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Capture Without a Card: Using NDI® with OBS

January 04, 2018 by Chuck Baker

YouTube content creator EposVox is producing a massive library of Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) Studio tutorials, and recently looked at how the NewTek NDI® plugin provides video input and output for OBS Studio over the network, bypassing the need for a capture card for streaming live PC game play.

In the video he demonstrates how to install the plugin and the required runtime library, and setting up both input and output of NDI streams for OBS Studio. He comes to this conclusion after noting the few simple steps required for each of these tasks:

And here’s the catch you’ve been waiting for…oh wait! There isn’t one. Yeah. That’s really it. It’s really that simple. No-capture-card streaming, and capture at very high quality with minimal latency and super-simple setup. Especially in the higher-level broadcasting world, NDI basically feels like magic. Try it yourself, there’s lots of neat uses for it - this is how I’m going to be streaming from my retro gaming setup, as well…

For many people, another NewTek NDI utility, NDI Scan Converter, can also be of use in setting up to stream your PC gameplay to a social video site such as Twitch. This free utility can send the video of the desktop, an application or window as an NDI stream to the network, with audio included for many system configurations.

For those who wish add a camera on the player and perhaps even one on the commentator, you can do that via the network as well, rather than resort to a capture card and dedicated video cables. You would use NewTek Connect Spark, which comes in HDMI-to-NDI and SDI-to-NDI flavors, to make your camera a network video source. You can place your camera and Spark anywhere you can put a network cable or reach your wireless network.


The steps an information in this video are still applicable, though NDI has seen several more generations of releases. There are many more options to use along with an NDI-enabled OBS these days, though.

First, there are many more NewTek Spark models than before, as well as many converters and encoders for NDI from other vendors. You can check out the Spark models at the link below, and they include from 1080p60 up through 4Kp60, for SDI and HDMI inputs.

There are also many improvements to the free software tools included in the NDI Tools pack, and a new tool that enables you to make the output of a webcam attached to a computer system available as an NDI stream - NDI Virtual Input. The link to the free NDI Tools Pack is also included below.

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