1. What’s the main difference between Solo 8 and older HoverCam products?
Solo 8 is a new generation HoverCam fundamentally more advanced than previous models. A key difference is a new UVC processor chipset and electronic imaging components that deliver ultra-high definition video over SuperSpeed USB3.0 and the older USB2.0 standard at 30 frames-per-second (fps). Solo 8’s exciting new features and cutting edge controls have never been seen before in a USB document camera. It’s the best document camera we have designed and possibly the world’s best document camera. The Solo 8 is the only camera that can truly deliver the sensor’s full 8MP resolution at 30fps. No compromises. No misleading specs.
2. What makes Solo 8 better than other document cameras?
The Solo 8 is our first document camera built on the HoverCam Photon 1.0 Imaging Engine. A powerful ARM processor serves as the Solo 8’s brain and makes it a highly intelligent small computer; as opposed to a simple imaging device of the past. When coupled with the Flex 10 software, Solo 8 achieves exceptionally high performance. Real time commands, responses and computations take place between the host computer and the Solo 8 to formulate the best video delivery strategy for optimal bandwidth utilization, screen size adaptation, exposure control, focus control, color balancing and other advanced camera control functions. The advanced architecture of the Photon 1.0 Imaging Engine makes the Solo 8 stand out in control, flexibility and maximum performance. It is unlike any document camera.
3. Why is USB 3.0 better?
USB 3.0 – also known as SuperSpeed USB – increases throughput by a magnitude of 10 times over USB 2.0. USB 3.0 interfaces on most computers reach a maximum throughput of 5.2Gbps, which permits transmission of uncompressed, high quality HD video up to 4K resolution at 30fps. This is an impressive improvement over the theoretical throughput of 480mbps on USB 2.0. The high bandwidth is important because in most cases the USB interface is the bottleneck of video performance. For example, USB cameras can only send a small number of frames (as low as 2 or 3 frames) of uncompressed HD video over USB 2.0. With the USB 3.0 SuperSpeed interface, video performance is significantly enhanced. Remember, you don’t have to have a USB 3.0 computer to benefit from Solo 8. Over USB 2.0 you can expect full-motion video with 8.0 MegaPixel resolution with slight MJPEG compression.
4. Why do I need Solo 8 if I only have USB2.0 ports on my computer?
Solo 8 is designed to deliver high performance over USB 2.0. It delivers compressed MJPEG video at 30fps on most computers with USB 2.0 ports.
5. My computer still runs Windows XP. Can I benefit from using a Solo 8?
Yes, Solo 8 works with older models of PCs as well. On some older PCs, the CPU is less powerful so you might experience a slightly lower frame rate.
6. You claim Solo 8 offers 8MP 4K resolution video at 30fps speed. How is that possible?
Every video frame of Solo 8 has 8MP resolution, which is equivalent to 4K resolution. The image is resized in real-time to adapt to the screen’s display resolution. True 8MP clarity resolution is being delivered at a 30fps speed. Over USB 3.0, we deliver uncompressed YUV video at 30fps. Over USB2.0, the video is lightly compressed MJPEG at 30fps.
7. What is ASR?
ASR stands for Adaptive Sensor Resolution. It is HoverCam’s proprietary patent-pending technology for dynamic scaling and cropping. This technology allows the camera to deliver 8MP images dynamically adapted to the resolution of your monitor or output display. Some other manufacturers state their document cameras use a 5MP sensor, yet they only seem to output 720P or 1080i video, which is only 1 megapixel per frame. With the Solo 8, you receive a true 8MP image. Digital cameras are designed to use a sensor’s full resolution for capturing still images, but during video recording the video is scaled or cropped to a lower resolution. For example, high-end SLR cameras report resolutions as high as 20MP or 40MP. However, you can only get the 20MP or 40MP resolution in a still image, not in video. When recording video, you only get 720P or 1080P resolution, which is equivalent to 1MP and 2MP respectively. Other manufacturers’ document cameras may have a 5MP sensor, but in reality the video is scaled down to show 720P which is 1MP resolution. The reasons for delivering low resolution video were based on the consideration that display screen sizes are normally much smaller than the maximum sensor resolution, or, the storage devices have limited capacity, or, bandwidth limitation. For document camera consumers, however, the higher sensor reading is meant as window dressing to enhance product specifications, with little or no gain in performance. HoverCam Solo 8 achieves delivery of true, full 8MP resolution at full-motion speed with no permanent compromise in clarity/resolution. Every frame is captured with 8 million pixels, followed by a frame by frame scaling and cropping process to fit the viewing area of interest to the maximum size of the display area. The Solo 8’s 8MP sensor is fully utilized to deliver full resolution for video viewing or recording at any given time.
8. Can I see the difference between the Solo 8 and lower resolution cameras?
We have taken photos using the Solo 8 and other camera brands. In side by side comparisons, we see a noticeable difference. The Solo 8’s 8MP image is so clear you can see the details in skin and even the states on a U.S. $5 bill. You will definitely see the difference.
9. I googled and found a 10MP USB document camera. How does the Solo 8 compare?
The performance of Solo 8 is unequaled by any other USB camera. For other manufacturers, using a sensor with a higher pixel count is straightforward and there are CMOS sensors with 20MB resolution available. However, a camera incorporating a 10MP sensor must have supporting processors and software to deliver high resolution to a host computer. Short of doing so, these manufacturers are either sending less than 1 frame per second, which is unacceptably slow, or, they are reducing clarity to 1MP, which is unacceptable clarity. Only the Solo 8 delivers at the sensor’s full 8MP resolution at 30fps. There are no compromises or short-changes.
10. What’s the longest USB 3.0 cable I can use?
We offer an optional 15’ USB 3.0 cable. A lot of data must be transmitted over the cable at very high speed, so at this time it’s hard to make a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 cable longer than 15'.
11. What if I need a USB cable longer than 15’?
If you need to have a USB cable longer than 15’, such as 30’, we recommend you purchase our tested 30’ extended USB 2.0 cable. The Solo 8 still delivers 30fps video over USB 2.0 with light MJPEG compression.