DeckLink Quad: the little PCIe card that could?
Why so few apps to make the Decklink Quad card reach its potential?
By Allan Tépper | June 20, 2013
The DeckLink Quad card from Blackmagic reminds me of two pop culture titles: The Little Engine that could and Rebel without a cause. In this case, the adjusted titles would be The little DeckLink PCIe that could and Rebel PCIe card without an app. Of course, it is not that the DeckLink Quad card doesn’t work, or that there aren’t any compatible apps; quite to the contrary. It’s that so far, there are so few apps that to my knowledge take full advantage of the DeckLink Quad’s unique feature.
What’s so unique about the DeckLink Quad card?
There are certainly other cards on the market with four individual HD-SDI inputs, including two from Matrox (the Matrox Multi-Ingest and the Matrox VS4) which I covered recently, and the Osprey 845e (which I’ll be covering very soon). However, to my knowledge, the DeckLink Quad is the only one on the market with four independently assignable HD-SDI outputs (in addition to the inputs).
What are the few apps that support the four independently assignable HD-SDI outputs of the DeckLink Quad?
Despite Blackmagic’s offer of an advanced developer SDK (software developer kit) free of charge for Mac, Windows and Linux, I am very surprised that I have had such a hard time finding out which app(s) support the four independently assignable HD-SDI outputs of the DeckLink Quad. There are a few apps on the DeckLink software page that would likely do it (especially the ones in the category of Broadcast Automation, which could potentially handle play-out for up to four independent TV channels simultaneously). However, I am still waiting after weeks after inquiring and still haven’t received a straight answer about which ones actually do. Beyond that category, I am disappointed that WireCast (Pro) still doesn’t either allow for independently assigning them. With WireCast and WireCast Pro’s current versions, the HD-SDI outputs of the DeckLink Quad are limited to being loop-throughs of the inputs. That’s not bad, but it’s not nearly as useful as it could be. As I hear about apps that positively do support the four independently assignable HD-SDI outputs of the DeckLink Quad, I’ll either update this article or publish another.
Cards that are likely to require a Thunderbolt expansion chassis
All of these quad cards (Blackmagic DeckLink Quad, Matrox Multi-Ingest + the Matrox VS4, and Osprey 845e) are likely to require a Thunderbolt expansion chassis like the ones I covered in this recent article if not used in a tower computer, since presently, there is no such standalone Thunderbolt box with four HD-SDI inputs (all of these cards) or four outputs (only the DeckLink Quad).
Unique BNC connections on the DeckLink Quad
Since the DeckLink Quad packs nine connectors in the space of a single PCIe card (eight for HD-SDI, one for genlock), standard BNCs couldn’t be used. Instead, the DeckLink Quad uses a much less known (and much more compact) connector type for each, which are called DIN 1.0/2.3 connectors. Fortunately there are adapter cables on the market from at least two manufacturers to go to standard BNC, and they are available in many different lengths. Just inquire when you design your system.
If you have (or plan to use) an app that is appropriate to these quad features and doesn’t currently do so (either in the input or the output), petition the software developer to add support for it. In many cases, the DeckLink Quad will already work (although incompletely) with your desired app, and the complete Quad capability can come later via a software update.
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In English, it is currently available in the following Amazon stores, depending upon your region:
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En castellano, está disponible actualmente en las siguientes tiendas Amazon, según tu región:
- Amazon.com (todas las Américas y la República de la India)
- Amazon.co.jp (Japón)
- Amazon.co.uk (Reino Unido)
- Amazon.de (Alemania)
- Amazon.es (España)
- Amazon.fr (Francia)
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Si vas a comprar un libro Kindle como regalo, debes hacerlo vía la tienda panamericana de Amazon (la primera de la lista) sin importar donde vivas tú o donde viva la persona que recibirá el regalo.
Allan Tépper’s books, consulting, articles, seminars & audio programsContact Allan Tépper for consulting, or find a full listing of his books, articles and upcoming seminars and webinars at AllanTepper.com. Listen to his TecnoTur program, which is now available both in Castilian (aka "Spanish") and in English, free of charge. Search for TecnoTur in iTunes or visit TecnoTur.us for more information.
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