End-to-End Distribution Platform Allows Producers to Stream Live Video Directly to Viewers

NewTek has begun shipping MediaDS, a new 1RU appliance that integrates the company's real-time production technology with live streaming software from Wowza.

The device is meant to hook up the loose end that exists after a show has been produced, for example, using one of NewTek's TriCaster products. Traditionally, users have had to either build out their own media server capabilities or rely on a third-party CDN to distribute their video productions over IP. That's a hassle, especially for customers who end up sending their content out to an external service like YouTube or Ustream just to make that content accessible to users on the corporate network. But by building Wowza's streaming software into a simple hardware appliance with a basic UI, NewTek is giving users an easier way to distribute material, whether it's on an internal LAN or over the wider Internet.

"This allows a content producer or content owner to take a live video signal of any type, whether it's from a studio or a TriCaster or any other video switcher, and deliver it directly to the end user," NewTek Director of Product Marketing Will Waters told StudioDaily. "It is a delivery or distribution system — a turnkey solution for anyone who wants to have total control all the way from content delivery to the consuming viewer. Typically, you'd have to piece that together from multiple vendors."


The MediaDS has four 3G-SDI input channels, each of which can accept video at resolutions up to 1080p, independently or in tandem (for multiple-bit-rate encodes). Four IP inputs and outputs are also available, for network video I/O via NewTek's NDI protocol. Local video is available for monitoring via DVI or HDMI.

Once a stream is activated, the MediaDS acts as a web server (via four IP source outputs) as well as a media server, and embed codes for the Wowza Player can be employed on existing websites. And the MediaDS is "stackable," meaning users can add boxes as necessary to meet the demands of hundreds or thousands of viewers. "Say you have a couple hundred viewers on a single box," Waters said. "If you needed to expand to 1,000 or 2,000 [viewers], you could add boxes as necessary."

In addition to streaming locally, multiple MediaDS systems could be deployed at distant offices to handle enterprise-wide video streaming through a virtual CDN or edge network. "If we wanted to do a NewTek town hall of some sort, we could use a MediaDS within our San Antonio facility and distribute to all of our employees here," he explained. "But we also have an office in Manchester, U.K. We can take a second MediaDS, place it in that office, and send a single stream from San Antonio to Manchester, where that second MediaDS can handle all of the distribution to the Manchester office. Rinse and repeat as necessary."

At the same time, Waters said, NewTek's approach is CDN-neutral, so the MediaDS can also be used to stream to any distribution service users prefer, including Facebook Live, Microsoft Azure, YouTube, Wowza CDN, or custom RTMP configurations. "It's a flexible system based on the needs of our customers," he said. Target users include education, corporate and even broadcast users, many of whom need to distribute linear video content across their in-house networks, Waters said.

MediaDS is available now at a U.S. MSRP of $11,995.