Newtek (of Tricaster fame) has just launched a product that everyone wishes they'd thought of first.
It's a single unit rack-mount device that will allow television stations to include Skype calls without all the variability, and sometimes impossibility, of Skype. (None of this is Skype's fault, but, rather is because the internet behaves like a dry leaf on a windy day: you never know what it's going to do next).
Called, appropriately, Talkshow, it hosts a Skype call with a remote interviewee, and, because it has an HDSDI input, is able to send the program output of the station to the remote participant; they can see the show and when they're on-air (there's also a Tally facility).
It deals with variability in several ways - optimising the video as far as possible. When the video drops out or below a pre-configured threshold of quality, the system will insert a still photograph while allowing the interview to continue with audio.
Importantly, Talkshow also deals with Aspect Ratio and Colour Balance.
There are also professional audio connectors and it's possible to record to local storage.
We wish we'd thought of this because we think every newsroom in the world will probably buy one!
Check out the full press release on Page Two!
Full Press Release
NewTek Unveils TalkShow: Video Calling Production System for Television Studios and Live Video Producers
New studio-grade system enables broadcasters and video producers to engage with millions of remote experts and guest commentators using live Skype video calls
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (PRWEB) September 12, 2014 - NewTek today unveiled TalkShow VS-100, a video calling production system designed specifically for television studios and live video producers. With TalkShow, any television or live video producer can easily reach 300 million monthly connected Skype users and incorporate them as guest speakers into live programs with full-frame Skype video calls. Attendees at the 2014 IBC Convention in Amsterdam from September 12-16 can be the first to see the new TalkShow system at the NewTek stand 7.K11.
The turnkey TalkShow system builds upon Skype TX software from Microsoft for initiating, receiving, monitoring and managing video calls, with a unique set of live production tools not found in other video calling systems. With TalkShow, users have access to customizable settings for full color correcting live video calls (including features for automatic color balancing) as well as SDI-embedded audio, and compressor/limiter, equalization, and adjustable head-room controls for further improving audio quality. These tools allow producers to deliver enhanced video/audio experiences that are critical when producing credible, high-quality broadcast programming and are simply not possible with standard desktop video messaging products. Additionally, producers using TalkShow with TriCaster multi-camera video production systems will be able to route Skype video calls directly to and from a TriCaster over a network connection without tying up an additional HD-SDI input.
Almost every live TV and video program includes a conversation between peoplewhether its a news or entertainment show, a sporting event, or even a corporate meeting, said Dr. Andrew Cross, president and CTO of NewTek. While theres been a growing trend to incorporate social mediasuch as live Twitter feedsdirectly into these programs, integrating a two-way dialogue over Skype dramatically shifts the experience to a more engaging and participatory event. TalkShow truly breaks down the fourth-wall in traditional live television. Its a fast, easy, low-cost way to reach anyone in any location with a simple Skype video call and to enrich program content with immediate access to the fresh perspective, analysis and opinions that only a guest speaker can deliver.
Angie Hill, general manager for Audience Marketing from Skype added, Skype TX is an important part of our offering to media, so were delighted to welcome NewTek to the Skype family. Were now able to bring new dimensions to broadcasters' productions and inspire a brand new generation of media moments.
TalkShow: Make, Receive, Monitor and Adjust Skype Video Calls
TalkShow is the only production system for live video calls that enables broadcasters to manage all aspects of a live Skype video call in the control room like any other video sourceand adjust the visual and audio quality of each call. The low cost, integrated hardware and software solution is broadcast ready, offering dual channel Ethernet connectivity, two channels (1 in, 1 out) of HD-SDI I/O that includes reference signal, professional XLR audio support, Tally support and more. The 1RU system allows producers to easily incorporate TalkShow into any live production or studio environment and:
Access anyone they can reach onlineincluding the rapidly growing audience of 300 million monthly connected Skype users worldwide, to include more expert analysis and perspective in their shows, without specialized networking tools, ENG clients or proprietary software to call into a live broadcast or event.
Transform any Skype video call initiated toor froma desktop, laptop, X-Box gaming system, Skype enabled TV, or mobile device into full-frame videowith automatic aspect ratio conversions and balanced audio. TalkShow operators can work free of audio/visual distractions such as secondary call notifications and advertisements.
Color balance video imageswith full proc-amp controls and automatic color correction to adjust image attributes for any lighting environment, enabling video calls with poor lighting and contrast to appear with far higher quality.
Deliver reliable broadcast audio signal qualitywith SDI-embedded audio, and built-in compressor/limiter tools that keep call volumes at consistent levels and prevent audio clipping. Additionally, producers who often wrestle with scratchy audio and nasal-like midrange tone that results from small telephonic microphones can adjust overall tonality and background noise of any Skype call using the onboard graphic equalizer.
Actively monitor live Skype video callswith full Tally support that allows operators to see when TalkShow Skype feeds are currently live in a program.
Easily manage multiple, simultaneous Skype callswithin a single, user-friendly interface that offers operator previews, continuous call quality monitoring, and automatic fallback to custom still images when unforeseen bandwidth constraints occur.
Pricing and Availability
The TalkShow VS-100 model is expected to ship in Q4 2014 and is available to order now at a special introductory price of $3,995 USMSRP, which will remain in effect through November 26, 2014. International pricing will vary.
NewTek is transforming the way people create network-style television content and share it with the world. From sporting events, Web-based talk shows, live entertainment, classrooms, and corporate communicationsto virtually any venue where people want to capture and publish live video, we give our customers the power to grow their audiences, brands and businesses, faster than ever before.
Clients include: The X Factor, New York Giants, NBA Development League, Fox News, BBC, NHL, Nickelodeon, CBS Radio, ESPN Radio, Fox Sports, MTV, TWiT.TV, USA TODAY, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and more than 80% of the U.S. Fortune 100.
NewTek is privately owned and based in San Antonio, Texas. For more information on NewTek, please visit: http://www.newtek.com, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr or connect with us on Facebook.