These days one can very easily end up with a lot of media content in a lot of formats. Making that content conveniently available to your productions is something that NewTek NDI can help with, particularly in conjunction with a free utility called VLC Media Player for Windows, from VideoLan.
VLC can play pretty much any format, and has a host of useful capabilities; NewTek NDI VLC Plugin, supplied with the free NewTek NDI Tools Pack, converts VLC playback to NDI in real-time on a stock PC, making the content instantly production-ready for your NDI-enabled switcher and other production tools. Previously, special video output cards would have been needed to get this content ready to go into a switcher; now it just takes an Ethernet cable.
VideoLan’s VLC Media Player is a free download: VLC Media Player for Windows Download Page
Download and run the installer, and follow the onscreen instructions to install the VLC Media Player on your system. [Important Note: The installer default is to install 32-bit VLC Media Player; if you have a 64-bit system, make sure instead to select to install 64-bit VLC Media Player – NDI is about 4 times faster on 64-bit than it is on 32-bit.] For this tutorial we opted to have the installer place an icon on the Desktop, per the UI image below.
The NewTek NDI Tools Pack is a free download: NewTek NDI Tools Pack Download Page (registration required).
The file you download is an installer, “NewTek NDI Tools.exe”. Run the installer and follow the onscreen instructions to install the NDI Tools to your chosen system. Once installation is complete, the tools present on your system include the NewTek NDI VLC Plugin.
First, locate your VLC Media Player on the desktop and run the application. If you play a video at this time, you’ll note that the video is displayed in the player window. When we use VLC Media Player with the plugin, this won’t be the case – the video and audio will go to the network as an NDI stream.
Now, lets configure VLC to send video and audio to the NewTek NDI VLC Plugin. Locate the Tools menu and select Preferences.
On the Preferences panel, select Audio.
On the Audio Settings, drop down the selection list for Output module, and select NewTek NDI audio output.
Next, select the Video Settings.
On the Video Settings, drop down the Output options list, and select NewTek NDI video output.
Once you have completed this selection, click the Save button to save the preferences.
Next, exit VLC Media Player, and restart it.
Now, if you select a video and play it, you’ll see only the playback progress bar active in the VLC window. The video is playing to the network as an NDI stream. When we installed the NewTek NDI Tools Pack, we gave ourselves a tool that will let us quickly confirm this.
On your Windows Start Menu, go to All Apps.
Locate NewTek NDI Tools on the All Apps list, and click the arrow to dropdown the full list of NDI Tools. Select NDI Video Monitor.
When the NDI Video Monitor is running, right-click on the UI to get the selection list of NDI sources that are on the network. Your VLC stream will be showing as one of these. Select it.
Now you should see the video that VLC is playing in the NDI Video Monitor window.
Learn More about NewTek NDI.