Article Overview

NewTek Unveils TalkShow

Video Calling Production System for Television Studios and Live Video Producers and Integration with Vizrt Broadcast Graphics

NewTek™ unveiled TalkShow™ VS-100, a video calling production system designed specifically for television studios and live video producers. With TalkShow, any television or live video producer can easily reach 300 million monthly connected Skype users and incorporate them as guest speakers into live programs with full-frame Skype video calls.


The turnkey TalkShow system builds upon Skype TX software from Microsoft for initiating, receiving, monitoring and managing video calls, with a unique set of live production tools not found in other video calling systems. With TalkShow, users have access to customizable settings for fully color correcting live video calls (including features for automatic color balancing) as well as SDI-embedded audio, and compressor/limiter, equalization, and adjustable head-room controls for further improving audio quality. These tools allow producers to deliver enhanced video/audio experiences that are critical when producing credible, high-quality broadcast programming and are simply not possible with standard desktop video messaging products. Additionally, producers using TalkShow with TriCaster multi-camera video production systems will be able to route Skype video calls directly to and from a TriCaster over a network connection without tying up an additional HD-SDI input.

“Almost every live TV and video program includes a conversation between people—whether it’s a news or entertainment show, a sporting event, or even a corporate meeting,” said Dr. Andrew Cross, president and CTO of NewTek. “While there’s been a growing trend to incorporate social media—such as live Twitter feeds—directly into these programs, integrating a two-way dialogue over Skype dramatically shifts the experience to a more engaging and participatory event. TalkShow truly breaks down the fourth-wall in traditional live television. It’s a fast, easy, low-cost way to reach anyone in any location with a simple Skype video call and to enrich program content with immediate access to the fresh perspective, analysis and opinions that only a guest speaker can deliver.”


Angie Hill, general manager for Audience Marketing from Skype added, “Skype TX is an important part of our offering to media so we’re delighted to welcome NewTek to the Skype family. We’re now able to bring new dimensions to broadcaster’s productions and inspire a brand new generation of media moments.” 

TalkShow: Make, Receive, Monitor and Adjust Skype Video Calls 
TalkShow is the only production system for live video calls that enables broadcasters to manage all aspects of a live Skype video call in the control room like any other video source—and adjust the visual and audio quality of each call. The low cost, integrated hardware and software solution is broadcast ready, offering dual channel Ethernet connectivity, two channels (1 in, 1 out) of HD-SDI I/O that includes reference signal, professional XLR audio support, Tally support and more. The 1RU system allows producers to easily incorporate TalkShow into any live production or studio environment and:

Access anyone they can reach online—including the rapidly growing audience of 300 million monthly connected Skype users worldwide, to include more expert analysis and perspective in their shows, without specialized networking tools, ENG clients or proprietary software to call into a live broadcast or event. 

Transform any Skype video call initiated to—or from—a desktop, laptop, X-Box gaming system, Skype enabled TV, or mobile device into full-frame video—with automatic aspect ratio conversions and balanced audio. TalkShow operators can work free of audio/visual distractions such as secondary call notifications and advertisements. 

Color balance video images—with full proc-amp controls and automatic color correction to adjust image attributes for any lighting environment, enabling video calls with poor lighting and contrast to appear with far higher quality. 

Deliver reliable broadcast audio signal quality—with SDI-embedded audio, and built-in compressor/limiter tools that keep call volumes at consistent levels and prevent audio clipping. Additionally, producers who often wrestle with scratchy audio and nasal-like midrange tone that results from small telephonic microphones can adjust overall tonality and background noise of any Skype call using the onboard graphic equalizer.


Actively monitor live Skype video calls—with full Tally support that allows operators to see when TalkShow Skype feeds are currently live in a program. 

Easily manage multiple, simultaneous Skype calls—within a single, user-friendly interface that offers operator previews, continuous call quality monitoring, and automatic fallback to custom still images when unforeseen bandwidth constraints occur.

Vizrt integration with TalkShow

Vizrt’s Viz One MAM system records feeds from TalkShow, while the Viz Opus control room system routes TalkShow’s Skype feeds live on-air. In the newsroom producers can choose which Skype feed to use in a broadcast using templates in Viz Pilot. Viz Engine displays the live feed as a SDI signal or IP stream with real-time graphics overlays.


“For years our customers have tried to use Skype video as a flexible way to get live video content from reporters, experts and audience as an integral part of the shows they produce,” said Petter Ole Jakobsen, Vizrt CTO. “As a result of the great collaboration between NewTek and our development team, we now have an easy workflow that frees the media to take live calls from anyone anywhere.”


“TalkShow changes the game for broadcasters who want to include live Skype video calls in their shows by allowing them to manage all aspects of the live video like any other video source,” said Dr. Andrew Cross, president and CTO of NewTek. “By working with Vizrt we’re providing a more seamless workflow for broadcasters to integrate stunning graphics within a Skype video call, and an easy way to manage and store recorded video call files.”

About Vizrt:
Vizrt provides real-time 3D graphics, studio automation, sports analysis and asset management tools for the broadcast industry - interactive and virtual solutions, animations, maps, weather, video editing and compositing tools. Vizrt's products are used by the world's leading broadcasters, including: CNN, CBS, Fox, the BBC, BSkyB, Al Jazeera, ITN, ZDF, Star TV, Network 18, TV Today, CCTV, and NHK. Furthermore, many world-class production houses and corporate institutions such as the London Stock Exchange use Vizrt systems.


About NewTek:
NewTek is transforming the way people create network-style television content and share it with the world. From sporting events, Web-based talk shows, live entertainment, classrooms, and corporate communications—to virtually any venue where people want to capture and publish live video, we give our customers the power to grow their audiences, brands and businesses, faster than ever before.
Clients include: “The X Factor,” New York Giants, NBA Development League, Fox News, BBC, NHL, Nickelodeon, CBS Radio, ESPN Radio, Fox Sports, MTV, TWiT.TV, USA TODAY, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and more than 80% of the U.S. Fortune 100.