Accsoon has announced the CineEye 2, a follow up to the original CineEye that was announced at NAB 2019. The CineEye 2 keeps the same concept as the original Cine Eye but gains increased range, lower latency, and an HDMI loop-through output
The original CineEye was a big hit with budget filmmakers as it allowed you to stream an HDMI signal directly to smartphones and tablets through Wi-fi. At $249 USD it was arguably the first budget-friendly way of viewing wireless video on multiple devices. Above you can see our video report from NAB 2019.
The Accsoon CineEye 2 is a second-generation, compact transmitter that simultaneously transmits up to a 1080p60 video signal from an HDMI source to four iOS/Android mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Improvements include a longer transmission distance of 150m (492)’, a lower latency of 60 ms, a choice of up to 20 wireless channels, power via an L-series battery, and the addition of an HDMI loop output to add an additional monitor that can be daisy-chained to other monitors.
Accsoon has been busy
Accsoon also recently released the CineEye 2 Pro which I reviewed. The CineEye 2 Pro is quite a lot larger than the original CineEye. The CineEye 2 Pro more closely resembles a traditional wireless video transmission system, than a Wi-fi based system.
Instead of there just being a transmitter, the CineEye 2 Pro consists of both a transmitter and a receiver. This way you can use the system to either transmit to iOS or Android devices or/and to the receiver unit which can output an HDMI signal to a monitor, etc.
So let’s check out the CineEye 2.
- Transmits up to a 1080p60 signal to four iOS/Android devices simultaneously over 5 GHz Wi-Fi
- Full-size HDMI type A input and HDMI loop output that supports monitor daisy-chaining
- USB Type-C camera control port
- Up to 492′ line-of-sight transmission
- CineEye iOS/Android app with features such as false color, peaking, zebra, histogram, and 3D LUT support
- Power with external source via DC input or with L-series battery plate
- Very low latency (60ms）
- High-quality audio transmission
- Camera Control supported ( requires separate cable)
- P1.3 inch OLED display
- Firmware upgradeable (via App)
- Foldable antennas and compact size
- Very low power consumption
Size & Design
The CineEye 2 features a similar form factor to the original CineEye, however, it has been modernized and improved with a new housing and an OLED screen.
The CineEye 2 weighs in at 213 g / 7.5 oz and it has physical dimensions of 10.5 x 6.85 x 3 cm / 4.1 x 2.7 x 1.2″. The original CineEye weighs 178 g / 6.27 oz and it has physical dimensions of 9 x 6.3 x 2.1 cm / 3.54 x 2.48 x 0.83″.
This makes the CineEye 2 slightly larger and heavier than the original CineEye, but not by much. You do, however, have to factor in that adding a Sony NP-F style battery is going to add a lot more weight and create a lot larger footprint.
Above you can see how it compares in size to the Hollyland Mars X.
This additional weight and footprint are going to make the CineEye 2 feel quite big on small-sized mirrorless hybrid cameras. Above you can see how much space it takes up on the Panasonic S1H, which is a large mirrorless hybrid.
The CineEye 2 gets the same exact 1.3″ OLED screen that can be found on the CineEye 2 Pro.
Accsoon has stuck with the same folding antenna design that they utilized with the original CineEye.
I personally like the new design and the built-in OLED screen is a welcome addition.
The CineEye 2 is aimed at the exact same segment of the market as the original CineEye. It was only a few years ago where wireless video systems were still expensive. Even the most basic of systems could empty your wallet. In the last year or so, affordable HDMI wireless video systems have been popping up everywhere and now more people than ever have access to it.
The CineEye 2 is aimed primarily at budget filmmakers and those shooters using mirrorless hybrids and small-sized digital cinema cameras. In saying that, there is no reason why this product couldn’t be used by anyone. at any level.
The CineEye 2 is a lot more robustly made than the original CineEye. It feels a lot more solid and a lot of that has to do with the hard metal enclosure.
The buttons and dials feel reasonably solid and there is nothing that I can see that concerns me.
The HDMI ports aren’t countersunk, so there is always going to be a chance of the connectors getting damaged or broken.
What do you get?
The CineEye 2 comes with the TX unit, user manual, and 1x cold shoe mount.
The CineEye 2 can send up to 1080p60 over 5 GHz Wi-Fi.
The CineEye 2 will automatically find a clean channel before the transmission starts, and as the distance increases will automatically lower the streaming bit rate to maintain real-time monitoring. CineEye also allows you to manually select from 20 5 GHz transmission channels. The 5 GHz Wi-Fi signal is more resistant to interference than standard Wi-Fi.
One transmitter can stream to up to four iOS or Android devices. You can use a combination of Android or iOS devices, as long as you aren’t using any more than four. The original CineEye was also capable of streaming to four devices at once.
The CineEye 2 uses HEVC compression and it can send video signals up to 1080 60p.
There is a Data Rate Setting that you can adjust on the TX unit. There are three different modes you can choose from:
- High-Quality Mode
- Normal Mode (default setting)
- Speed Mode
You can select from a range of different operating channels or just set the TX unit to Automatic channel selection.
The original Accsoon CineEye also utilized 5 GHz Wi-Fi and it had a claimed range of up to 328 feet (99.97m) line of sight with a latency of approximately 60ms. The CineEye 2 has a claimed range of up to up to 500 feet (150m), which is a reasonable upgrade over the original.
Accsoon claims that the latency on the CineEye 2 Pro is (20ms) which if it is true, is the quite an improvement over the original CineEye. In reality, usually this latency is a lot higher than is usually quoted by manufacturers. You also need to factor in the HDMI delay from the camera you are using. Some cameras have worse latency than others.
I will test both of these facets of the system further down in the review.
The screen is nice and big and it lets you see key information clearly.
The boot-up time is very slow for this device. It takes 20 seconds from the time you turn on the TX unit until it comes up on the main screen.
The menu system is very easy to navigate and for making changes.
HDMI IN & HDMI OUT (Loop Through)
Unlike the original CineEye that only had a single HDMI input, the CineEye 2 has an HDMI input (full-sized) as well as an HDMI output. This allows you to loop a signal through which is important if you are also running a monitor, monitor/recorder, or an EVF.
How is it powered?
The CineEye 2 is powered via a single Sony NP-F style battery. According to the company, a Sony NP-F970 battery can power the unit for up to 14 hours. I found the battery performance to be good.
You can also choose to power the unit through the DC input (7.4V to 8V) if need be. If you are inputting a 7.4V to 8V DC signal you can also run a battery and then hot swap that battery without the unit turning off.
The original CineEye runs on a built-in battery that gave you approximately four hours of run time. It was rechargeable via a standard 5V/2A USB charger.
iOS & Android App
If you are streaming to an iOS or Android device, you can use the Accsoon App to monitor your wireless stream. The App features a lot of functionality and monitoring tools such as focus assist, waveform, false color, zebras, in-app audio and video recording, as well as the ability to load up your own 3D LUTs.
It is fairly easy to set up and get the app running. You just launch the app, turn on the TX unit (making sure it is receiving a signal from the camera) and join the CineEye2 Wi-Fi network.
More on how it actually performs later on in the review.
If you are using the Accsoon App for iOS or Android you can also control the start/stop recording of certain cameras. According to Accsoon, the CineEye 2 will work with the following cameras:
- Canon EOS R
- Fuji XT-3
- Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
- Sony a9
- Panasonic GH5/GH5S
- Panasonic S1H
- Nikon Z6
- Nikon Z7
Now, there is a catch, you need to purchase an optional camera control cable to be able to utilize this functionality. Accsoon didn’t supply any camera cables so I wasn’t able to try this feature out.
Accsoon only gives you a single 1/4 20″ mounting hole on the bottom of the TX.
The system comes with a cold shoe to 1/4 20″ mount. This is reasonably well made, however, because there is only a single mounting hole on the bottom of the TX it can limit where you can place it on your camera. If you want to mount the TX in another position you would have to use a monitor arm or something similar.
Accsoon Go App Usability
The app features some nice functionality, however, like most app-based monitoring systems, there is certainly a lot of room for improvement.
Here is what monitoring functions are available using the app:
- Focus Peaking
- False Color
- Anamorphic de-squeeze
You can do focus magnification by pinch to zoom directly on the screen. While most of the monitoring features work ok I wish more companies (and this doesn’t just apply to Accsoon) would actually put range indicators on features such as the waveform, false color, and audio meters. Having these items marked would let you know what you are looking at.
There is also peaking and zebras but you can only change the intensity of the zebras. This can be done from 0%-100%. You can’t change the color or the intensity of the peaking, it is stuck on red.
You can put multiple view assist tools up at the same time if you need to. Unfortunately, you can change the size or position of these monitoring assist tools.
By touching on the screen you can remove all of the overlays and just see a clean image.
With the app, you can also choose to add or delete the various monitoring assist tools depending on what you need. I do find it a little strange that the Add/Del section actually names the icons, but on the main screen they aren’t named. This does make choosing some of them a little confusing.
I like that you can actually record the video you are seeing directly on the phone. While this isn’t great quality it does allow you to view back clips and also to upload something to social media if need be.
The picture quality of the signal coming up on the app is pretty good. It will probably be good enough for most people who are buying a system such as this. In all honesty, it is one of the better-looking pictures I have seen from a wireless app-based system at this price.
If you happen to lose the video signal while the app is open you will see the above warning on the screen.
I tried pulling out the HDMI cable from the TX while the app was on and then plugging it back in to see what happened. The signal re-established almost instantly and I didn’t have to re-boot anything to get it working. This was nice to see.
With any app, there is always going to be the ability for improvement through updates. Hopefully, Accsoon will address some of these issues I had with the app.
Image delay can be a problem with HDMI based devices, but it really depends on the camera you are using. Some cameras have horrible image delay over HDMI, while others are really good.
So what is the delay like if we use a camera that very little HDMI latency such as the Kinefinity MAVO LF? I measured the delay average over a series of three tests at 58.66ms when using the Accsoon Go app with the TX set to HQ transmission. When it was set to Normal transmission the average delay was 53ms. When it was set to Speed transmission it recorded an average delay of 41ms.
These results were excellent for a budget wireless video system. Accsoon quotes a figure of 60ms for latency, but they are probably calculating that by not counting the delay between what you are actually filming and your camera’s screen or EVF. My tests showed that the quoted latency is indeed correct, but this will depend on the camera you are using.
So what about if I use a camera such as the Panasonic S1H that has particularly bad HDMI latency? I measured the delay average over a series of three tests at 137ms when using the Accsoon Go app with the TX set to HQ transmission. When I switched the TX transmission to Speed I got a delay average over a series of three tests of 67ms. These results were pretty good for a budget wireless video system, especially if you use the Speed transmission setting.
What do these figures actually mean? Well, anything below 100ms is considered to be low, because most humans don’t perceive a delay that small. Once you get over 100ms we perceive a noticeable delay.
Above you can see what the delay looks like with the Panasonic S1H when you use the Normal Mode. This is the default mode when choosing the Data Rate Setting. You can clearly see the delay from what is happening in front of the camera to what is being displayed on the camera, to what is being seen on the App.
As a reference, above you can see that there is zero latency when using an expensive Teradek system (well, as close to zero as you can get. No wireless system is really zero in the scientific sense). This is a prime example of why you pay more money for a high-end wireless video system.
Look, HDMI has inherent image dealy problems, and yes if you combine that along with one of the cheaper wireless video systems you can get a lot of latency. But at the end of the day, there needs to be an acceptable limit that you are willing to tolerate. For watching via an app I can live with slightly higher latency, but if you are using dedicated TX and RX units it really needs to be below 100ms. When I say below 100ms, that is for ‘affordable’ budget systems. For high-end systems, it should be almost zero.
I was reasonably impressed with the low latency of the Accsoon CineEye 2 system, especially if you are using it with a camera system that doesn’t have bad HDMI latency to begin with.
Delay on other app-based systems
If we are just looking at the app-based latency, we need to look at how other wireless systems that can stream to an app perform. Even a device like the Teradek SERV Pro has a very noticeable delay. I did a quick test and found that I was seeing a latency delay of around 200ms. This same delay was there regardless of what camera I used or whether I was feeding an SDI or HDMI signal.
As a more realistic comparison, the latency from the original Accsoon CineEye Wireless Video Transmitter was 203ms which is far worse than you get with the CineEye 2. The Hollyland Mars X that I have previously reviewed on the site had an average latency of around 77ms when I tested it with the Kinefinity MAVO LF.
How does the CineEyes 2 actually perform in the real world? Well, let’s find out.
One of the most important things for me apart from image delay and the operating range is reliability and usability. There is nothing worse than a wireless video system where you continually have to reset the system or restart apps.
I wanted to do a few tests to see how quickly the CineEye 2 recovers when an HDMI cable is pulled out, the camera gets turned off, or the CineEye 2 runs out of battery power.
Firstly I wanted to see what would happen if I lost connection, so I turned the CineEye off and then back on again. The problem I encountered is as soon as you turn the unit off the picture freezes up on the app and it won’t come back. This is because the CineEye 2 WiFi network gets turned off and it won’t just reconnect back up. You need to reconnect to the WiFi network and then restart the app.
So what about if I pulled out the HDMI from the camera and then plugged it back in? The system re-established the connection in under 2 seconds.
What happens if I turn the camera power off and then turn it back on again? Again, the signal came back in around 2 seconds.
So what would happen if I suddenly changed the frame rate to 50p from 25p on my camera while the system was on? It took around 8 seconds for the picture to return.
So what about the operating range? The real transmission distance is relevant to the current air electromagnetic environment, because the system works in the ISM band, and therefore has exposure to all kinds of 5GHz band air interference.
With this in mind, I decided to test the range and performance of the system. To test the range of the system I remained in line of sight of the camera and TX unit and started walking away with the app running on my iPhone. I found that I could easily get 350m (1148′) and still have a stable signal. I’m sure I could have gotten even more distance, but I ran out of straight road where I was doing the test. That is not to say that the picture didn’t occasionally freeze up, but it always managed to come back.
Now, Accsoon claims a maximum operating range of 500 feet (150m) line-of-site, but this is usually only going to be achievable on flat, open terrain where there is little wireless interference. I did this test in the middle of Tokyo which is one of the most heavily congested RF and WiFi traffic areas on the planet. It was interesting to see that the CineEyes 2 was able to not only reach its claimed operating distance in this environment but exceed it by a wide margin. What you should clearly remember is that the distance you can achieve will vary greatly depending on where you are and how you are using the system.
To show just how impressive the Accsoon’s range is when using the app, have a look below at the distance obtainable with the Hollyland Mars X and the original Accsoon CineEye.
As a comparison, I also did a distance test with the original Accsoon CineEye system. I found I could get around 160m (525ft) before the signal dropped out.
With the Hollyland Mars X, I could obtain a distance of around 125m (410ft) before the signal dropped out.
Whenever I review wireless video transmitters I do the test in the exact same place under the same operating conditions. This way I get a good idea of how various competing systems perform.
The range of the Accsoon CineEye 2 was very impressive and it has by far the best range of any stand-alone TX unit that can only stream directly to an app.
Price & Availability
The Accsoon CineEye 2 will retail for $249 USD. It should be available to purchase very soon. This makes it the exact same price as the original CineEye.
How does this price compare to other wireless video systems that can stream to an app?
- Vaxis Atom 500 $480 USD
- Vaxis Atom 500 SDI $459 USD
- Hollyland Mars 300 Pro Standard $450 USD
- Hollyland Mars 300 PRO HDMI Wireless Video Transmitter/Receiver Set (Enhanced) $469 USD
- Teradek SERV Pro $1,619.10 USD
- Hollyland Mars X 1080p HDMI Wireless Video Transmitter $179 USD
- Hollyland MARS 400S $649 USD
- Hollyland MARS 400 $539 USD
- Zhiyun-Tech Transmount HDMI Wireless Video Transmitter $169 USD
Please note all of the above systems offer different features and functionality.
The closest competition comes from the Hollyland Mars X 1080p HDMI Wireless Video Transmitter ($179 USD) and the Zhiyun-Tech Transmount HDMI Wireless Video Transmitter ($169 USD). They are the only other products, apart from the Teradek SERV Pro, that feature just a TX unit that can stream to smartphones or tablets.
I reviewed the Hollyland Mars X on the site a few months ago. I liked what Hollyland did with the Mars X. It is reasonably reliable, easy to use, it has a nice app, and the latency is pretty good for an app-based monitoring system. The only real caveat with it is that 1-hour battery life, which basically forces you into powering the device through an external power source. It also only has an HDMI Input and no HDMI Output.
Teradek has its Serv Pro, but that has both an HDMI and SDI in and uses an app that has far more functionality and features. The Serv Pro can also be connected to 10 IOS devices at once. It is also way more expensive than the Atom 500.
There is also the Zhiyun Image Transmission Module Transmount Transmitter for the Zhiyun Weebill S. Although this is designed for the Weebill S it can be used as a standalone wireless transmitter that can be viewed on iOS or Android devices.
TheAccsoon CineEye 2 is well built, easy to set up and use, and it has a great operating range. The quality of the image being displayed on the app is really good. The app itself is reasonably good but there is certainly room for improvement.
As far as image delay goes it is pretty good, especially if you are using it with a camera that doesn’t have bad HDMI latency.
You need to clearly know that this system is not going to provide you with latency-free images. The results you are going to get will depend greatly on the camera you are using. In saying that, my testing showed that the latency is very minimal.
It will be interesting to see if Accsoon releases an SDI version of the CineEye 2. I think that could potentially be a popular product.
Accsoon has done a good job with the follow up to the original CineEye, and the CineEye 2 features a good blend of functionality and performance for the price. It does, however, face stiff competition from the much cheaper Hollyland Mars X.
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