Product Review: Page (1) of 2 - 11/21/07 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at MyDmn.com).print page facebook

AJA's Io HD

This unit can do everything you will need, at a great price By Kevin McAuliffe

In my opinion, no one makes a better capture card than AJA, and I have been an AJA fan since I started working in Final Cut Pro. So you can imagine how excited I was when got to review its latest and greatest (and probably most anticipated) capture device, the Io HD. Originally slated for a release around August, the Io HD's release was pushed back to the end of October, which for a product like this did not surprise me. Well, I now have one in my hands, so let's see what it can do.

Installation
When the box arrived and I opened it, I was a little surprised by what I saw. Inside the box was the unit (Io HD), two FireWire cables, and an installation disc. I guess I always expect to see large daunting manuals, octopus cables and things like that when I open up a product like this, but seeing only a few things always makes me excited and nervous at the same time. Excited because I think, "It really must be that easy!" and nervous because I think "It can't be that easy!"

So, I pulled the installation disc out, popped it into my machine, and double clicked on the AJA Io HD software package. The installation of the software was simple and straightforward. You have no options as far as installing extras, as AJA has made sure to install exactly what you need. I found it a little strange that on the "Hardware Requirements" page, it stated that for a MacBook Pro, the only requirement was 2GB RAM, but hey, I'm not going to complain.


For this article, I'm testing the Io HD on a 15" MacBook Pro 2.4 Duo with 2GB RAM. I have little doubt that the Io HD would work well with a MacPro Tower, but when editing in the field (or on the go, as the Io HD is designed), most people I feel, will be editing with this unit on a laptop. Okay enough about that, once the installer was done, the system restarted, and I was ready to go! Installation: 10 (out of 10)

What You Get
Editors who are new to AJA's higher end capture devices might be a little surprised when they open the box to see the contents I listed above, but when you think about it, that's really all you need. Essentially, the Io HD hardware unit itself takes care of everything else you could need when it comes to capturing, outputting and cross converting. Here is what you are looking at with the Io HD:

  • Apple ProRes 422 and ProRes 422 HQ Codec-SD & HD 720/1080 full raster 10-bit 422 realtime in hardware
  • 10-bit HD up/down/cross conversion all in hardware
  • 2x SD-SDI/HD-SDI I/O (includes embedded SDI 8-channel audio I/O)
  • SD/HD Component I/O
  • Composite and S-video I/O
  • HDMI video w/8-channel audio I/O
  • AES/EBU 8-channel unbalanced audio I/O
  • Analog 4-channel balanced audio I/O (XLR)
  • Analog 2-channel unbalanced audio output (RCA - for monitoring)
  • Genlock (with loop through)
  • RS-422 machine control
  • LTC Timecode I/O
  • FireWire 800 port for connection to your MacBook Pro or MacPro Tower

One thing that newer users to AJA's products (like the Io HD and the Kona 3) will need to get used to is that there is no HD-SDI and SD-SDI input (or Component SD/HD I/O for that matter). The Io HD, once an SDI signal is detected, will recognize and tell you what type of signal it is receiving. Now that's user friendly!  

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Related Keywords:iohd, video editing, video conversion, HD video,

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