Introduction

This White Paper offers a compressed overview of NDI: its value and place in the future of video, and the technology's fundamental features, protocols, and settings. It is updated in real-time by the NDI team to reflect the most recent developments to our Core Tech Platform. The current version of NDI is 5.6.


What is NDI?

NDI stands for Network Device Interface. It is a widely adopted video connectivity standard based on proprietary IP networking specifications. NDI enables multimedia systems to identify and communicate with one another over IP and to encode, transmit, and receive many streams of high-quality, low latency, frame-accurate video and audio, and exchange metadata in real-time.

NDI operates bi-directionally, with many streams on a shared connection. Its encoding algorithm is resolution and frame-rate-independent, supporting 4K resolutions and beyond, along with unlimited floating-point audio channels and custom metadata. NDI can be integrated and/or supported by any network-connected product, including video cameras, graphics systems, video mixers, capture cards, multimedia players, video editing applications, and many other devices and software. NDI is not a codec. NDI supports many different video codecs, like our proprietary SpeedHQ, found on the NDI High Bandwidth format, AVC (H.264) and HEVC (H.265), found on the NDI HX formats. Different NDI formats correspond to specifications related to codecs supported, bandwidth spending, glass-to-glass latency, and image quality.

The vision of NDI

Manifesto

Video has transported images, information, ideas, and stories for over a century.

And over the last decade, we've been working behind cameras to push the envelope every time someone presses record. With each innovation, we've helped bring partners, creators, and users closer to the future of video.

Now, the future of video is here. The little red dot is everywhere. Video is not just moving images anymore. It's transferring data. More than something we consume, video generates new ideas and businesses every day. It's not how we transport experiences. Video is the experience:

From a state-of-the-art overseas production to the room of a gaming streamer;

from a smart network of traffic flow analysis to the most challenging remote surgeries;

from an auction with thousands of bidders on social media to a parent calming their baby through a monitor.

As video evolves, it unveils a common thread connecting all these new use cases and exciting possibilities. One breakthrough that redefines video:

We believe there is no video without connection.

Looking into the next steps of video-based industries, you find innovation and the rise of new use cases everywhere: video production going remote, collaborative, virtual, cloud-based, and AI, all at the same time; video streaming is growing with no limits, and live e-commerce is establishing itself as one of the main formats of e-commerce; a very big percentage of IoT is built using video, which is becoming the ultimate sensor for humans and machines.​; many specialized use cases are becoming more common in surveillance, monitoring, smart cities, or hybrid learning and work.

The future of video is one in which content is transferred easily and efficiently via the Internet Protocol (IP). This global network will largely supplant and become far too decentralized and open-ended for current industry-specific connection formats like HDMI, SDI, etc., in any type of video workflow or production pipeline.

This is the next iteration of the world of video, audio, and media: a connected global environment that contains all devices, technologies, services, and businesses based on creating, sharing, coordinating, and consuming media, either by humans or machines.​

NDI is the technology connecting it.

The value of NDI

The current limitations to connectivity

When we think about video connectivity, it’s natural to consider the ever-expanding possibilities, more options, and unlimited potential.

But the fact is that, as with all technology-driven revolutions, the existing way of doing things still presents more limitations than we would like:

Dependency on equipment and budget

Currently, the number and quality of connections are very dependent on cost, available cables, infrastructure, and bandwidth.

Complexity and need for specialized expertise

Most connectivity solutions require networking expertise to set up and troubleshoot. They struggle to provide a simple, user-friendly experienc

Too many working connectivity protocols

There can be many protocols in the same workflow, requiring a lot of conversion and understanding of different technologies. Alternatively, some products only operate in closed ecosystems.

NDI is removing the limits of video connectivity.

High efficiency

We develop the most advanced video connectivity formats; and allow productions to scale without scaling costs.

Plug & play

We guarantee that any NDI-enabled product is easy to operate, even without networking knowledge, and always works seamlessly.

Interoperability

We unlock complete connectivity with a growing ecosystem of NDI-enabled and compatible devices, making NDI the only protocol you’ll need to connect with multiple products, device types, and brand ecosystems.

For these reasons and many more, NDI enables effectively transitioning any setup, workflow, or production into an incredibly versatile IP video pipeline, offering backward compatibility with the existing infrastructure and devices.

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