HDZero Full Steam ahead while DJI faltering?
In July 2019 FPV was turned on its head when completely out of the blue DJI released the Digital FPV system based on their Ocusync P1 technology.
This system brought 720p FPV with variable latency as low as 28m in a simple-to-use off-the-shelf package. Out of the box, it wowed users with its clear image quality and simple setup.
This stunned the FPV market and Fat Shark, the market leader in FPV goggles at the time was left scrambling and quickly reacted by releasing ByteFrost, a digital system based on Divimath technology. While this system did not quite stand up to DJI’s offering it was the birth of what we have today, known as HDZero. Originally sold as Shark Byte under the Fat Shark Brand HDZero is a 720p fixed near-real-time latency digital FPV system that’s ideal for racing.
While the system had a slow start under the Shark Byte brand 2021 has been a year of massive improvement and expansion for the HDZero system with Divimath taking the lead on marketing and development. There have been lots of improvements with the system now comprising of 5 VTX’s and new cameras from Runcam and Foxeer. There is also promise of a new high power VTX and 3 new receiver modules in early 2022.
What is stark is the change in the development of both systems. While in the early days DJI had a clear lead in adoption with its very good performance, continued support and new features like 50Mbps mode and increased range. Today on the other hand things could not be different. The system has seen no new features in over a year, annoying issues and firmware bugs remain unfixed and important new features such as canvas mode, discussed by DJIs partners are nowhere to be seen. While the system has had new cameras released by 3rd parties like CaddX and Runcam the overall system seems to have fallen into DJI’s usual latter stages of its product life cycles which we have seen time and time again where they slowly fade before being made end life or replaced altogether.
On the other hand, things at Divimath and HDZero could not be more different, in 2021 the system won the MultiGP with Evan Turner. They are embracing and communicating with the FPV community through social media and their development is in full swing. Today HDZero is growing from strength to strength and building a loyal customer base that not only wants to support the company but also feels they are buying into a product that has a future.
It’s also worth mentioning that while HDZero has taken much of the control of their system back in house right now Divimath are a semiconductor company and their goal remains to supply the chipsets and underlying technology for any manufacture to use and not just manufacture the end product themselves.
Like Nextwave who became the major player in Analog FPV, Divimath wants to do the same for digital with their HDZero technology.
Today FPV is in the beginnings of the transition into a digital future and while no one is expecting analogue to vanish overnight today the playing field remains more level between the two companies than ever before with the pendulum swinging toward HDZero favour. As time goes on people are starting to question DJI’s long term goals in FPV with the lack of any updates and even if the system will still be here in 12 months time. Add to that there are rumours of more entrants to the market around the corner with Orqa set to show what they have been working on at CES this week.
The future of digital FPV looks to be one with many players involved and more segmentation than the community is used too however today HDZero seems to be taking the lead above the rest, for now at least.