Upcoming Industry Conferences
Streaming Media West [19-20 November 2019]
Live Streaming Summit [19 November 2019]
Past Conferences
Streaming Media East 2019 [7-8 May 2019]
Live Streaming Summit [7-8 May 2019]
Content Delivery Summit [6 May 2019]
Streaming Forum [26 February 2019]

Review: ViewCast Niagara GoStream
If you’re looking for a compact, portable, reliable webcasting unit, you should seriously consider the GoStream. It’s tough enough to take whatever you can throw at it, and very attractive at its price point. It’s got a few weak spots,but it’s as idiot- and bulletproof as can be.
Fri., April 26, by Steve Mack

The first time I saw ViewCast’s Niagara GoStream was at the 2006 Streaming Media West show. It’s a small, rugged, self-contained webcasting unit that’s designed to be as idiot- and bul-letproof as possible, housed in a bright blue anodized case the size of a shoebox, with a backlit blue LCD screen display. ViewCast sure knows how to package webcasting gear. One look at the professional-grade XLR audio and BNC video connectors on the back and I knew I had to take this baby out for a spin.

The GoStream essentially combines an Osprey 230 card with the Niagara user interface to allow simple configuration and encoding to Windows Media, Real, and Flash formats. Administration is done through a browser interface or via buttons on the front of the unit. Although you can manage the GoStream completely via the buttons on the front, in practice you’ll probably use the browser interface to set your unit up, as the size of the display on the front limits its usability. However, if you’re just tweaking a network setting or want to check the status of the unit, this small interface comes in mighty handy.

Once the unit has been set up, you can start a webcast by pushing a single button. You can assign different templates to the large buttons on the front of the unit, making it easy to stop and start your favorite encoding profiles. There’s also audio metering and a headphone jack on the front of the unit, along with two USB ports and a dock for plugging in your iPod or Creative Zen in for file transfer.

As shown in Figure 1, the back of the unit has the aforementioned XLR and BNC con-nectors, as well as an S-Video connector, unbalanced audio RCA connectors, two Ethernet ports (10/100 and 1GB), and standard keyboard, mouse, and monitor connections. There’s also the Flex-dock, which is used when rack-mounting multiple units and when using the optional GoPack.

Figure 1 (below). The back of the GoStream has XLR and BNC connec-tors, as well as an S-Video connector, unbalanced audio RCA connectors, two Ethernet ports (10/100 and 1GB), and standard keyboard, mouse, and monitor connections. There’s also the Flex-dock, which is used when rackmounting multiple units and when using the optional GoPack.

Figure 1

There are two power options, a standard IEC connector for wall power and a 14 V DC connec-tion. The GoStream was designed to be an ultra-portable appliance, so it also runs off battery power, specifically Anton/Bauer Dionic Lithium-ion batteries. This is a pretty shrewd move, as anyone who is serious about broadcast portability will most likely already have a number of these batteries lying around. If not, they’re readily available from A/V rental houses.

You can either use a browser on another machine or hook up a keyboard, mouse, and monitor directly to the unit to use the graphic user interface. Type in the IP address of the GoStream (which is displayed on the front display) into a browser, and you’re presented with the login screen. If you’re plugged directly into the GoStream, just double-click on the Internet Explorer icon on the desktop. After you enter a user name and password, the GoStream interface is dis-played, offering menus for encoders, configuration options, and machine status.