4.1.1 was the first major release for our Bolt 4K Line of products. With this release, we added support for our longest range Bolt 4K variant, the MAX, as well as introduced a number of new features and bug fixes. This article will detail what all of the new features do.
RX Now Supports Multiple TX pairing
We added the ability to pair a receiver with up to four transmitters, allowing users to more quickly switch between paired transmitters. On a multi-camera shoot, this means all receivers could potentially be paired to each of the cameras' transmitters, and crews can simply select which transmitter they want to view at any given time. No more paperclips every time you want to move receivers around.
You can pair TX and RX units either via the front panel pairing menu, using Bluetooth with the Bolt App, or via Bolt Manager.
To switch between transmitters, on the RX front panel, open the menu, select Switch TX, and pick the paired TX you want to connect to.
New Unpairing options
On all Bolts up to this point, it was impossible to see what, or how many, devices were associated with your TX or RX. Along with the multi-TX options mentioned above, we've added control for users to see and remove paired devices, either one-by-one or all at once.
The Feature is accessed via the Unpair menu on both TX and RX. Deleting registration can help in situations where many devices have been paired to a unit, but only some are still being used. Previously, if you tried to pair an RX to a TX with four devices already paired, it wasn't clear which of the previous paired devices would be dropped. Transmitters can store 6 paired receivers, and receivers can store 4 paired transmitters.
Broadcast mode (Bolt 4K MAX only)
Broadcast Mode allows you to transmit to an unlimited number of paired receivers, and unlocks the possibility of even longer range than the standard multicast operation. In this mode, the back channel data (uplink) from RX to TX is disabled.
Broadcast mode can be enabled from the TX wireless settings menu.
- Without an uplink, the TX does not have to be aware of the connected receivers, so any Bolt MAX RX that has been previously paired can link and receive video.
- Removing the uplink requirement can improve range because we no longer rely on the TX to receive anything or the RX to transmit anything (less antennas are used for the uplink transmission on TX and RX).
Fixed Frequency mode
Fixed Frequency Mode allows users to specify a single frequency for the Bolt 4K system to link on. When enabled, auto frequency hopping is disabled and the system will always try to link on the specified frequency.
Fixed frequency mode can be enabled from the TX wireless settings menu.
- Assuming the frequency is not completely saturated, this feature will reduce the time it takes for systems to link when powered on.
- For best results, use the Spectrum Analyzer (via the receiver's front panel or the Bolt app) to find a clear frequency before selecting one.
- Note: performance will be very poor if multiple systems are set to the same fixed frequency. The lowest available frequency is selected by default, so be sure to select individual frequencies when using multiple systems in this mode.
Configurable video quality settings
Bolt 4K uses three picture quality levels, and by default they vary based on the lowest quality link, or the furthest RX -- the system aims to maintain a link to all devices as best as it can, even if it could reduce the picture quality for nearby receivers. The different quality levels are determined by the number of antennas used to send fine detail information, either three (Best Quality), two (Better Quality), or one (Longer distance).
Video Quality is configurable at the TX at the bottom of the Wireless Settings menu.
- These settings will most noticeably affect 4K transmission.
- Option is available under Wireless Settings > Video Quality
- This update enables users to select auto (default), allowing the system to vary the number of fine antennas as needed, or to manually set one of the modes.
- Note that the Auto option is not available in broadcast mode, as the TX is unaware of connected receivers' signal quality.
- Low power mode is also available, this is a shorter range version of the 'Longer Distance' 1 fine antenna setting, with lower voltages used for the transmit amplifiers. This setting reduces power consumption by about 1.5W and may help in multi-system environments, at the expense of maximum range.
- Our soon-to-be available (ETA early December 2019) horizontally polarized antennas extend the maximum effective range for the highest (3 fine) and second-highest (2 fine) quality levels within Bolt's operational range.
SWITCHABLE 20/40MHz BANDWIDTH
All Bolt 4K models now support both 40MHz (default) and 20MHz operation modes. Operating the system in 20MHz mode halves the amount of bandwidth used for the video link, effectively doubling the number of usable frequencies.
For example, in the US, the following frequencies are available in 40 and 20 MHz operation:
|B/W||UNII 1 (non-DFS)||UNII 2 (DFS)||
UNII 3 (Non-DFS
Bandwidth must be set on both the TX and RX, or they will not link.
20MHz mode only supports input formats up to 1080p60 (no 4K/UHD support at this time), but it does not have the same limitations as the 20MHz mode on Bolt 3000. Audio is transmitted with video (it wasn't on the 3000), and there is no negative affect on video quality. Additionally, 1080i50/59.94 resolution is supported, but 1080psf23.98/24 is not at this time.
NOTE: 20MHz operation only supports HD/3G resolutions up to 1080p60