A popular appliance at Duke, the Vaddio AV Bridge, has received a recent firmware revision we applied to a few units and tested out today. The unit is an interesting piece that basically grabs various video signals (HDMI, Component, VGA, or SDI) and converts them to USB. Essentially this lets you take high performance cameras with professional output signals and use them with software that likes USB cameras (e.g. Skype).
Beyond this simple functionality as HDMI/SDI/Component/VGA to USB converter, Vaddio promised the functionality standalone encoding for web streams that did not come with the early firmware release. We installed that update today.
Todd Stabley and I spend about an hour exploring the functionality and it’s interaction with various delivery services. The unit allows for RTSP and HTTP Live Streaming (HLS). We were able to get RTSP working with the Wowza server and think that for overflow events where this appliance is located, it could be a viable option for capture and delivery. HLS being faily new to the industry, did no play so well. While this expanded functionality is very nice, there were limitations. The main issue was latency, the encoder has an obvious delay of 3-5 seconds in RTSP and a whopping 10 seconds in HLS. This would make it difficult to use in any environment where near real time encoding is needed, such as a live shot, conversational situation, or displays fed in the same room as the presentation. The quality was also a little bit rough. We noticed very obvious seams between the GOPs that appeared as weak pulse every time we received a new I-frame.
However, despite the latency and quality this features is definitely a welcome edition to a product at its price point. The feature will definitely allow some level of utility in “getting video from here to there”.