NewTek have just announced a new entry level TriCaster model, the TriCaster 40. First glimpsed at the Broadcast & Cable expo last week, the TriCaster 40 is a 14 channel, SD/HD- capable replacement for the recently obsoleted TriCaster Studio, coming in at just $4995 ex VAT and fitting an impressive amount of functionality into a desktop form factor.
The key thing about TriCaster 40, as ever, is that it lets you capture a live HD feed and share it online in realtime and on a relatively low budget. This model captures your content to internal memory or can stream it directly to the web as a QuickTime or web-ready H.264 file. The TriCaster 40 includes a 14 channel production switcher, and can support up to four cameras, two AirPlay feeds, and four virtual inputs over VGA, so it’s a safe bet for anyone who needs multicam HD content with minimal outlay, very little setup time and a system simple enough to be operated by a one-man band.
Like the larger models, the 40 includes a dedicated DDR and two graphics players, which you can use to add titles, captions, backdrops, stills and transitions. TriCaster 40 doesn’t include the Live Text add-on, but the standalone version of the software can be run from a separate PC, so you can still incorporate any Live Text assets you have into your production.
There’s also a dedicated audio mixer, which can be controlled via a free iPad app – probably more fun than trying to fit several people around the control surface at once – and a redesigned control surface that costs $1995 and removes all the features that aren’t included in the TriCaster 40, so the technology doesn’t get in the way of you mixing effectively.
The main downside to all this is, obviously, the lack of SDI and NewTek’s insistence on analogue-only inputs. However, Jigsaw24 Video Consultant James Graham reckons there is some method behind the analogue madness. “HDMI seems like a smarter choice until you discover the latency and processing involved in HDMI inputs,” he explains. “HDMI input opens the door for users to mix loads of random kit with variable latencies, causing tech support nightmares and ending with lots of fingers pointed in NewTek’s direction. Analogue cuts through the latency issue, is compatible with older hardware and, these days, makes it more likely that entry level and non-professional users who are buying their setup from scratch will opt for matching sets of cameras. It looks like an odd call on the surface, but I don’t think it’s a bad one – if you’re in a position where you need HD-SDI, you’re probably in a position where you need the TriCaster 455 anyway.”
Is it for me?
Well, multicam HD for under £5K is nothing to be sniffed at by anyone’s standard. If you’re an educator, webcaster or looking for AV solutions for somewhere like a church or community centre, the simplicity of the TriCaster 40 will definitely help you get things off the ground quickly, and the fact that you can bump your footage up to HD resolution and add professional-looking graphics makes it one of the easiest ways to create professional-looking content. (If you’re working with students or youth groups, it’s also easy to assign plenty of roles and make sure everyone has the chance to be involved.)
On the pro side of things, this is a great starter kit for anyone who’s thinking of going into live streaming from another field, and wants a setup to get them started on smaller jobs. The desktop form factor and relatively low setup time mean that it’s ideal for events work, as you can pretty much pull everything out of the box and go.
However, if you’re looking for something scalable that you can whack in the rack with your other gear and just keep adding cameras to as your business grows, the TriCaster 40 isn’t going to be a good fit. It’s also not suitable for jobs where you’ll be required to deliver multiple formats simultaneously or be asked to create custom graphics and transitions – for that level of work you’d want to consider the TriCaster 455 or TriCaster 855.
When can I get it?
It ships today! We’ll keep you posted as to availability, but you can get your order in on our site, by calling 03332 409 306 or by emailing broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. To keep up with the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page.