Compatibility with the Apple Silicon M1 chip

When checking for the compatibility with Apple M1 computers, there are different things to consider, we detail this below, but very briefly, we can tell that, while our applications run mostly fine on M1 chip (either Natively or with Rosetta depending on the application), the main things to know currently is that:

  • At the time of writing, when considering hardware video devices, only Blackmagic-Design has a driver (12.0 or later) that is compatible with the M1 chip. Most other video devices manufacturers still have to provide drivers that are compatible with M1 chips. So other cards from AJA, or Deltacast (M|Family) will not work on M1 computers.
  • If you are using NDI, a version of the library compatible with M1 is available (since SDK 4.6.1, that we started implementing on April 29th, 2021). All our recent applications that use that SDK (see table below) are fully compatible with NDI, both for output and input, in universal or with rosetta. Our previous applications that use a Newtel NDI SDK prior to version 4.6 will work for output only, not for input, and only when using Rosetta. 
  • While our intel applications may run on an M1 computer (using Rosetta), only the applications built as Universal will be fully tested and supported. Contact us if you have more questions about this.
  • OnTheAir Node 3 will not be compatible with Apple Silicon processors. You will have to upgrade to OnTheAir Node 4.

But read below for more details...

 

About Big Sur

As the M1 computers will only run with Big Sur, first make sure to check which applications and video device drivers are supported by this macOS version.

 

Rosetta or Native?

When running applications on computers with M1 chips, there are two possible types:

  • Intel: the application is not built for M1 chips and thus it runs with the Rosetta translation. The performances won't be as good.
  • Universal: the application has been built to run natively, so without translation. These applications are called "Universal" as they include a version for Intel and one for M1 processors. This should result in better performances.

Note that all the Softron applications that are universal come with a new type of icon that look like this: 

So they are easy to recognise. If the application uses an different type of icon, it means it can not run natively on the Mac, but it can most probably run using Rosetta.

By default, if an application is "Universal", it will run "Natively". But in some cases, you may want to force the application to start with Rosetta. For this, select the application in the Finder, then use the command + i keyboard shortcut, and enable the following option:

OnTheAir_Video_FinderInfo_Rosetta.png

Supported Applications Versions

IMPORTANT: If you use a video input/output (AJA, Blackmagic-Design, Deltacast, NDI), make sure to check the compatibility list in the next point below.

Application First Version Supported with Rosetta First "Universal" Version
GPICommander 2.5.3 2.6
OnTheAir CG 3.5.4* 4.0 (Coming soon)
OnTheAir Video 4.0* 4.0*
OnTheAir Video Express 4.0* 4.0*
OnTheAir Node 4.0* 4.0b20*
OnTheAir Live 4.0 4.0b1
OnTheAir Manager 4.0 4.0b1
OnTheAir Switch 2.8.2 2.9
MovieRecorder 4.4.0* 4.5 (Coming soon)
MovieRecorder Express 4.4.0* 4.5 (Coming soon)
Multicam Logger 2.1.10 2.2
M|Replay 2.2 (Coming soon)  
Streaming Center 1.1 1.2

* check the video drivers compatibility list below.

 

 

Compatibility with video inputs and outputs

For our applications that don't use a video device from AJA, Blackmagic-Design or Deltacast, or don't use NDI, it is easy: if our application is Universal, you will run as Universal, if not, macOS will use Rosetta.

But with applications that use a video device from AJA, Blackmagic-Design or Deltacast or NDI, we depend on them to provide drivers and librairies. So the first thing to check is if the device you use is compatible.

 

Video inputs/outputs compatibility with M1

The first thing to make sure is that a "Universal" version of the driver is available, indeed drivers can not use Rosetta, so older drivers will not work on M1 chips. As soon as a driver is available from the manufacturer, you will be able to use it with our applications when started with Rosetta (see above if you need to force it). 

Video Device Rosetta Universal
AJA 16.1 (Not available yet - Coming soon) 16.1 (Not available yet - Coming soon)

Blackmagic-Design

12.0*  12.0*
M|Family (Deltacast) 6.18 (Not available yet - Coming soon) 6.18 (Not available yet - Coming soon)
NDI Output All our applications since 2019** 4.6.1**
NDI Input 4.6.1** 4.6.1**

* some cards are not compatible with the M1 chip. Check the compatibility list in BMD's release note, and/or in our article.

** Newtek added the full Apple Silicon compatibility with the NDI SDK 4.6.1. All our applications that use that SDK (see table below) are fully compatible, both for input and output, in Rosetta or Universal.versions of our applications that use an NDI SDK prior to version 4.6.1 can only work for output only and only when using Rosetta.

 

Application versions that have Universal Libraries

Once there is a M1 compatible driver for your device, you will be able to use most of our applications using Rosetta (except for OnTheAir Node, which require version 4). But if you want to use the device in "Native" mode, you will need to use a version that has the "Universal" Library. See below when the universal libraries are added to our applications for each device type.

 

Application AJA

Blackmagic-Design

(SDK 12.0 or later)

M|Family (Deltacast)

NDI

(SDK 4.6.1 or later)

OnTheAir CG        
OnTheAir Video 4.0 4.0   4.0
OnTheAir Video Express 4.0 4.0   4.0
OnTheAir Node 4.0b28 4.0b20   4.0b28
MovieRecorder       4.4b33
MovieRecorder Express       4.4b33
M|Replay       N/A

Version numbers are to be understood as "or later"...

 

About hardware acceleration for H.264 and HEVC 

As you may know, Intel computers have some hardware acceleration available to encode/decode H.264 and HEVC. Thanks to that hardware acceleration, which offloads the encoding/decoding off the CPU, an Intel Mac mini can be very efficient to encode or decode H.264 or HEVC, all that without using the CPU, and thus leaving the CPU available for other tasks.

The computers using the M1 chip also have a hardware acceleration, and we see that Apple has made a push on HEVC. So performances will be much better when encoding/decoding HEVC, but note that they won't be as good for H.264. So if you intend to encode multiple channels to H.264, the best solution is still an Intel Mac mini, but if you can use HEVC, then the ones using the M1 chip are the way to go.

 

 

Usual and important recommendations 

As usual, when doing major system or hardware upgrades on critical pieces of equipment for broadcast or production, it is always best to run tests with a backup equipment so you can make sure that all the pieces of your specific workflow are working well together. We run many tests, and different combinations, but we don't have your files and all cameras.

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