Convert SuiteCG NDI to AirSend for Legacy Tricasters with ZEN RTx

The NDI protocol by Newtek is a pretty amazing thing, but before NDI there was AirSend. You could think of AirSend as the older brother to NDI and it was used almost exclusively for Newtek products. Most people used it for getting graphics, with transparency, from their graphics system, such as LiveText.

When NDI came around, Newtek provided updates for AirSend transmitters to become NDI-enabled but unfortunately they never really provided a means for ALL older Tricasters to get updated to receive NDI. Some Tricasters were able to get updated to software that supported NDI, but some models didn’t have the right hardware and were unable to board the NDI train. And unfortunately, NewTek never provided a means of converting NDI to Airsend.

I approached Martin Kay with ZEN Computer Services in the UK about this predicament and have spent the last few weeks working with him to test the addition of AirSend conversion to his ZEN RTx re-transmitter application. While NDI is certainly a better technology than AirSend, there are still plenty of schools and non-profits that are using the older Tricasters and can’t take advantage of NDI and simply don’t have the funds to upgrade. Now they will have that ability at no cost thanks to ZEN RTx. ZEN RTX will work with any NDI source, not just SuiteCG.

Here is a quick look at the conversion in action.

A few caveats:

1. The AirSend conversion does not convert audio. All video sources will have audio stripped from them.

2. As shown in the video, the conversion does add some latency. This will probably vary based on system specs, but in this video the latecy looked to be about .2 seconds.

3. An unknown error prevents running the application on Windows 7. This may or may not be fixed given the trend toward NDI-enabled Tricasters and Windows 10 operating systems.

Anyone interested in trying this out can download RTx, as well as some other interesting NDI utilities, from Martin does a lot of audiovisual/broadcasting services so if you’re in the UK, I recommend him for any equipment needs you might have.

A HUGE thanks to Martin Kay of ZEN Computer Services for working with me on this and providing a means for unlocking NDI for Tricaster users who until now have been locked out of NDI.