HP Video’s HD-SDI Transmitter

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

HD video transmission is upon us… and there are more and more solutions available every day. The question bears asking… “Is the Steadicam Operator still responsible for transmitting video?” 20 years ago Steadicam was one of the only modes of operation that required being wireless. Today, not only are there new support options that warrant or require wireless transmission, but the availability of wireless tech makes almost every other mode of operation easier. With that… productions are equipping themselves with camwave’s, boxx meridian’s and other solutions right out of the gate. So are we still responsible?

If we are still responsible… how good of a system do we need to provide? There are systems out there for hundreds of dollars… and then there are systems (like the Boxx Meridian) that cost upwards of $18,000.

In the pursuit of the answer, I did some research and found a product by HP Video. Their big claims are:

- 5.1-5.9 mhz range
- similar range as the Boxx
- transmitter the size of a Modulus with only (2) antennas
- free / built in Marshall monitor
- uses the same connectors as the modulus
- range 200-250 ft line of sight, & 100-150 ft indoors
- price tag of $7500

In addition, they back their product with a 3 day trial – no questions asked. So we gave it a try.

I found the system to be built well. Indeed it’s a nice compact package. I’m not sure if it is truly as small as a modulus, but its close. The unit does indeed use the same 6 pin Hirose connector found on the modulus, but the connector on the HP Video transmitter is only wired for power. You have to input your SDI signal through the BNC input. This is a little inconvenient since all of our modulus cables are wired to carry both power and signal. Plus many of our support systems (including our ZipCam) are wired to output video and power on the same connector. So that was a little disappointing… but not a deal breaker.

The receiver has a built in Marshall monitor. It’s a nice display, and great for carrying around… but as a stand-alone receiver, I’m not sure if its that convenient to have the monitor built in. The unit is a little awkward to mount anywhere. It might be better if it came with an adapter for a c-stand’s 5/8″ pin. We placed it on a table and found it to be a little unstable. Also, there’s no way to input a video signal if you wish to use it as a monitor only.

Finally, there’s the issue of performance. Let me first say that we tested the system with our ZipCam System, which is a point-to-point suspended cable camera system. We tested it outdoors in a field, with very little reflective surfaces nearby. With that said, the range of the signal started to break up at approximately 100′ max. In addition, we mounted the transmitter to the base of the head, so at times it was blocked slightly by the camera body or other parts of the head. In these instances the signal broke up much faster and was very unpredictable. Unfortunately, once the signal is lost it takes quite a long time to reconnect. HP video claims (I believe) 7-8 seconds. This made the system quite unusable for our purposes since we operate the camera from the transmitted image.

On the flip side, picture was sharp & there was <1ms latency. I would have liked to have tested it for Steadicam purposes on a stage or location, but since it clearly wasn't a match for our ZipCam, we decided to return it. If anyone would like to share their experience, please feel free to add your comments to this entry.

One Response to “HP Video’s HD-SDI Transmitter”

  1. Hello Ben,
    I just wanted to clear some points about this post, I hope you don’t mind.

    Boxx does a range of products for video assist to full broudcast links with camera control.
    The price for Boxx Meridian start at $15500.00 USD

    Also for the correct range comparisons check out the http://www.facebook.com/boxxtv where clients report;
    Perfect picture at 700ft (214m)’and 2500ft.
    AFL finals series. Faultless video over distances of up to 1300ft 400m.

    For indoor range see Robert Starling post at;
    http://www.steadicamforum.com/index.php?showtopic=14986&view=findpost&p=72084

    With the correct antennas I went live-to-air at a range of 2500ft
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW-v8Dh5qd0

    Meridian also has the following credit list;
    Television Live to Air Shows
    Sons of Anarchy X Factor Finale UK (4 Boxx Meridian systems)
    Body of Proof Who Wants To Be A Millionaire UK
    Blue Bloods Australia’s Got Talent
    Prime Suspect Australian Logies (Emmys)
    Pan Am This is Justin Beiber UK
    Hawthorne Born to Shine
    NCIS ESPN Drifting
    NCIS Los Angeles Chris Angel: Mindfreak daily live show in Vegas
    Charles Angles MOBO Awards BBC/UK
    CSI Miami The Magicians BBC/UK
    Hawai Five 0 Formula 1 Racing
    K-CAL News 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics/Hockey
    CBS News
    Hell’s Kitchen Awards
    Rockstar Emmy in Outstanding Engineering/Technology

    Movies 3-D Films
    Mr Popper’s Penguins Smurfs
    Skyline Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
    The Great Gatsby
    Total Recall (2012)

    Australia’s Got Talent

    Australia’s got talent IBC version.mov

    Please contact me at if you need more info.
    Mark Walker
    markwalker@boxxcommunications.tv
    310 287 1285

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