Monday, April 01, 2013

It looks like Teradek's VidiU live video encoder is a winner

In January, I wrote about Teradek's new $699 (U.S.) VidiU, a palm-sized portable video encoder that supports 1080P or 720P video at 5 Mbps maximum, and has built-in WiFi connectivity and a USB port for plugging in a 3G/4G broadband modem. The VidiU connects "out-of-the-box" with Ustream and Livestream, and can also connect to any streaming service that supports RTSP. Although Teradek and Ustream announced the VidiU in early January, the device is just now shipping to reviewers, and the company will start fulfilling customer orders later this month.

Streaming Media Magazine's Jan Ozer has posted a "first look" review of the VidiU. I strongly suggest that you read his review for all the details, but here are some of the highlights:
  • The VidiU has a free iOS controller app that makes configuring the encoder and monitoring its output very simple. (Presumably, an Android app is in the works.)
  • The VidiU can test the broadband connection and propose an optimal encoding rate to support the available bandwidth, and it also provides adaptive bandwidth management to optimize the encoding rate as available bandwidth changes.
  • Two simultaneous streams are outputted by the VidiU: One goes to the streaming services provider, and the other goes over WiFi to an iOS device for monitoring.
  • At the top quality rate for 720p video (2.2 Mbps,) Ozer reports that the video looked very good. You can see all of the videos that he recorded on Livestream by clicking here. Even at 446 Kbps, the video quality is impressive.
  • Ozer reported some faint audio distortion on all of his recordings, which he described as making them sound as though they had been recorded underwater. He used two different camcorders to try to isolate the problem, and determined that the distortion was in the audio from both camcorders--meaning that the VidiU was the most likely source. Ozer wrote that the distortion could only be heard with headphones, but it was sufficient to prevent him from rating the VidiU a "must-buy." It's likely that whatever is causing the problem can be fixed with a firmware upgrade, but so far, Teradek hasn't confirmed that the problem exists.
Assuming that the sound problem gets fixed soon, the VidiU will become the low-cost live video encoder to beat. I'll look at the VidiU myself next week at NAB.
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