2 Camera and 4 Camera Widescreen license
The VIDEO4 is available in 2 versions:
This is the “standard version” of the VIDEO4 and allows the unit to take 2 camera inputs, combine them onto a single video stream and then record them. This is done as either NTSC (the video format used in the USA) or PAL (the video format used in the rest of the world). For NTSC the recorded video is 720 x 480 pixels at 30 frames per second. For PAL the output video is 720 x 576 pixels at 25 frames per second. These standard PAL and NTSC formats are commonly referred to as “4:3 formats” as they are designed to be displayed on an “old style non-widescreen TV with an aspect ratio of 4:3”. If the image is displayed on a 16:9 widescreen television, then the image either has to be stretched, in which case everything looks “fatter or wider” than it should do, or the top and bottom of the video has to be cropped, in which case some of the picture is lost.
4 camera and widescreen
This is the enhanced version of the VIDEO4 system and requires that the user has the optional “4 camera widescreen licence” installed in the VIDEO4. With this licence it is possible to take up to a maximum of 4 camera inputs and record either as a standard PAL or NTSC format (as described above) OR in widescreen PAL or widescreen NTSC. Widescreen NTSC is recorded at 1024 x 480 and 30 frames per second, widescreen PAL is recorded as 1024 x 576 and 25 frames per second. Note that in the case of widescreen recordings the input cameras are still only standard PAL or NTSC as these are the only types of bullet cameras currently available; so in a typical case it means that you can have 1 main camera pointing out the front at full screen, and then PIPs of the rear and driver down the left and/or right hand sides. Naturally when a 16:9 recording is played back on a widescreen television then no stretching or cropping of the video is required as a result the image is a significantly higher quality.
In both cases the VIDEO4 hardware and firmware are exactly the same, the only difference is the licensing of the unit. The licensing is done with a special file called “license.bin”. This file contains a list of all the VIDEO4 serial numbers that are enabled with 4 cameras and widescreen capability, the firmware checks this list and compares it with the unit’s serial number. If a match is found then the full 4 camera functionality is enabled. If you purchase a VIDEO4 from Race Technology as a 4 camera widescreen system this licence will be already loaded and no action is required. If you purchase this functionality afterwards then you will be sent to file called “license.bin”, simply place this file onto the CF card’s root directory and insert into the VIDEO4. If it is accepted then the file will be moved to the “done” directory. Another reboot of the VIDEO4 will be required for the licence to be activated. If required the user can check to see if the VIDEO4 has the licence installed by checking the details in the “DIAG.TXT” file within the “INTERNAL” directory of the flash card.
For those that have already got a 4 camera VIDEO4 system, all you need to do is update your VIDEO4 recorder with the latest firmware available from our website:
For those that wish to upgrade their 2 camera systems to a 4 camera system with a widescreen license , please email email@example.com.
Differences between 4:3 (standard video) and 16:9 (widescreen)
Although general operation of the VIDEO4 is the same in either 4:3 or 16:9 mode, there are a number of technical differences:
- 16:9 mode records at a higher resolution compared with the 4:3 mode. The 16:9 mode is not simply a cropped 4:3 image!
- In 4:3 mode the TV output is full screen, In 16:9 mode it’s compress to 50% so it fits on a normal (4:3) video output screen. In practice this means that the active area of the screen is quite small, however this live video output it still idea for camera alignment.
- Video playback of files direct from the VIDEO4 in 16:9 mode is disabled, direct playback from the VIDEO4 is only possible for files recorded in 4:3 mode.
- In 16:9 mode video files can only be recorded in I or IP format videos, in 4:3 mode you also get the option of IPB format. In theory the IPB mode gives slightly higher compression quality, in practice the difference is very small and of no practical interest.
- In 16:9 mode you can “filter” the camera inputs to make them software or sharper. In 4:3 mode this feature is disabled.
- In 16:9 mode you can have 100% pips, this is not available in 4:3 mode. (cropped) 100% PIPs are often used in 16:9 mode to have either a large view of the driver to the left or right hand side of the picture or a wide rear view camera.
- In 16:9 mode the de-interlacing is always enabled on the VIDEO4, and is done at a higher quality compared with 4:3 as it uses a more advanced algorithm.