NewTek last week announced that their broadcast video calling system, TalkShow VS-100, is now shipping. TalkShow is a tool enabling broadcasters and producers to integrate video feed from any Skype user using any Skype-enabled device seamlessly with any live production. The Skype pool of users sits at around 300 million.
TalkShow is a turnkey system building upon Microsoft’s Skype TX software for initiating, receiving, monitoring and managing video calls. Above those features, the TalkShow system adds a set of live production tools such as call recording not found in other systems of this kind.
“TalkShow and Skype TX allow producers to fundamentally change the way shows are made by taking audience participation to a whole new level,” said Dr. Andrew Cross, president and chief technology officer at NewTek. “Newsrooms with immediate access to experts the world over, fans interacting live with their favorite sports teams, game shows with live video participants, corporate meetings with live executives from remote offices, guest professors from across the globe appearing in classrooms — the potential is beyond the imagination and I personally can’t wait to see it.”
The low cost, 1RU integrated hardware and software solution is broadcast ready, offering two channels of HD-SDI I/O (1 in, 1 out), dual channel Ethernet connectivity, SDI-embedded audio and professional XLR audio support.
NewTek’s TalkShow is the only production system that enables broadcasters to manage all aspects of a live Skype video call in the control room like any other video source — whether it is before, during or after the call.
According to NewTek, producers can easily incorporate TalkShow into any live production or studio environment with:
• Broadcast-style video from regular Skype calls with automatic aspect ratio conversions and balanced audio, and without requiring a scan converter.
• Optimized on-air video: NewTek’s proprietary, real-time video processing engine incorporates superb scaling, format conversion, aspect, and color correction routines; limit return video resolution in order to prioritize quality of incoming call video.
• Built-in video quality checks: Failover to custom, still image when unforeseen bandwidth constraints occur below operator-defined preset value.
• SDI I/O: Output a live video call to any production switcher and input from router or any production source to send a return image back to remote caller over IP.
• Access to anyone with a Skype Account: Add to anyone else who downloads and signs up for the standard desktop client.
Unlike any other solution available, TalkShow is the only video calling production system to add:
• TriCaster Integration: Direct network integration via NewTek’s AirSendTM technology allows a TalkShow unit to supply a video call to TriCaster, and receive a return signal from TriCaster, without using SDI hardware connections, but using Ethernet instead. TriCaster will also send a tally notification downstream to TalkShow to indicate when a Skype call is on air.
• SDI Embedded Audio: Embedded SDI audio on input and output, reduces cabling requirements and providing added flexibility for integration into established workflows.
• Better Return Sound: With exclusive support for four channels of audio on input for signals coming into the system over the network or SDI, and either front or back pair selectable, operators can have more than one audio feed—such as mix-minus—available for use as the return audio back to the caller.
• Audio over IP: With fully integrated DanteTM audio support, TalkShow interfaces with other audio devices utilizing the Dante networking protocol from Audinate®.
In addition to sending and receiving audio over the network, and versatile audio source selection, TalkShow supports extensive management of network audio signals, including gain, equalization, compression, metering, and more.
• Talk Back: Operators, producers, or directors can speak with the caller as easily as they do with in-studio talent and crew, and prepare the caller, provide instructions, and relay additional information before they go to air.
• Color Correction: Outside the controlled studio environment, when lighting conditions or color characteristics are less than ideal, easily compensate with TalkShow. It’s the only solution to include NewTek’s fully configurable proc amp settings and auto color correction, so picture characteristics can be optimized dynamically in real-time—without requiring monitoring.
• Preview Monitoring: The promise of full-motion Skype calls should pay off with full-motion previews, so operators know exactly how the call is proceeding. Where other solutions may make you rely on video previews with a frame rate of approximately 5 frames per second, TalkShow supports full-motion, high-quality video previews for real-time monitoring of input and output signals.
• Tally Support: TalkShow is the only Skype TX solution to support a tally overlay visual for return to callers, indicating when they are on air. The tally overlay is customizable, allowing for a show logo or graphic of choice—not only to let callers know when their conversation is live, but to provide for additional branding opportunities for your program as well.
• Built-In Video Screen with Tally: TalkShow operators can view a full-color preview via the video screen built into the faceplate for instant recognition of the caller currently connected to that system, with tally support to indicate whether the caller is live or on standby—quick and easy verification of which TalkShow system is on air in a multi-system installation.
• Professional Audio Tools: Incoming and outgoing audio signals are fully configurable, with gain control, compressor/limiter, and 7-band equalizer on inputs and outputs to enhance sound quality, adjust levels for consistency, and prevent clipping or overdriving. TalkShow also includes VU meter displays that are configurable in all common professional audio scales, including dBFS, dBU, and dBVU, for accurate, real-time audio monitoring.
• Minimal Latency: TalkShow is optimized to provide the lowest latency when integrated into and genlocked within broadcast environments.
• Record and re-use: TalkShow enables full-bandwidth recording of any call onto external USB 3.0 or SAN storage with the click of a button—so you can capture the call while it’s happening, and use it in a later broadcast or a whole new program. Calls are saved as distinct QuickTime files that work with every major non-linear editor and all other NewTek systems for archive, postproduction, and playback.
• System Restore: TalkShow has a comprehensive restore function that allows the operator to undo system changes by returning to the factory default settings at any time.
TalkShow VS-100 is available at the introductory price of $3,995 US MSRP until March 31, 2015.
International pricing will vary.
For a complete overview of TalkShow, please visit http://www.newtek.com/products/talkshow.html.