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Unexpectedly Handy Gadget: USB A-to-C Adapter

Stella &I have been carrying Google’s Pixel phones since their introduction. Each time we bought new phones they came with some accessories. The Pixel 6a we currently use didn’t come with power supplies, but they did ship with a USB-C cable and little USB A-to-C adapters.

Google USB-A to C adapter

In earlier times we needed an A-to-C adapter to facilitate migration from the older phone to new model. Thereafter the wee widgets collected in a junk drawer. That is until recently. I’ve stumbled upon some uses for them.

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Further Adventures Exploring BirdDog NDI TV Monitor for Android

My initial experiment with BirdDog NDI TV Monitor for Android on the Tivo Stream 4K turned in less than stellar results, but it did generate some interest amongst NDI users online. I accept that the Tivo device is a somewhat vintage host platform.

Chromecast 4k White

One person mentioned that Birddog had presented the application at NAB 2023 running on a current generation of Chromecast. I haven’t had a Chromecast since it was first introduced. It certainly is the definitive Android TV device. So, I bought a brand new Chromecast with Google TV. The very latest version capable of 4K & HDR.

This latest Chromecast has only two connectors: HDMI for connection to the TV, and USB-C for power.

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Exploring BirdDog NDI TV Monitor for Android

Birddog, the Australian purveyor of NDI products, recently introduced an application that allows display of an NDI stream on an Android TV. As along-time fan and user of NDI, I was curious to try this on devices around our home and office.

androidTVapp

Google’s Play Store informed me that the application would not load to my Pixel 6a mobile phone. We don’t have an Android powered TV. So, I loaded BirdDog NDI TV Monitor to a Tivo Stream 4K, which is basically a branded Android TV stick.

The free 25 MB application loaded quickly, appearing in the menu of available apps. Selecting the application, it scanned the local network for NDI sources, presenting a list of options. Thinking ahead, I had both vMix and NDI Test Pattern running on my desktop.

Selecting one of those sources, it immediately appeared on the TV. Alas, the image carried a very busy watermark. It was useful enough for confirming presence of picture, but useless for anything serious.

NDI TV Monitor for Android

There are precious few details about the app in the Play Store (pictured above.) What little is there describes it as “…free to receive and view direct BirdDog sources, with in-app purchase options for other NDI sources.”

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My Take – Using your mobile camera as a webcam

A couple of weeks back Chris Kranky offered a post where he explored this topic in some detail. It’s a good idea. Well worth exploring since common, and especially built-in webcams, are so bad. He tried a handful of iOS and Android apps on various handsets. It was a good experimental series.

I’d like to add a slightly different take, using a couple of additional apps that have crossed my path. In particular, I’d like to highlight NDI as a technology that’s very useful in this application.

What is NDI?

According to Newtek:

“NDI® (Network Device Interface) is a low latency IP video protocol developed especially for professional live video production, and is supported by an extensive list of broadcast systems from many manufacturers.”

NDI Camera

Newtek has offered two different NDI Camera apps. The original (no longer offered) which I bought for around $20, leverages full-bandwidth NDI. Full-bandwidth NDI offers the best image quality, and lowest latency, but requires massive bandwidth. It can work very well used when on a robust Wi-Fi network.

NDI Camera Julio

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Birddog Redefines NDI-to-HDMI on the cheap

A little over two years ago, I surveyed the various tools that could be used to display an NDI stream on a monitor or projector. In staging Cluecon 2018 I had used a couple of Lenovo M73 Tiny computers running Windows and Newtek Studio Monitor. There were other options, but the most accessible dedicated hardware solution was the Birddog Mini, which cost around $500.

That post has proven to be quite popular. In fact, it needs to be revisited in the light the latest announcements from Birddog, which happened just this week. Newtek’s launch of NDI 5 allowed Birddog to announce a set of new products and services, including Birddog Play.

Birddog Play is a small dedicated hardware device designed to allow playback of an NDI stream at a monitor or projector. It ticks literally every box I can think of. And it does it for just $150 USD!

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Videomaker Reviews the NewTek NDI HX-PTZ1 Camera

Not long ago I openly admitted that I wear the rants in the family. This goes along those lines. It was inspired by the Chris Monlux’s review of the NewTek NDI HX-PTZ1 Camera published January 14th by Videomaker Magazine. I found this review to be deeply disappointing, and I’d like to tell you why.

First, take the time to read their review. I’ll wait. And you need the context.

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