I've been doing some reading on NewTek's NDI protocol, and I have to say I'm pretty excited at the potential applications in the video world as a whole. It would be great to see NDI implemented as an input option in a future release. It seems a bit more robust then Spout and it looks like it will interface with more types of "pro" hardware.
We are hearing a lot about NDI lately, and the immediate question I always have is: given that it will never be better than live capture, is it still worth it? NDI will consume CPU and hardware resources and use compression to fit over a gigabit network cable. SDI based capture for example does not use CPU (Thanks to direct memory transfer to the GPU) so has a lower hardware overhead and much lower compression. (Not to mention latency).
So my question is; what do you want to do with it? What NDI sources would you like to use?
Good Questions, and with NDI still in its infancy its hard to say what all it could be used for. I recently had a need to send wireless video from a phone into the hippo for a "texting" section of a show that involved live audience interaction. After several attempts we ended up using an iPhone NDI app, but because the hippo doesn't use NDI natively we ended up having to go to a second computer and then capture into the hippo from there. I realize that a wireless phone camera is a fairly niche request, but it seems that NDI may have some other benefits as well. I could see using it similar to screen thief to capture a presenters laptop, but there are NDI screen capture applications available for Mac as well as windows, which is currently a bit of a limitation to screen thief. NewTek just announced that NDI will support 4K 60P, which I believe is higher resolution then any physical capture cards you currently offer. On the content creation side of things There is an NDI plugin for Adobe Creative Cloud, which I could see being very useful.
I understand what you are saying about it never being better than live capture, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how good the quality of the compression is, and how low the latency is. My initial tests have shown less than 1 frame of latency at 1920 X 1080 60 PFS over a gigabit network. While streaming video with full camera movement, I was topping out at around 1% in terms of CPU usage, and about 20 MB of Ram, so it seems to run fairly lean. By contrast Spout receiver seems to use around 1.5% of my CPU and closer to 40 MB of Ram for a 640X360 test image at 60 FPS.
Is it a feature I could see myself using all the time, probably not; however, given the rate that its gaining traction in the pro video market already, I feel that I would probably have more occasions to use NDI then I would Screen Thief, or Spout. Not that I don't think they both have merits as well, but NDI would be a nice additional option to have for ingesting IP based video.