Getting Started With NDI!

Getting started with NDI can be very easy. If you have two computers you are ready to begin using NDI. There are several ways to utilize NDI in your production or even just your classroom. The purpose of this article is to show you exactly how you can turn your entire campus into your personal studio. You do not have to be an IT professional or even a broadcasting engineer, anyone can use NDI, and we are going to show you how. To help you understand the vision, please take a moment and watch this promo about NDI!

How it works:

NDI uses your existing network to transport video from anywhere within your network. This simply means that wherever you have a network port, you have potential to use NDI. NDI supports video, audio, tally, intercom, and even control.  The best way to test your network for NDI is to gather two computers with the NDI tools installed and place one at either location. You will run NDI signal generator on your remote location, and the NDI studio monitor at your destination location. If NDI is working on your network, then you will see the remote computer appear in the list of sources on the studio monitor. 


In the world of NDI, you can use a variety of equipment as a potential source. Most popular of these are NDI converters. These convert video standards like SDI or HDMI into NDI to use in your existing production. That means you can take your camera’s and use them for your new NDI workflow by simply adding a converter. Another option for sources are PTZ cameras with built in NDI integration. While NDI is growing, more manufacturers are adding NDI as their IP video signals. This makes them primed for use in any production. Some handheld cameras can now output NDI, allowing you to have full manned cameras anywhere in your network. The easiest device to use are simple computers. With the free NDI tools from NewTek, you can turn any computer into a playback engine, a signal generator, a presentation display, or even a CG system. Even your cell phone can be a camera on the NDI network. 


The NewTek TriCaster is the most common NDI switcher on the market, partly because they are the ones who’ve developed the NDI technology. This doesn’t mean you have to have a TriCaster to use NDI. Other switchers like; LiveStream, Wirecast, and even OBS use NDI, but even if you don’t own a switcher that uses NDI for inputs, you can still use NDI in other ways. As mentioned before, there are converters that change SDI and HDMI to NDI, you can convert NDI back to HDMI or SDI uses these converters as well. You can also use computers to view NDI sources and even create multiviews. 

Potential Problems with NDI:

NDI is only as good as the network it is on. This is just the network, this doesn’t mean your internet. Just because you have a slow internet doesn’t mean NDI won’t work. However, some of the most common issues are mainly due to being on the same network. You have to be able to see the device on the network at either location. NDI works on a gigabit network. This is already in most buildings as of today but you may have a few network switches that are only 100mbs. These will need to be replaced with gigabit switches. NDI drivers are used to decode the NDI. If you are running old NDI drivers, you may not see your sources appear. We have provided a few documents below for you and your IT team to work through when you experience these problems.