Exciting new features in Broadcaster.VC

The journey continues for Broadcaster.VC! We've been busy adding exciting new features and improving the look and feel of our product.

The journey continues for Broadcaster.VC! Ever since our Release Candidate was launced in late 2021, we've been busy adding exciting new features and improving the look and feel of our product. There's a lot to cover, so let's dive in.

New Landing Page

Until today, if you stumbled upon the Broadcaster.VC landing page, you could be forgiven for feeling a bit puzzled. Admittedly, we'd been so focussed on developing the product that we hadn't realised we weren't really showcasing all that Broadcaster.VC has to offer.

That's changed with the new Broadcaster.VC landing page (note: you need to be logged out to see it). This is now a space that highlights what Broadcaster.VC is, who it is for, and all the things it can do.

Screenshot of the new Broadcaster.VC landing page
The new Broadcaster.VC landing page.

Take a tour of our new landing page to get a glimpse of Broadcaster.VC's coolest features, and if you haven't already, why not sign up for a free account?

Getting Started with a Free 7-Day Trial

We wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to get onboard and try Broadcaster.VC. We're now offering a free 7-day trial that gives you access to the full plan features, no credit card required. Simply sign up, select the plan that's right for you, and start the trial! We only put a limit on bandwidth usage and a watermark on videos.

At the end of your trial, if you've enjoyed using Broadcaster.VC (we think you will!), just add your card details in your Customer Portal and the full plan will start immediately.

Tagging

By default, each guest in a Broadcaster.VC room can view all streams shared by the other participants, like any typical videoconferencing service. However, there are times when you might not want all of your talent being able to see every other possible input stream available.

With our tagging solution you decide who sees whom: Simply create one or more tags and apply them to the streams in the room, then assign the relevant tags to your talent. This way, guests will only be able to see streams that match the tag they were assigned. Any changes you make to tags during a session are applied immediately, so you can give and revoke access to streams in real time.

Screenshot of a Broadcaster.VC room with a video stream and the new side panel
The new side panel lets the admin assign tags to users and change whether all streams should be available to all users.

How will you make use of tags for your events? The only limit is your imagination, but here are some suggestions:

Green Room

Imagine you're hosting an event that includes a series of back-to-back interviews with different talent. You might want all your interviewees in the room, so that they can get set up techincally, making sure video and sound are good, and so they're ready to jump in and go live when their turn comes. However, you don't want this to distract the ongoing interview. What you need is a Green Room to keep the talent that is getting ready separated from the live ones.

To do this in Broadcaster.VC, you just need to make sure the option to "Make streams visible to all users" is disabled and then create 2 tags, say "Live" and "Green Room". When talent joins the room, assign them the "Green Room" tag and apply the same tag to the streams they share. Apply the "Live" tag to the interviewer, the interviewees and their streams. The interviewer and interviewees can see each other, but they can't see what's going on in the Green Room. However, you can also assign the "Live" tag to the talent in the Green Room, so they can follow the interview and perhaps get ready to comment on what was said before.

When the next interviewee is due to go live, simply change the tag on their streams to "Live" and remove the "Green Room" tag from the user: They have now left the Green Room and are live on stage!

Additionally, you can make sure that only the streams that are live are converted to NDI streams in your network (more on this in a bit!).

A room with too many a view

In a simpler scenario, you might have a room with several guests, each sharing one or more screens and windows. Perhaps not all your talent need to see all the screen shares. To keep things tidy, create a tag (e.g. "Public"), assign it to all talent and apply it to the streams that everyone in the room should see, for example each person's webcam.

This way, whenever someone in the room shares a new stream, you, the admin, decide who will be able to see it. Read on to learn how to make sure which streams are made available in your local NDI network, regardless of their visibility inside the room.

Poker game

Here's a fun idea: You're hosting a cards game tournament with remote players! Each player shares 2 video feeds: a medium shot from their main camera or webcam and a close-up of their cards. Competing players need to see each other's faces, while each player's hand is obviously captured for the benefit of the live audience.

Again, simply apply a tag to the streams that need to be visible in the room (the players' faces) and assign it to each player. They won't be able to see each other's hands... and the game can begin!

NDI® Output Toggle

The ability to output NDI® streams to a local network has been Broadcaster.VC's bread and butter ever since its inception. In fact, it's pretty much the reason why we set out on this journey!

However, who says you always need all the streams in a room to be output as NDI? For example, a video engineer who's the admin of the room won't need their own webcam video among the NDI streams.

As we mentioned earlier, you might have set up a Green Room to welcome talent before going live, but prefer to bring only the live streams into your local network, and perhaps also the talent who is about to go live next. If you have many streams in the room, this can help you save on bandwidth and on you local connector's processing power (that's the machine you use to run the Broadcaster.VC Watcher Process in your local network, and that handles the conversion of WebRTC streams into NDI).

We've added an NDI output toggle on each stream inside a room to let the admin choose exactly which get output to the local network. As always, changes can be made during a live session and are applied right away.

Screenshot of the NDI Output toggle on a video stream
NDI Output toggle on a video stream.

‌By default, Broadcaster.VC enables NDI output on all streams in the room, but this can now be changed in the room settings or in the room's side panel. The change only affects newly added streams, so if you disable the toggle during a live session, we won't remove the existing streams from your local network.

Screenshot of the room settings page
Room settings now also allow you to change the default NDI output behaviour.

‌NDI® Input

We're building Broadcaster.VC to provide uncompromised quality and flexibility to media professionals. That's why we're now opening the doors to other forms of video input into a Broadcaster.VC room! This is definitely the biggest new feature we released since we launched and we're very excited to give you a new way to ingest media into a room, other than the browser: NDI Input.

The local connector can now pick any recently active NDI stream in your local network, and let you add it to a Broadcaster.VC room as an additional source. You can do so in the browser, either from the room settings page or directly within the room, during a live session.

Screenshot of the NDI Input selection dialog
NDI® Input selection dialog.

We support NDI, NDI HX and NDI HX2 streams, so for example you could stream the feed from an NDI camera at your event directly to your talent joining in a Broadcaster.VC room, to let them be part of the action. And we believe NDI Input is a great way to feed back the live edited video to your talent with ultra-low latency, so they always know when they're live and how the final result looks, in real time.

In the background, our NDI Input solution uses WHIP input, which is an upcoming standard for WebRTC streams ingestion. We're also working on opening up our media servers' WHIP endpoint to any WHIP-enabled hardware and software: This new feature will land very soon and will become freely available to all subscribers in an upcoming update.

In the meantime, if you're interested in learning more on WHIP, look no further than this in-depth presentation from Millicast.

New Video Grid Layout

We were amazed by the job done by the Matrix team on Element Call. Not only is it a great product, we immediately fell in love with the smooth user experience, so we decided to completely rebuild the way the Broadcaster.VC's client arranges streams in a room based on the Element Call open source project.

The result is a smarter tiles arrangement, smoother animations, and overall a better user experience and we can't wait for you to try it out!

New animations for drag and drop in the live session
New animations for drag and drop in the live session.

No Webcam? No Problem

The webcam video stream is no longer added automatically when the user joins a room. Instead, they're offered the option to add a video source, a screen share or an NDI input (room admin only), so they always have control on what they want to share.

A new devices selection dialog now shows a preview of the webcam video or screen share, to make sure everything looks great before showing up:

Screenshot of the new devices selection dialog with webcam preview
The new devices selection dialog with webcam preview.

Other Improvements

We've spent a lot of time refining the look and feel of Broadcaster.VC, fixing bugs and making under-the-hood improvements to make things work better and more reliably. Among other things, we've updated our UI to provide better contrast, especially with a dark theme and user-defined themes.

We're always looking to improve Broadcaster.VC, so if you run into any issue don't hesitate to get in touch!

That was a full bag of new features! We're very proud of the progress Broadcaster.VC is making and can't wait to see what you create with it! If you're interested in trying it for yourself, why not head over to broadcaster.vc? And if you'd like to learn more, have any questions or perhaps would like a demo, reach out to the team at [email protected].

More updates are coming soon, so stay tuned!

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