NewTek Ships Skype Production System

To help news organizations and other producers more easily integrated live Skype calls from journalists and contributors into live television programming, NewTek has started shipping its TalkShow VS-100.

The video calling production system, which was first announced at IBC, is designed to help studios and live video producers manage video feeds from Skype users inside their normal broadcast and studio infrastructures.

In the past, these IP feeds had to be managed separately or brought into the broadcast production system with customized interfaces. Producers also had limited tools for managing these feeds and there were a number of quality issues.

“TalkShow and Skype TX allow producers to fundamentally change the way shows are made by taking audience participation to a whole new level,” said Dr. Andrew Cross, president and chief technology officer at NewTek, in a statement. “Newsrooms with immediate access to experts the world over, fans interacting live with their favorite sports teams, game shows with live video participants, corporate meetings with live executives from remote offices, guest professors from across the globe appearing in classrooms – the potential is beyond the imagination and I personally can’t wait to see it.”

The system builds on the efforts Microsoft has been making since NAB of 2014 to provide tools for using Skype in professional broadcast settings.

The TalkShow system uses Skype TX software from Microsoft for initiating, receiving, monitoring and managing video calls.

It also includes additional tools for call recording and other features to provide higher quality video and audio than is typically available with consumer Skype feeds.

TalkShow comes as a hardware and software package in a 1RU devices that offers two channels of HD-SDI I/O (1 in, 1 out), dual channel Ethernet connectivity, SDI-embedded audio and professional XLR audio support.

Other notable features include SDI embedded audio; improved return audio; audio over IP; talk-back systems for producers to speak with talent; color correction; preview monitoring; tally support; professional audio tools; and reduced latency.

The unit is priced at an introductory price of $3,995 until March 31, 2015.