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Friday, May 24, 2019

New Wireless Mics Might Be A Mistake in 2019

"Only use a wireless microphone when there is no other choice". I've said this for years and no one ever listens to me. But the problem is getting worse. The FCC in 2017 sold off a big chunk of frequencies that were popular with wireless mic users (the 600MHz band) to T-Mobile. As soon as T-Mobile starts using the band in your area it becomes illegal to use your expensive wireless mics. 

This is not the first time this sort of has happened.
A big part of the problem is that many wireless systems are not 'frequency agile' that is they work on one fixed frequency and cannot be changed this is especially true of VHF band mics. Even systems that can be set to multiple channels only work in a narrow range of frequencies so if the band you're using get sold off or over run you can't tune it to a different band.

There are several bands where unlicensed wireless mics can be used but these bands are becoming more and more crowded as other users of various wireless devices (not just microphones) get condensed into a smaller and smaller piece of the airwaves. Most unlicensed wireless mics are in either the TV band or in the same bands that are used for WiFi.

Anything in the 2.4GHZ or 5GHz bands are subject to interference by WiFi signals. Keep in mind that most cell phones can be setup as a WiFi hotspot. Pop up a list of available WiFi networks in any crowded area and you will see dozens of them, every single one of which could clobber your wireless mic signal.

It gets worse. The TV band looks safe because TV stations don't move around from one frequency to another; they are at fixed, well known spots in the band. Choose a wireless mic system that avoids those frequencies and you'd think you were good to go. But wait, the FCC has mandated a 'repack' of the TV bands. 

The transition to digital TV caused a big shuffle of channel assignments to make room for both analog and digital versions of TV stations. Now that the analog channels have been shut down they are going to re-shuffle the existing digital stations to final locations in the band. Most of the repack takes place this year. So your carefully chosen wireless mic frequencies may or may not work after the repack.

So to bottom line it either take your best shot and buy a good, frequency agile wireless mic system that you think will work now and hope for the future or buy something cheap and replace it as necessary as the situation changes.

Monday, April 22, 2019

New TriCaster 410 Plus

The newly announced mid-range TriCaster is positioned pretty much exactly as the original TC410 vs TC460 was. It more or less the same hardware as the TC1 with a slightly condensed feature set. The list of reduced features is pretty short and depending on your needs may make it the perfect TriCaster.

Main Differences vs the TC1:

  • No 4K Support
  • Eight external inputs on switcher vs sixteen
  • Single Skype input vs two
  • Two Down Stream Keys vs four
  • M/Es have two keyers vs four
  • Two SDI Outputs vs four
  • Single 3TB Internal Hard Drive
List Price of the TC410 Plus Ala Carte $9,995
TC410 Plus/TC1SP controller bundle $14,995

Friday, April 19, 2019

NDi Converter Comparison

Monday, April 8, 2019

A couple other things re: NAB announcements

NewTek's press release

A little more info, VMC subscriptions start at $795 per month. Live Story Creator lets you go directly from script to prompter to TriCaster automation in one step. It's included in Premium Access.

Quick Note

Just a quick note after the dealer meeting. Much of it was covered in the Dr. cross interview I previously linked to.

Big improvements in NDI 4. Record any/all NDI streams. Related to this is that that record function will be harnessed by TriCasters for easy instant replay. The replay function may be a premium access feature.

Any NDI streams you record will be synchronized and there will  be an Adobe CC plugin so you can easily do multi-cam edits in Premier.

The new mid range machine will be called the TriCaster 410 Plus. It's sort of a TC1 with only eight inputs rather than 16 and limited to 1080p with no 4k. The price remains under 10k.

If you have Advanced Edition 3 you can get a free one year subscription to Premium Access. If you don't have AE3 and you buy a one year Premium Access subscription you get a free copy of AE3.

NetWork also announced the Spark Plus HD full NDI converter for $495 and the 4k Spark Plus will now be $595.

Another big announcement was that Sony will now be supporting NDI in a new line of PTZ cameras.

 The meeting was light on details and shipping dates so watch this space.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

More Pre-NAB from NewTek - Dr. Cross Interview

Interview with Andrew Cross


  • More on the merger. Building the IP Production Monster.
  • NDI 4.0 - Bigger, better, faster, lower overhead, with synchronization and unlimited recording plus even more, more.
  • Unreal Engine plugin for NDI. Easy E-Sports?
  • IP Series as a scaleable cloud service. All ghost, no machine.
  • New Innovative NDI Converter boxes. So you can get video into your virtualized machine.
  • Super-auto script to teleprompter to switcher automation technology?!
  • Even more stuff after NAB

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

VizRT buys NewTek! - I didn't see that coming...

...and no, it's not an April Fools gag.

RedShark has the best take on this I've seen so far.

The press release is here

VizRT real time motion 3D graphics + NewTek real time everything else. On the face of it the merger looks like a winner to me.

I'll update as necessary. Check back for more info after Sunday's dealer meeting.

Update: In case you have no idea what VizRT does:

Update 2: Links fixed.