AJA's surprise new camera is a change of direction

Written by David Shapton

AJA/RedSharkThe RovoCam: AJA outside, Sony inside

After the CION, it was always going to be difficult to know what AJA would do next on the camera front. A 4K box camera is a bit of a surprise to everyone though.

AJA's CION camera surprised everyone nearly two years ago. The company which was previously noted for its range of video interfaces, converters and video recorders, astonished visitors to NAB 2014 with a fully developed 4K cinema camera that was big on ergonomics.

Anyone speculating as to AJA's next camera product would have done well to have considered the company's very significant turnover in industrial and AV products, where applications are not as glamorous as filmmaking, but which are extremely widespread, although, much of the time, completely hidden.

And it is from this market sector that the new camera emerges. The RovoCam is a 4k (UHD) box camera with the sensor and camera optics by Sony. The Sony FCB-ER8300 camera module has a twelve times optical zoom and a twenty times zoom using Sony's Super Resolution Zoom, which we assume is a type of digital zoom.

AJA has added an interface to the Sony unit that allows uncompressed video to be passed along a Cat 5e/6 network cable to a reciever that converts the signal to HDMI. Note that although the camera has a network cable connection, this is not an IP device. Instead it uses what is set to become a standard for passing video over network cables, called HDbaseT.

The new device is designed for mounting unobtrusively in small places while outputting a full quality 4K video signal, but there's nothing to stop it being used for filmmaking or broadcast production, from reality shows to wildlife documentaries. Apart from the high quality image, the standout feature of the camera is that it only needs a single cable for video output and power. Installation should be very simple.

For full details about this new camera check out the press release after the break.

AJA's New RovoCam Integrated UltraHD/HD Camera with HDBaseT Delivers Single Cable Support for Video, Audio, Control, and Power 

Together with RovoRx-HDMI Receiver, RovoCam is AJA's First Compact Block Camera for Industrial, Corporate, Security, ProAV and Broadcast Applications

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, ISE Conference, Stand 8-R235 (February 9, 2016) -- AJA Video Systems today announced RovoCam, the company's first compact block camera for industrial, corporate, security, ProAV and broadcast applications. Gorgeous UltraHD and HD imagery is captured with superior Sony optics with built-in 12x optical and up to 20x zoom with Sony Super Resolution Zoom. What sets RovoCam apart from other cameras in its category is an integrated HDBaseT interface supporting uncompressed video, power, stereo audio and RS-232 control over a single CAT 5e/6 cable running at lengths of up to 100 meters. Delivering this much functionality and power with single cable connectivity dramatically simplifies installation, camera setup and footprint requirements.

RovoCam is built around Sony's 4K FCB-ER8300 Functional Camera Block featuring the back illuminated CMOS sensor technology and Sony image processing for excellent performance. Reliable, practical and compactly encased in rugged and durable aluminum, RovoCam's small and light form factor allows simple mounting in a wide range of scenarios. RovoRx-HDMI, the companion receiver unit, offers the simplest integration for RovoCam with an HDMI output, and all video/audio signals, power, and control over HDBaseT. RovoCam is also compatible with select third party receivers.

"Sony is proud to have collaborated with AJA on their innovative new RovoCam system development using the 4K FCB-ER8300 Functional Camera Block. We anticipate RovoCam will find homes in many ancillary video capture applications within the broadcast, content creation, security, corporate campus, and remote learning vertical markets," commented John Monti, Director, Sony Visual Imaging Solutions.

"AJA has always been known for supporting open standards with highly functional, flexible and reliable technologies, and the release of RovoCam continues this trend. Marrying our HDBaseT interface technology with Sony's compact 4K camera delivers incredibly powerful camera acquisition with very simple single cable setup and operation," said Nick Rashby, President, AJA Video Systems. "We've partnered closely with Sony for many years and RovoCam comes as the latest in a long line of collaborations with them."

RovoCam Features:
-- HDBaseT interface supporting uncompressed video, stereo audio, control and power over a single CAT 5e/6 cable
-- "4K" UltraHD and HD resolutions
-- 1/2.3 type 8.9 megapixel back illuminated CMOS sensor
-- Integrated zoom lens, 12x optical (20x with Super Resolution Zoom)
-- Integrated image processor with extensive automatic and/or manual control
-- Additional on-camera power and RS-232 connections for maximum flexibility
-- Supports Sony VISCA camera control
-- Stereo mic input supporting PiP power
-- Machined aluminum case with standard mounting options on each side
-- Compatible with Sony's SNCUNIHB/1 outdoor housing

RovoRx-HDMI Features:
-- HDBaseT receiver supporting video, stereo audio, control and power over a single CAT 5e/6 cable
-- UltraHD and HD resolutions
-- 1 x "4K" UltraHD/HD HDMI output
-- 1 x RCA audio output
-- 1 x USB for firmware updates and additional control
-- 1 x RS-232 output

Pricing and Availability
RovoCam will be available soon through AJA's worldwide reseller network for a US MSRP of $2495.00. RovoRX-HDMI will be available for a US MSRP of $495.00. For more information about RovoCam, visit https://www.aja.com/en/products/rovocam

Tags: Production

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