Network Device Interface(NDI) – Everything you should know

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Posted on June 24, 2022

The Network Device Interface which is referred to as NDI was created by NewTek – creating the NDI® (Network Device Interface) standard for Video over IP. It’s intended to enable the dissemination of live professional video over existing IP infrastructure, liberating customers from hardware constraints while also lowering costs and reducing implementation time.

What is a Network Device Interface? 

NDI is a flexible and versatile solution that allows many video streams on a shared connection as the future of video evolves toward more network-based distribution methods. Over ordinary Ethernet networks, NDI enables high-quality, low-latency, frame-accurate video.

NewTek created NDI, which stands for Network Device Interface. In 2015, NewTek unveiled NDI, and the protocol was made publicly available in early 2016. The protocol’s third version was launched in 2017, with multicast support, a high-efficiency mode termed NDI-HX, and other enhancements.

Multicast is a type of group communication in which content is sent to numerous locations at the same time, and it has a favorable impact on the NDI transmitter’s bandwidth usage.

NDI HX is a lower-rate codec that can be utilized in low-bandwidth environments like Wi-Fi and 4G networks.

What Kind of NDI-supported equipment is Available? 

A large number of device and software manufacturers and developers support NDI. Video mixers, graphics systems, capture cards, and a variety of other production devices all support NDI since it helps any network-connected video device and software. Here are a handful of the most significant:

  • NewTek
  • Adobe / Adobe Creative Cloud
  • JVC Professional
  • Panasonic
  • Evertz
  • LiveU
  • Deltacast
  • NewBlue

NDI Bandwidth Requirement

The amount of bandwidth you require for NDI transmission depends on the resolution and frame rate. The NDI encoding algorithm is resolution and frame-rate agnostic, and it can handle resolutions of up to 4K and beyond. Its high-end capability over regular GigE networks allows facilities to migrate to an exceptionally versatile IP video production pipeline without having to replace current SDI cameras and gear or spend money on new high-speed network infrastructure.

NDI Compression Examples

The video streams are compressed by NDI and delivered over the network at a 15:1 ratio compared to an uncompressed video of the same format. According to the NewTek article “Adding NDI to your network,” the following is an estimate of bandwidth usage per NDI video stream for typical delivery formats:

  • 1 x stream SD video = 20 Mbps
  • 1 x stream 1080p50/59.94 video = 125Mbps
  • 1 x stream 720p50/59.94 video = 90Mbps
  • 1 x stream UHDp30 video = 200Mbps
  • 1 x stream 1080i50/59.94 video = 100Mbps
  • 1 x stream UHDp60 video = 250Mbps 

NDI Formats 

All resolutions, frame rates, and video streams, with and without alpha channel, are supported by NDI. The most popular implementations are likely to use 8-bit UYVY and RGBA video, but 10-bit and 16-bit video are also supported. The codec’s internal pipeline is kept at 16-bit or better at all times.

NDI is designed to function on conventional IP networks with little or no need for specific configuration. This is because NDI-enabled devices function just like any other networked device.

While the NDI integration is intended to be as smooth as possible, it is necessary to understand what NDI performs. The following is an excerpt from NewTek’s “Adding NDI to Your Network” documentation:

NDI uses mDNS to discover and register devices on a network automatically.

  • The IP address and ports of source devices will be delivered to destinations via NDI’s broadcast response.
  • The mDNS Ethernet frame is a multicast packet that uses UDP port 5353 to broadcast to IPv4 address
  • Automatic discovery may only be enabled as an option in NDI implementations published before October 2016.

A message server is included in NDI to enable direct discovery.

  • TCP port 5960 is used by the NDI messaging server.
  • The first NDI video stream is on port 5961, with subsequent ports assigned in order dependent on the total number of NDI streams accessible on the system.
  • Invisibly. These messages are utilized for connectivity as well as other basic functions such as Tally. Clients of the NDI are usually unaware of them.
  • Public metadata that has been defined. The NDI PTZ Protocol, for example, is one of these communications. NewTek defines them as part of the NDI SDK.
  • Metadata schemas created by other parties. The content of these messages is based on third-party designs and is implemented in the same way as defined NDI metadata.

How do I send NDI?

There are a few ways to do that like, your encoded NDI broadcast can be sent using software such as OBS or hardware such as the Kiloview media gateway MG300.

With OBS, you may use RTMP pushing to transmit your NDI feed to streaming networks like YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, and others.

You can send your NDI stream to not only stream platforms (such those listed above), but also SRT equivalents and the built-in RTMP server with the MG300 (public static IP or DDNS required).

What is the NDI protocol?

NDI is an IP network standard for ultra-low latency, lossless transmission, and interactive control:

  • The most important aspect of the NDI protocol is that it allows video transmission without the use of regular HDMI and SDI cables.
  • The NDI protocol offers ultra-low latency (near-real-time) transmission, lossless transmission, and two-way control.
  • After NDI encoding, audio and video signals can transmit and receive multiple broadcast grade signals in real time across an IP network, with minimal latency, correct frame video, mutual recognition, and data stream communication.
  • In a novel type of network application layer, it simplifies the building of the system as well as the transmission and call of various signals in the system, making system design, integration, application, and maintenance simpler and more flexible.
  • Compatible video products may communicate, transmit, and receive broadcast-quality video in a high-quality, low-latency, frame-accurate way, making it suitable for live production switching.
  • The NDI source includes an access mechanism that permits manual insertion of the IP address of a computer executing the NDI source on a separate network.

What is the Application of the NDI Protocol?

Video transmission over a wired network or wireless WIFI network, video transmission over a wired network or wireless WIFI network, video transmission over a wired network or wireless WIFI network, video transmission over a wired network or wireless WIFI network, reducing wiring cost and deployment time. To suit the studio’s needs, on-site multi-camera video production is a good option.

What Are The Advantages of the NDI Encoder?

They include :

  • Built-in 5G upgraded WIFI module for more robust wireless transmission while also allowing wired network expansion via USB;
  • Built-in high-capacity lithium battery power source, as well as external 5-16v mobile power supply, eliminates the need for a connected power supply;
  • Active heat dissipation (built-in fan), adaptability to high temperatures, steady and reliable operation
  • The camera is portable and lightweight, weighing only 380g, and it comes with hot shoes, making it simple to mount.
  • Support for wireless remote management by mobile phone/PAD end APP, which is simple to use;
  • Support for dual stream output, with the main code rate supporting 1080p60Hz video encoding and the sub-stream supporting 720p60Hz video encoding, which can be transmitted to two devices at the same time;
  • It has an SD/TF card slot, can record locally, and can store files on a NAS network;
  • Support for the 1080p60Hz video format, with the output resolution configurable;
  • Low bit rate encoding and high definition image quality can be achieved by combining imported chip and H.264 video coding technology with video dynamic noise reduction, image enhancement, and other technical processing.

What is NDI in OBS?

OBS is an open-source video creation and streaming software. It is popular among NDI users since it allows you to:

  • Automatically detects the NDI video source;
  • NDI video should be streamed to many platforms (youtube, Twitch, Facebook, etc.);
  • Use the NDI video as a virtual camera in video calling apps (like Skype, Zoom, Meet, and so on);
  • You should install OBS and the NDI plugin at the same time for proper access to your NDI video.

At the same time, “Streamlabs OBS,” a free streaming app, is available (SLOBS or SLABS OBS). It also has an NDI feature built in.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Is NDI free?

NDI is completely free to use. The official NDI tools are available for free. You may use the toolset to record your screen and then share the synchronized screen with anyone. If your network contains other NDI sources, the Studio Monitor will discover them and display them in real time.

Due to the fact that many IM programs, such as Skype, Zoom, and Teams, include NDI, you can use it as a free and powerful tool for video communication.

NDI vs SDI, which one is better?

SDI is a type of stream video transmission that has been around for a long time. To connect your camcorder and video production system, you’ll need an SDI wired cable. For on-site live productions, any SDI video production package usually necessitates a complex deployment.

NDI is a lightweight protocol that is built on Internet infrastructure. Because your video can be transmitted over Ethernet or Wi-Fi, employing an NDI hardware encoder is a common scenario.

NDI is a superior solution for convenient and efficient video creation and streaming; SDI is better for lossless video quality preservation.

Can I use NDI with InEvent/Zoom? Do teams Support NDI?

Yes, NDI is supported in the most recent versions of Zoom and Microsoft Teams. When you have the free NDI Tools installed on your PC, you may test NDI in Zoom and Microsoft Teams by following these steps:

  • If necessary, enable NDI properties under Zoom/Teams/Skype settings;
  • Use NDI tools to launch “Webcam Input,” right-click the program icon, and select any video source;
  • Run “Screen Capture” from NDI tools to export your screen as an available video source if you wish to share your screen instead of an external video source.
  • To use your NDI video source (rather than your webcam) in video chatting, go back to Zoom/Teams/Skype and pick “NewTek NDI Video.”

Which is better, NDI or capture card?

If you need to capture your screen, you can use either a video capture card or an NDI tool: the capture card pulls video data from another computer, whereas the NDI tool pushes video data across the entire network.

That is, utilizing a capture card is generally one to one, whereas using NDI is one to all. In the meantime, the NDI tool is available for free.


Just like video producers are able to make use of Network Device Interface (NDI) with Zoom Rooms to create custom visual experiences from individual video streams and many other advantages, you can do the same as the device remains arguably the biggest device interface you can find around the world.

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