Hardware Depot: Matrox MXO2 LE

Stephen Yagielowicz
For those using computer-based editing systems, powered by programs such as the popular Adobe Premiere Pro software, one of the first orders of business is to get the raw video footage out of the camera and into the computer. Now PC and Mac-using videographers on the go, as well as their desk-bound counterparts, have a new choice when it comes to that task: the Matrox MXO2 LE.

According to Matrox, the MXO2 LE provides all the features of an I/O card in a sturdy, portable breakout box with professional audio and video connectivity that allows users to "edit anything, anywhere."

"This device can easily be moved among the Mac Pros in your facility as the need arises and you can take it on the road with a MacBook Pro," stated a Matrox spokesperson. "It gives you highly-reliable, broadcast-quality input/output via HDMI, SDI, and analog; professional audio inputs and outputs; and HDMI video monitoring with calibration controls including blue-only."

In addition to the Mac version, the MXO2 LE comes in a version for Windows 7 (64-bit), Vista (32- and 64-bit) and Windows XP (32-bit) laptops and desktops. Miniature and rack-mount versions of the hardware, as well as versions with Matrox MAX technology for accelerated H.264 encoding with Adobe Media Encoder, are also available.

"Matrox MXO2 LE is more than just an I/O device," Alberto Cieri, Matrox senior sales and marketing director, said. "Not only does it meet content creators needs for input, output, and monitoring, it also speeds up delivery to today's digital formats. Creating Blu-ray discs and video for the web and mobile devices is much faster than ever before with Matrox MAX H.264 encoding technology."

It's the portability of the MXO2 LE, however, that sets it apart from many of its competitors; offering a lightweight (2¾ lb.) form factor that fits in most laptop bags. The rugged 9¼" x 9½" x 2" unit features a standard 4-pin XLR power connector for either AC or battery operation in the field, using a power pack.

"Matrox MXO2 LE is ideal for mobile journalists and freelance editors who need to take their toolboxes with them wherever they go," said Wayne Andrews, Matrox product manager. "It's easy to connect to towers and laptops and supports efficient workflows in any format required – in the studio, on set, and on the road."

The MXO2 LE provides HD/SD SDI, HDMI, HD/SD analog component, Y/C, and composite inputs and outputs and gunlocks using SD analog black burst (bi-level) or HD tri-level sync. 10-bit HDMI monitoring and realtime hardware downscaling with up to five user selectable simultaneous video outputs provide for workflow flexibility.

Compatible with AVCHD, HDV, DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO5, DVCPRO, and DV, the unit can capture to HD and SD as 8- and 10-bit uncompressed streams as well as MPEG-2. Matrox A/V Tools, an easy-to-use application for fast capture/playback of audio, video, and still frames, is also included; as is a three-year warranty with phone support. List prices start at $995.

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