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Digital Video is going to Change the World of Drone Racing

This evening I powered up my new Connex ProSight Digital HD video system for the first time. Even though this was just a bench test, it cemented my feeling that this system signalsl significant changes in FPV Racing are coming.

Virtually all hobbyist and semi-pro racers use a video system not far removed from old ‘broadcast’ television. Analog signals broadcast from a drone in the 5.8 megahertz band. These transmissions must be on their own frequency, and if another pilot turns on their transmitter nearby, and it’s on the same frequency, a pilot can lose the video signal to the drone, and thus lose control of it. At races, a significant amount of time and energy is put into making sure only pilots in their designated timeslots power on their video transmitters. Turning on a transmitter on a frequency at the wrong time is a serious breach of etiquette, and can get you removed from an event.

Even with perfect frequency management, video using the 5.8gig analog transmitters and receivers can be staticy, low resolution, and finicky.

Digital video systems have been around for a while, but they’ve been tremendously expensive, power hungry, and requiring a complex infrastructure to work. Now, it looks like the Connex folks have perfected their system to bring digital video to the hobbyist pilot.

Connex digital video FPV system
Connex digital video FPV system

The system, dubbed the Connex ProSight, consists of a high resolution camera, transmitter, flight controller interconnect, antenna, HD receiver, and all the appropriate cables. In our bench tests, the configuration was straightforward and the system came up already paired and ready to go.

Because the signals are digital (the same way remote control transmitters have gone all digital), it’s possible to run multiple video signals in the same space, without having them ‘step on’ each other. For events with over 5-6 pilots, this means more time can be spent flying, testing, and tinkering, and less time wrangling frequencies.

We’ll be doing a more in depth review of the Connex ProSight system soon, but our initial tests look very very promising.

The Connex ProSight system is $499, and available at ConnexHD.com

(This article originally appeared on DroneRacingLife)