NewTek HD/SD Tricaster Puts HD Truck in a Backpack

By Carl Lindemann

While some flounder with the proliferation and fragmentation of media, others have flourished using enabling technologies like NewTek’s “studio in a box” TriCaster. At NAB 2009, the company unveiled the forthcoming TriCaster XD300, an SD/HD upgrade with a wealth of new features and functionalities opening the door to low-cost portable HD production. For sports apps, having this alongside the company’s new 3Play multichannel HD/SD slow-motion replay system adds this crucial fan favorite.

Building on a wealth of experience of TriCaster use in college sports and entertainment, the XD300 combines live switching, integrated live streaming, virtual sets and multiple effects layers. According to Philip Nelson, NewTek’s SVP Strategic Development, the HD upgrade also has a significant improvement in graphics as well as a streamlined workflow.

“The XD300 makes it easy to organize a production and cycle through it. We’ve got capabilities that normally take five to 10 people to operate that now just takes one to three people. That means we had to automate lots of features,” Nelson said.

For Nelson, the magic mix is not just bringing together performance at a price, but also making it very easy to use. “We have to be powerful enough for professional broadcasters, yet easy enough for a fifth grader to operate.”

That’s a tall order, especially with an anticipated price of $15,000 when the final production models are expected to ship in the fourth quarter.

The 3Play takes the Tricaster’s ease-of-use into a box that gives slow-motion, multi-angle instant replay. The unit’s three-channel HD capabilities, 20 hours of video storage, and simplified workflow takes basic live sports production to a professional level. The HD native version (that also supports NTSC SD) is available now at $22000. A multiformat version goes for $25,000.