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AJA shows aggressive product development

NAB News: AJA upgrades Ki Pro Mini ProRes recorder, gets recommendation from Red for use with Epic, adds 4K to its Kona 3G card, unleashes new mini-converters, and shows 5K and Thunderbolt I/O technology prototypes.

NAB News: Describing 2011 as “a year of extremely aggressive product development,” AJA president Nick Rashby, reported that the company saw a 35% revenue grown this past year and has expectations of continued growth as the NAB Show kicked off in Las Vegas, writes Carolyn Giardina.

AJA is presenting a string of new products, upgrades, and a glimpse at the future through technology demonstrations of future products.

With thousands of Ki Pro systems already in use everyday, Rashby unveiled a firmware upgrade for the Ki Pro Mini, and Red’s Ted Schilowitz related that the Ki Pro Mini is the first recommended ProRes recorder for Red’s new Epic.

“AJA’s Ki Pro Mini is the first ProRes recorder that we’ve battle tested and are recommending for use with the Red Epic,” Schilowitz said. “I know first hand of the high level of industry adoption of AJA gear based on its proven performance and their reputation for high quality professional gear, and the Ki Pro Mini is no exception. It worked solidly under the pressure of real high-end cinema shooting environments, where it really counts.”

Underscoring the attention on 4K at NAB, AJA revealed a new 4K mode for its Kona 3G capture card. Available with new version 9.0 driver software for Kona 3G, the 4K mode supports 4K playout and monitoring. This includes 4K playback in both YCbCr and RGB, at resolutions up to 4096×2160. “We are giving away 4K to our 3G customers,” said Rashby, as the 4K mode is a free upgrade.

AJA introduced its Hi5-Fibre mini-converter and four new models of the FiDO (Fibre Digital Optical) family of SDI/Optical Fibre mini-converters.

New FiDO models include: FiDO T-ST, a single channel SDI to ST Fibre converter, with looping SDI output; FiDO R-ST, a single channel ST Fibre to SDI converter, with dual SDI outputs; FiDO T-SC, a single channel SDI to SC fibre converter, with looping SDI output; and FiDO R-SC, a single channel SC Fibre to SDI converter, with dual SDI outputs.

Hi5-Fibre is planned for availability by Summer for $695, when the FiDO models should also be available, for $445 each.

AJA’s technology demos at NAB include a preview of a product code-named Riker, a multi-format I/O technology for SD to 5K workflows, designed to address changing I/O and processing requirements via a modular architecture. AJA said Riker would offer an arbitrary hardware scalar that enables users to scale up or down any sized-raster up to 5K, in real time at full quality.

The company is also demonstrating support for Intel’s Thunderbolt technology for HD/SD I/O introduced with the new MacBook Pro line. Thunderbolt is designed to provide one-cable plug-in connectivity for 3G, HD/SD-SDI and HDMI workflows. Codenamed Phaser, AJA said that its upcoming product is being developed to support HDMI 1.3a input and HDMI 1.4 output for stereo playback, provides 10-bit up/down/cross-conversions, with RS422 device control and professional reference/LTC I/O, in a portable design.