Send any Trigger to external Systems/APIs

For cases, where NDI tally flag trigger or ATEM/vMix remote connections cant be used, you can setup a custom trigger at any given point.

Send trigger as TCP command

If your receiving side is able to understand any custom TCP command, you would setup the remote connection like this:

  1. Setup and activate the Connection in the settings via “Remote Connections > Outgoing > TCP Custom”.
  2. You would then create a new Overlay of type “Remote Control” and insert your custom TCP command there.
  3. You would then add the Overlay to any point in the Playlist, e.g. on Clip 1 of a new Block via “Right Click Clip > Overlays”.

As a result the TCP command will be send at the given time in the playlist.

Send trigger as custom API command, e.g. AMP

If your receiving side is a custom API or needs special formatting, you would need to setup your own script for this:

  1. Create a new Overlay of type “WEB / HTML” and click on “Use Sample”.
  2. You would then add the Overlay to any point in the Playlist, e.g. on Clip 1 of a new Block via “Right Click Clip > Overlays”.
  3. Modify the Sample (or duplicate it) to send a command via your prefered API. You might need to use a websocket for this.

You might also want to extend the “runtime” of the script to the whole playlist and react on the playback status within the script, instead of starting the script on seperate blocks/clips.

As a result, you can send any custom command to any client in the network.

Send trigger via COM / Closed Circuit (TTL) hardware

In this case, you would need to send a trigger directly via cable, instead of software/network. For this you could setup like this:

  1. Buy any commercial USB to TTL adapter to simulate a COM port
  2. Create a new Overlay of type “WEB / HTML” and click on “Use Sample”.
  3. You would then add the Overlay to any point in the Playlist, e.g. on Clip 1 of a new Block via “Right Click Clip > Overlays”.
  4. Modify the Sample (or duplicate it) to send a “RX character” to the COM port. You might need to use a websocket for this.

vMix: Send/Receive Video

The best way to connect vMix with PLAYDECK (both ways) is NDI. Multichannel Audio is supported.

Send Video from vMix to PLAYDECK

You only need to activate NDI as External Output like this:

Send Video from PLAYDECK to vMix

Activate NDI Output in PLAYDECK and add the NDI as new Source in vMix likes this:

OBS Studio: Send/Receive Video

The best way to connect OBS with PLAYDECK (both ways) is NDI. Multichannel Audio is supported.

OBS doesnt deliver NDI out of the box. You need to install an additional PlugIn, which is a quick and easy process:

  1. Download PlugIn HERE (Select “obs-ndi…..Windows-Installer.exe”)
  2. Close OBS and install the PlugIn like any other Windows App

Send Video from OBS to PLAYDECK

The NDI PlugIn inserts a new Option into the Tools Menu. Pick NDI Output and activate it:

Send Video from PLAYDECK to OBS

Activate NDI Output in PLAYDECK. The OBS NDI PlugIn inserts a new NDI Source, which you can add to your OBS Scene like this:

Stuttering Playout, Dropped Frames, Glitches

If you experience stuttering video or audio, or even small glitches during the playout, you find here some ideas to lookout for. Most likely this happens, because the system is not able to deliver the video frames fast enough for the decoding process of PLAYDECK. This mostly results in hearable stuttering of audio. If its glitches here and there, but the file runs smooth otherwise, something is interfering with the playout process, causing a bottleneck.

Quickstart: Symptoms and Fix

Please note, that if you see glitches in the PREVIEW, it doesnt mean that there are glitches in the Playout.

Constant Stuttering in Audio Output
This is a clear indicator of a system overload. Use common video codecs (H.264). Use a decent NVIDIA GPU. Avoid transcoding. Avoid HTML/Overlays. Disable Channel names in Previews. Reduce resolution. Use a dedicated SDI output card (e.g. Decklink).

Frame Drops on start playing a new Clip, otherwise ok
This indicates a bottleneck from HDD or GPU or CPU. Use SDD. Disable any form of HDD/SDD sleep. Set energy settings to maxium performance. Use lates NVIDIA driver. Play files locally instead of network or NAS. Check for possible overheating problem of GPU. Disable CPU sleep/parking (pref. on Notebooks)

Some glitches here and there, otherwise ok
There is something external interfering with the decoding process. Close all Apps, especially Broswer, or any App that has access to the GPU. Disable Anti-Virus. Check for GPU/CPU peaks in Task Manager.

Find more detailed approaches down below:

Clip as Bottleneck (DNxHD 185x, HAP or ProRes Codec + MXF files)

ProRes unfortunately is not well suited for playback on Windows-based systems. This is because Apple does not provide Windows-optimized codecs. DNxHD 185x, HAP Codecs or MXF files cant be decoded via GPU and are forced to be decoded on the CPU.

In both cases, we recommend switching to H.264 or H.265 instead. For Alpha we recommend HAP. We also recommend to use clips with the same resolution and framerate as the PLAYDECK playlist setting to avoid transcoding.

Harddisk/Network as Bottleneck

Please make sure, that the data rate of your clips can be transferred flawlessly through your system. if your clips run over the network, test them on your local harddisk.

In PLAYDECK under Workflow -> Advanced Settings, disable “Anti HDD Sleep Mechanics” and “Automatic file check and clip reloading”.

Edit your Windows Power Options and disable any HDD sleep mechanics.

GPU as Bottleneck

Since all rendering and decoding processes of PLAYDECK are executed on the GPU, a powerful graphics card is indispensable. PLAYDECK has been developed for NVIDIA graphic cards. It is very unlikely, that you get a good performance out of the CPU alone.

Also make sure, that your NVIDIA is the default graphics adapter in the system. You may have an Intel Onboard GPU. In this case, open the NVIDIA Control Panel, select “Manage 3D settings”. In the “Global Settings” Tab you set “Preferred graphics processor” to “High-performance NVIDIA processor”.

Please always use the latest NVIDIA driver.

CPU as Bottleneck

Lets assume, you have a powerfull GPU and the CPU usage % in PLAYDECK isnt rising above 70%. This still does not mean, that your CPU isnt clipping. It could be, that not all CPU cores are used.

Watch your CPU cores carefully in the task manager, while playing the glitching clip. Maybe one CPU core is clipped at 100%, while other cores are barely being used. This phenomenon is called “CPU parking”. Check, if the CPU usage goes UP, if you DONT play any clips. This indicates, that the CPU cores are been parked, because there is less activity. Here is some information on how to proceed:
https://ostoday.org/windows/how-to-unpark-cores-windows-10.html

Watch out for specific processes in the task manager, which have sudden CPU spikes and disable those processes. One known process is “Antimalware Service Executable”, which is the Windows Defender:
https://blog.emsisoft.com/en/28620/antimalware-service-executable/

Also check the energy settings and make sure, that everything is set to “High performance”.

Decklink (or other) Ouput card as Bottleneck

Since the frame rate control is handed over to the decklink device, once it has been activated, the device itself may cause the glitch and not the system. There are some cases, where customers had installed the decklink to a shared PCI slot, where bandwidth would be reduced. We recommend switching the production format to PAL for testing purposes and watch, if the glitches still appear. You could even deactivate the decklink completly and do a testrun.

Please also use the latest driver for your hardware. Some hardware even require you to apply firmware updates.

Other Apps as bottleneck

Other applications may use the harddisk, or network, or GPU/CPU. This may not be recognized as GPU/CPU peak, because the app produces only a very short burst/bottleneck. This is harder to detect. Especially if your clips run smooth most of the time and sometimes/rarely glitch or drop only few frames.

Disable any other applications, that might interfere with the clips you are playing. This would most likely to be Anti-Virus/Malware software.

Also try to create a new user within Windows and start PLAYDECK with the user, who has no administration rights. This might block other apps from interfering.

Other Hardware related bottlenecks

Sometimes you might not even realize, that even the power unit of a system can bottleneck the playout. This is especially true, even you use a powerfull graphics card and another playout card (e.g. Decklink), but only provide, lets say only 600W power, which most certainly isnt enough and would cause the graphics card to cause stuttering (especially on the start of the clip, when power is drawn).

If using several video adapters, a good airflow is also very important to prevent overheating of components, which most likely result in glitches happening more later than sooner.

You can use this Bottleneck Tester to see, if any of your components is underperforming:
https://pc-builds.com/calculator/

Remote Control Playlist 2 via Playlist 1 events

Sometimes the SYNC feature isnt enough to have simultaneous playback and the operator wants to setup more complex ways of automation between the playlists. This can be done by setting PLAYDECK to remote control itself.

Configure PLAYDECK for Internal Remote Control

First, you want to setup PLAYDECK to receive and transmit TCP commands to itself like this:

Sending Commands to anywhere in PLAYDECK via Overlays

To send a Command, you want to create a new “Remote Control” Overlay. You can now add one of the Custom Commands, that will be recognized by PLAYDECK. Basically you can CUE and PLAY clips, start Actions, etc..

Example: <cueandplay|2|1|1>
This will instantly play Playlist 2, Block 1, Clip 1.

A complete list of all commands can be found within PLAYDECK:
Settings > Remote Connections > Incoming > TCP Commands > Show Commands

Your overlay will look something like this:

Setup PLAYDECK events for automation

You add events to the playlist by adding the overlay with the commands to the clip. For example, if you want to start Playlist 2 (first clip) as soon as Playlist 1 starts playing, you would add the above Overlay to Clip 1 like this:

Install PLAYDECK on Amazon EC2

PLAYDECK supports most Amazon EC2 server instances and the NVidia GPU Power they provide. This allows you to setup a cloud based infrastructure for NDI transport or other purposes.

Quick start instruction

  1. Select the following EC2 image with pre-installed NVidia driver:
    https://aws.amazon.com/marketplace/pp/prodview-ef3s5qtefim32
  2. As instance type select “g4dn.xlarge” – it is very capable performance-wise. It represents these server specification: 16 vCPUs (Intel Xeon), 64GB RAM, 1 vGPU (NVidia T4) with 16GB GPU RAM
  3. Start the EC2 instance and connect to it
  4. Allow browser downloads:
    START Menu > Server Manager > Local Server > IE Enhanced Security Configuration > Off
  5. Now download and install PLAYDECK as usual:
    https://playdeck.tv/download/
  6. Since NVidia driver are pre-installed, the GPU support in PLAYDECK will be enabled by default

Additional information

PLAYDECK can be installed on any Windows EC2 instance. Allthough GPU support isnt a requirement with PLAYDECK, it still is recommended for best performance. A list of all EC2 instances:
https://aws.amazon.com/ec2/instance-types/

If you decide to go with a clean installation of an instance (without a preselected windows image), you need to install the NVidia driver manually like this:
https://docs.aws.amazon.com/AWSEC2/latest/WindowsGuide/install-nvidia-driver.html

PLAYDECK also supports a multi-user environment and saves licensed for the whole server instance.

Use Playlist 2 as alpha channel over Playlist 1

This can be achieved via any supported output card, which supports internal keying.
For this example we use the “Decklink Duo 2”. In PLAYDECK this sample will look like this:

Configure Decklink for Internal Keying

Open the Decklink setup utility “Desktop Video Setup” and set SDI 1+2 like this. This will be used for internal keying, where SDI 1 will receive the video signal from Playlist 1 and will key Playlist 2 over it and output the combined video via SDI 2.

Now you setup SDI 3 as standalone without keying. This will be used to send the video signal from Playlist 1 to Playlist 2 via SDI Loop.

Decklink SDI connections (Loop Cable and Output)

Use a short SDI cable and connect SDI 3 directly with SDI 1. We use this to feed the Playlist 1 signal via SDI 3 into the keying input SDI 1. Connect your final mixed output to SDI 2.

Setup PLAYDECK für Internal Keying

Channel 1 will send the video signal via SDI 3 to SDI 1 for mixing. Therefore you output Channel 1 like normal:

Channel 2 will receive the video layer on SDI 1. Now let PLAYDECK tell the Decklink to use Internal Keying to mix the Channel 2 signal over the one coming via SDI 1. Your final mixed output will be send to SDI 2.

Unable to start PLAYDECK

If you get the following message, or any other reason you cant PLAYDECK, please see below for solutions:

Missing user rights or missing files

You should re-install PLAYDECK with the current windows user, you are planning to use PLAYDECK with. If that fails, you should install PLAYDECK as windows administrator and use it from any admin/user account. PLAYDECK is windows multi-user supported and will use the license for all user on that system.

Antivirus software is blocking PLAYDECK

Please check, the PLAYDECK is not being listed as BLOCKED or BLACKLISTED by your antivirus software. It may be necessary to add the PLAYDECK executable as exception to your antivirus:
c:\Program Files (x86)\JoyEventMedia\Playdeck\Playdeck.exe

The reason behind this is, that our license protection system sometimes is recognized as “False Positive” by antivirus software. Allthough we are in touch we most major antivirus companies, this still can happen.

Windows Version Vista/7/8

PLAYDECK is not supported on older Windows Versions. Please use Windows 10 (32 or 64bit). Windows has ended official support for Windows 8 on Jan 2019.

Firewall is blocking access

PLAYDECK asks for firewall allowance during the first installation. This looks like this:

If you accidently skipped this allowance, PLAYDECK may not work. You can later add this to your firewall manually:

Open Start Menu and start typing “firewall” and start “Firewall & network protection”.
Select “Allow an app through the firewall” and select “Change settings”.
Allow “JoyVideoEngine”. If not found, please add with “Allow another app..” and select
c:\Program Files (x86)\JoyEventMedia\Playdeck\engine\Win64\JoyVideoEngine.exe

Notebook Performance / Multiple GPUs

In case you want your Notebook to perform optimal with PLAYDECK, you might need to adjust some options.

Multiple GPUs

Lets say you have an Intel Onboard GPU and an additional NVidia GPU. By default, PLAYDECK will use the Intel, because it is told so by Windows. To change this, you have to open NVIDIA Control Panel, select “Manage 3D settings”. In the “Global Settings” Tab you set “Preferred graphics processor” to “High-performance NVIDIA processor”.

In some cases you need to do more: Set the NVIDIA as Primary GPU in the BIOS. Or disable the Intel GPU in the Device Manager. Or use some Model Specific Driver or Software.

If this doesnt work, your Notebook might now have a Dedicated GPU Mode; some older Razer Notebooks for example dont support a Dedicated GPU Mode. There is nothing you can do then: The NVIDIA GPU needs to be the Primary GPU of the System, otherwise it cant be fully utilized by PLAYDECK.

Reduce CPU usage

In case you run PLAYDECK on CPU alone, it might be difficult to get a good performance for dual HD output. To reduce CPU usage of PLAYDECK you have several options:

  1. Reduce overall Quality (and therefore CPU usage) in PLAYDECK > Settings > Advanced Settings > Use CPU rendering (from version 3.5b2 and above)
  2. Prevent PLAYDECK from needing to transcode video clips during playback: Have videos in the same video format as the playlist
  3. Configure Windows Power Management for Maximum Performance or disable Energy Saving completly
  4. Ensure that all CPU cores are used (Check in Resource Monitor)

NDI no video/audio

Please always use the latest update of PLAYDECK, since we update NDI drivers with almost every release.

Driver Issue

Please always use the latest update of PLAYDECK, since we update NDI drivers with almost every release. Sometimes the receiving side expects certain (latest) driver. Click HERE to get the latest release.

Compatible Settings (Output)

Depending on the receiving NDI device/software, not all video formats and color spaces are supported. Please try different settings and close and restart the NDI connection.

Network Location is not set to Private

Follow the steps below to enable the Private Network Location in Windows 10: 

1. Go to the Start Menu and select the Settings / COG icon
2. Select Network & Internet
3. Select Ethernet from the left hand menu.
4. Click the icon for the network card that says “Connected”.
5. Set the Network profile to Private instead of Public.

Firewall is blocking access

If you have a 3rd party firewall, such as Antivirus or Internet Security software, refer to the documentation to allow the PLAYDECK application and any other NDI related software full network access. This process will need to be completed on all computers using NDI.

IP Addresses are not on the same network / subnet

You may receive a blank NDI input, if the source device or PC is on a different subnet to the PLAYDECK PC. The easiest way to resolve this is to ensure all sources are connected to the same Router or Modem and are set to have their IP addresses automatically assigned (the default).

The PC is connected to multiple networks at the same time

For best results with NDI, the PC running PLAYDECK should only be connected to one network at a time. For example if the PC has an ethernet connection and a wifi connection, make sure the wifi connection is disabled.