UltraGrid - A High Definition Collaboratory
- Copyright (c) 2001-2004 University of Southern California
- Copyright (c) 2003-2004 University of Glasgow
- Copyright (c) 2013-2014 Fundació i2CAT, Internet I Innovació Digital a Catalunya
- Copyright (c) 2005-2021 CESNET z.s.p.o.
- All rights reserved.
This software is distributed under license, see the file COPYRIGHT for full terms and conditions.
- About UltraGrid
- Hardware and Software Requirements
- Using the UltraGrid System
UltraGrid brought by CESNET's Laboratory of Advanced Networking Technologies (Sitola) is a software implementation of high-quality low-latency video and audio transmissions using commodity hardware. Supported resolutions range through HD (1920x1080) up to 8K (7680x2160) with up to 60 frames per second. Other features are listed here.
The high-quality is achieved either by using uncompressed streams or streams with very low compression ratio. End-to-end transmission latency (i.e., all the way from the camera to the display) is about 100ms, but it varies based on camera and capture cards being used. UltraGrid was originally a research project used to demonstrate the possibilities of 10Gbps networks and to study multi-point data distribution in such environments. Recent advances in the field of GPU-accelerated low-latency codecs extend its usability also to Gigabit networks. High compression ratio compressions allow further use of any commodity network connection including a shared Internet connection.
UltraGrid is supported on stations with Linux, Windows or macOS operating system. The software is open-source distributed under BSD license, i.e., we're interested in both research/academic and commercial applications. Nowadays, main application areas are collaborative environments, medical, cinematography and broadcasting applications, as well as various educational activities.
It is a fork of the original UltraGrid developed by Colin Perkins, Ladan Gharai, et al..
Our work is supported by CESNET research intents "Optical Network of National Research and Its New Applications" (MŠM 6383917201), CESNET Large Infrastructure (LM2010005), CESNET E-Infrastructure (LM2015042) and partially also by Masaryk University research intent "Parallel and Distributed Systems" (MŠM 0021622419).
The contents of this directory are as follows:
bin/ Compiled binaries data/ Various assets used by UG that is not source code doc/ Documentation ext-deps/ External dependencies that are required by UG gui/ Sources for UltraGrid GUI hd-rum-multi/ Simple standalone packet reflector src/ Source code for the UltraGrid system package_specs/ Specifications for OBS test/ Source code and binaries for test routines tools/ Small standalone helper tools autogen.sh Build script configure.ac " " Makefile.in " " bootstrap_gpujpeg.sh script to download and build GPUJPEG for use with UG CONTRIBUTING.md Various information for contributors COPYRIGHT Full license terms and conditions Doxyfile Doxygen configuration INSTALL Installation instructions NEWS Change log and modification history README.md This file
There are also subdirectories
ldgm which contain
libraries that are integral part of UltraGrid but are relatively standalone and
Hardware and Software Requirements
Recommended Hardware Setup:
- 64-bit CPU with at least 2 cores
- OpenGL compatible graphics card
- DXT compression on GPU is tested with OpenGL 3.3
- GPUJPEG compression requires a NVidia card
- various other HW accelerations supported with recent cards (NVENC, QuickSync, VideoToolbox)
- For uncompressed 1.5Gbps streams (either sending or receiving), 10GbE
network interface card is needed
- We test with PCIe Myrinet 10GbE
- For SDI send/receive capabilities, AJA, Bluefish444,
Blackmagic, DELTACAST or Magewell card is required
- Magewell module in UG support only capturing
Video capture card should be located on a separate PCI bus from network card if possible.
Required Software Preliminaries
You will need this software (in brackets are optional features for which you'll need it):
- AMD/NVidia proprietary drivers for optimal performance
- AJA/Blackmagic/DELTACAST drivers
- For macOS Homebrew or MacPorts are recommended
To compile UltraGrid you will need to prepare build environment and install dependencies for various modules. For up-to-date information please refer to our wiki.
Using the UltraGrid System
The INSTALL gives instructions for building the UltraGrid system.
Once the system has been built, the
uv binary will be present. This
can be invoked as follows:
uv -t <capture_device> -c <compression> hostname (on the sender) uv -d <display_device> hostname (on the receiver)
The <display_device> is one of the list viewed with
The <capture_device> is one of the list viewed with
-t help. Name
of capture device usually follows with configuration of video mode,
video input etc. All options can be interactively dispayed using built-in
The <compression> specifies the selected video compression to be
used. Similarly as for other options, available options can be viewed
-c help. If compression is not specified, video is transmitted
uncompressed (in that case consider setting MTU with
Further options follow UltraGrid command-line help (-h) or visit this wiki page for further information.
As an example, if a user on host "ormal" wishes to send audio and video captured using a BMD DeckLink card another user on host "curtis" with a display using the OpenGL driver and Portaudio audio playback, then the user on host "ormal" would run:
uv -t decklink -c libavcodec:codec=H.264 -s embedded --audio-codec OPUS curtis
while the user on "curtis" would run:
uv -d gl -r portaudio ormal
The system requires access to UDP ports 5004 and 5005: you should open these ports on any firewall on the network path. Uncompressed high definition video formats require approximately 1 Gigabit per second of network capacity. Using different supported compression schemes, the needed network capacity can be as low as 10 Megabits per second for a high definition video.
Documentation can be found either offline (apart from this document) and online. The online documentation is more comprehensive and up-to-date, offline is rather complementary.
The online documentation is available in our GitHub wiki.
UltraGrid built-in documentation can be found in doc subdirectory, these documents are available: