720p and 1080i), record them internally, and output them live as analog HD and SD simultaneously.
Comparison chart compared with other TriCasters
This comparison chart is courtesy of the NewTek website. Click here to enlarge.
Price and availability
The segregated 59.94Hz version of the TriCaster 40 is now being shipped with a list price of US$4995. In the Miami, Florida area, Midtown Video has reported to me that they will have them in stock, for sale, for rent, and for demonstration by next week. The optional control panel costs another US$1995 list price. According to Midtown Video, the multi-standard version will not be sold in the USA. I am awaiting a response from NewTek regarding the price and availability of the multi-standard version.
Pending technical questions I asked NewTek
- Have you removed the 7.5 ire marker on the waveform monitor graticule yet? (This issue I covered in detail on page 3 of NewTek’s TriCaster TCXD300 ignites 3rd multicam revolution, now in HD).
- What QuickTime códec is used for recording HD video? What bit rate?
- Do you have a mode to set the recordings to Progressive when someone sends either 1080PsF29.97 over 59.94i or 1080PsF25 over 50i from the camera? If not, it would be a great addition for many reasons.
- How are the internal media drives formatted: NTFS, HFS+ or something else? (I know that HFS+ would require the MacDrive utility.)
- Are the recordings big (beyond 4GB each), or are they sequential 4GB files?
- Does the TriCaster 40 have an eSATA connection for recording externally? If so, what format is usable: NTFS, HFS+ or other? (I know that HFS+ would require the MacDrive utility.)
- What types… and how many Ethernet ports does the TriCaster 40 have?
I will publish a followup article when I receive the responses. To make sure you continue to see my upcoming articles, sign up to my mailing list here.
My first reaction to the TriCaster 40
The TriCaster 40 seems to offer quite a lot for its price category, especially considering the network sources, inboard recorder, virtual sets, inboard playback capabilities, and inboard streaming encoder. As a purist, I am more concerned about the lack of digital HD camera (HD-SDI) inputs than the lack of HD-SDI output, due to the D>A>D conversion on the front end. However, many viewers may not notice or care, and some TriCaster 40 purchasers may combine older HD cameras that offered component analog output but no digital output.
My latest ebook
I have just published a somewhat related ebook in two languages.
The format is Kindle, but even if you don’’’t have a Kindle device, you can read Kindle books on many other devices using a free Kindle app. That includes iPad, iPhone, Android phones, Android tablets, Mac computers, Windows computers, some Blackberry phones and Windows 7 phones.
In English, it is currently available in the following Amazon stores, depending upon your region:
- At Amazon.com (for all of the Americas)
- Amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom)
- Amazon.de (Germany)
- Amazon.es (Spain, pero a lo mejor lo prefieres en castellano, a continuación)
- Amazon.fr (France)
- Amazon.it (Italy)
If you’re going to buy a Kindle book as a gift, you must do so via the Pan-American Amazon store (the first one listed above), regardless of where you live or where the recipient lives.
En castellano, está disponible actualmente en las siguientes tiendas Amazon, según tu región:
- Amazon.com (todas las Am©ricas)
- Amazon.co.uk (Reino Unido)
- Amazon.de (Alemania)
- Amazon.es (España)
- Amazon.fr (Francia)
- Amazon.it (Italia)
Si vas a comprar un libro Kindle como regalo, debes hacerlo vía la tienda panamericana de Amazon (la primera de la lista) sin importar donde vivas tú o donde viva la persona que recibirá el regalo.
Allan T©pper’s books, consulting, articles, seminars & audio programs
Contact Allan T©pper for consulting, or find a full listing of his books, articles and upcoming seminars and webinars at AllanTepper.com. Listen to his TecnoTur program, which is now available both in Castilian (aka “Spanish”) and in English, free of charge. Search for TecnoTur in iTunes or visit TecnoTur.us for more information.
Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s rules
No manufacturer is specifically paying Allan T©pper or TecnoTur LLC to write this article or the mentioned books. Some of the other manufacturers listed above have contracted T©pper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. Many of the manufacturers listed above have sent Allan T©pper review units. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs.
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