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AJA Io X3 Announced – Multi-Channel 2K Video & Audio I/O via Thunderbolt 3


AJA Io X3 Announced – Multi-Channel 2K Video & Audio I/O via Thunderbolt 3

Post-production and home studio outfitter AJA has announced the new AJA Io X3 audio/video breakout box, designed to capture and playback high-quality signals for a variety of professional scenarios, including OBS streaming, editing, and on-set monitoring.

Being able to tap into a high-end computer system for editing/grading/delivering content is one thing, getting the valuable footage into (and out of) the machine is quite another. Especially when a real-time solution, rather than a hard drive transfer, is required.

Enter stage: the new AJA Io X3. With this compact solution, AJA offers everything you need to set up a professional I/O interface for a variety of scenarios.

image credit: AJA

AJA Io X3 with Thunderbolt 3

First things first: to connect the AJA Io X3 to the host computer, only a Thunderbolt 3 cable is needed (plus power, 12 V via standard XLR-4 power adapter or battery). It becomes evident that the AJA Io X3 was designed with portability in mind.

image credit: AJA

On the rear panel, we find a multitude of connectors, which can be extended by another 8 balanced analog audio inputs/outputs via the AJA typical DB-25 breakout port. On the video side, we find 4 bidirectional 3G-SDI video connectors (can be configured as inputs or outputs) with 16-channel embedded audio as well as a reference input and LTC I/O. HDMI inputs and outputs are also present, as well as a standard RS-422 port for controlling external devices. And then there’s an additional Thunderbolt 3 port for daisy-chaining with other devices (such as an additional AJA Io X3).

image credit: AJA

The AJA Io X3 supports 2k(2048 x 1080p)/HD/SD video in various framerates and scan modes (i/p/PsF). Furthermore, the Io X3 supports both SDR and HDR formats (PQ, HLG, HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision). VPID signaling for SDR/HDR transfer characteristics, colorimetry and luminance via SDI is also supported.

The HDMI out supports multi-view output, to view up to 4-channels on one screen, which might come in pretty handy when lots of video sources are connected.

On the front of the Io X3 you’ll find a 3.5 mm headphone jack and level control for mobile and live environments, as well as audio meters for checking the levels.

Here’s a list of the headlining video specs:

  • Video formats:
    • (2K) 2048 x 1080p 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 47.95, 48, 50, 59.94, 60
    • (2K) 2048 x 1080PsF 23.98, 24, 25
    • (HD) 1080p 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60
    • (HD) 1080PsF 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30
    • (HD) 1080i 50, 59.94, 60
  • Digital input:
    • 3G-SDI, SMPTE 425 (RGB 4:4:4 12-bit*, YCbCr 4:2:2 10-bit)
    • 1.5G-SDI, SMPTE 292M (Single Link HD-SDI YCbCr 4:2:2 10-bit)
    • 270 Mbps SDI, SMPTE 259M-C (YCbCr 4:2:2 10-bit, 8-bit)
    • HDMI v1.4b (30/36-bits/pixel, RGB or YUV, 2.25 Gbps, 2K, HD, and SD)

Audio is being supported as follows:

  • Digital in/out: up to 16-channels, 16 and 24-bit SMPTE-259 SDI embedded audio, 48 kHz sample rate, synchronous
  • Analog in/out: up to 8-channel, 24 and 16-bit D/A analog audio, 48 kHz sample rate, balanced, using industry standard 8x XLR on DB-25 breakout cable (cable not included)

There’s also a downstream keyer on board, which, according to AJA “supports graphics up to 2K/HD with alpha channel over video, matte or framebuffer, or framebuffer content over incoming video or matte”.

Two units in 1RU.
Two Io 3X in 1 RU (via optional rackmount kit). Image credit: AJA

The whole unit is 8.74″ x 7.09″ x 1.65″ (222.0 x 180.09 x 41.91 mm) in size, and it weighs 3.1 lbs. (1.5 kg). For all the specs, please refer to AJA’s official documentation.

New Desktop Software

For tapping into the full potential of the AJA Io X3, you’ll need to download and install their latest Desktop Software v16.2, which can be found here. This software is used to interact with all KONA, Io and T-TAP Pro products.

Desktop Software v16.2
image credit: AJA

The new version 16.2 includes the following new features and improvements:

  • macOS Monterey and Windows 11 support
  • Multi-channel support for OBS Studio (v2.27 onwards) at up to 4K/UltraHD 30p and 2K/HD 60p for KONA 5, KONA 4, KONA HDMI, Io 4K Plus, Io X3, and T-TAP Pro
  • 12-bit, 4:4:4, RGB 4K/UltraHD firmware for KONA 5 and Corvid 44 12G
  • 12-bit LUT support and .cube LUT compatibility enhancements for AJA Control Panel
  • H.264 and H.265 capture and playback for AJA Control Room
  • Deep memory buffers for sustained playback for AJA Control Room
  • MultiView on HDMI output, offering display of multiple sources to one monitor, via SDK v16.2 and KONA 5
  • Access to the core AJA SDK for the open source developer community
  • 64/32 channel audio support for KONA 5, Corvid 44 12G, Corvid 88, and Corvid 44

Pricing and availability

The new AJA Io X3 is available now, and it sells for $1,599. it officially supports Apple’s latest M1 chips as well as their latest operating systems. Microsoft Windows is supported too, of course. For a full list of compatible applications, please refer to AJA’s official compatibility chart.

image credit: AJA

If you need 4K, the AJA Io 4K Plus might be an option, but that one sells for $2,999, so double the price of the Io X3.

Link: AJA website

Do you already use other AJA products for your digital workflow? Share your experiences in the comments below!


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