Today we will be taking a look at the most recent wireless video transmission system by Hollyland designed to broadcast a wireless signal in 4K – the Hollyland Mars 4K.
We first saw the Hollyland Mars 4K when it was announced on IBC 2022 alongside the company’s latest wireless monitor – the M1 (review coming up as well). Now we finally have the unit in our studio and had some time to play with it and you can see our findings in this review.
The new Mars 4K TX and RX units
The Mars 4K is Hollyland’s first system to transmit 4K video feed wirelessly from a considerable distance (officially 150m line of sight) and with low latency (officially 0.06ms in 1080p60p).
In the box
The TX and RX units are shipped in a cardboard box (a carrying pouch is sold separately) and the kit includes a DC power adapter, a mounting accessory, an OTG adapter, a cold shoe mount, and one replacement antenna.
Design and build
These units come in an aluminum fixture with color-machined aluminum 4K logo. They feel rugged but are also light enough to mount on a camera cage without weighing it down. With the battery on, we wouldn’t advise putting the transmitter on the camera’s hot shoe.
Design-wise, the first thing that’s noticeably different about this set is the new stubby antennas. This compact design is a welcome addition since it makes transporting the units a lot easier (otherwise it’s pretty similar to other Hollyland designs in the Mars line with some exceptions that we shall mention shortly).
On the right side of the units, there is a small menu screen, a clickable control dial, an on/off switch, and a USB-C port for power.
Alternatively, you can power the units with an L-type battery on the back of the unit or connect to DC power through the socket on the opposite side. Above the socket on the left side are the SDI and HDMI ports.
The front of the units features mounting holes for the provided expansion plate that allows setting up the unit horizontally. There’s also a ¼’’ mounting hole on the bottom of the units.
Mars 4K short antennas
One of the new features of this model is a color menu screen. It’s a simple menu with channel scan, fan silencing option, and pairing command.
This system can be expanded to two receivers. Thanks to the HollyView app, you can monitor the feed on four mobile devices. The app connects to the WiFi network that the transmitter emits.
All the standard assist tools are made available in the app, as well as recording a lower resolution copy (1920×1080 30p) of the feed to the device. It would be great if this app also worked as a trigger to start and stop camera recording (and we really think that it’s high time that we shall start seeing camera control integration in wireless transmission systems in general, the technology for that already exists).
Mars 4K side mounting
When powered up, the units connect automatically. If there is a discrepancy in the channels, there will be a small indicator in the top left corner of the screen. After powering up, the receiver takes about 30 seconds to display the feed.
Even before using the Mars 4K, we knew from our experience with the previous versions of Hollyland’s products that the signal strength should be really good.
There’s a new feature in the menu that shows a graph of channel strength. We tested the connectivity in our studio through walls and doors, and the feed was really stable. [our tests showed that the receiver had a better connection than the app]
Here’s a look at our latency test. We’ve set up the receiver connected to our 4K monitor and the app to see if there’s a difference in latency. Even through walls and a metal door blocking the signal, the latency was really low.
We also did a test to check how much better the 4K feed is over 1080p. We recorded two identical clips in 4k and 1080 and shot the image on our 4k 65’’ tv. Both images looked good, and it was hard to tell the difference. Only in 200% zoom could we see 4k’s advantage.
Basically, not every type of footage can really benefit from a 4K feed. It’s only when you require perfect focus on small objects with lots of details and you zoom in a lot on your 4K-compatible monitor, that you can really take advantage of the Mars 4k.
Mars 4K color display
In conclusion, the Mars 4K is another quality product from Hollyland. It’s built tough and provides great signal strength with low latency. The new antenna design makes it more portable. Being able to transmit UHD feed is also great for compatible monitors.
One feature that we would ask for is an upgrade to the app to include camera control.
As for pricing, the Mars 4K kit sells for $700.
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