What is HDZero Digital FPV System (Replacing Shark Byte)

by Oscar
Published: Last Updated on
Hdzero Logo

HDZero is a digital FPV system – a step up from the traditional analog FPV system. HDZero offers higher definition video feed and is less prone to interference. In this article we will talk about what makes HDZero so popular, its products, and how it compares to DJI’s FPV system.

Shark Byte is Dead?!

HDZero digital FPV system was developed by Divimath, Fatshark rebranded the technology and called it “Shark Byte” (the previous iteration was called “Byte Frost“). Around the end of 2021, HDZero transitioned from being the supplier and manufacturer of Shark Byte to providing products directly to retailers and customer supports, and they started using the name HDZero on its products. Meanwhile, Fatshark announced that Divimath will take over support for the Shark Byte system.

DJI vs. HDZero

Currently there are two major digital FPV systems: DJI’s digital FPV system and HDZero. We also know that Orqa is working on their own digital FPV system, but there’s no confirmed timeline yet on the release.

Let’s talk about how HDZero compares to DJI’s FPV system as of today.

Popularity and Development

DJI’s system has been around for much longer and it has been solid since initial release, hence it has a bigger user base than HDZero today by comparing the size of their user groups on Facebook .

However, being the new kid on the block, HDZero appears to be more willing to listen to its users and keeps pushing out new features that the community asks for, while it can take literally forever for DJI to fix some small bugs, let alone new features.

Image Quality

HDZero’s video resolution is 1280x720p, same as DJI. The image quality from both systems look impressive compared to analog, but personally I think DJI is ahead in terms of IQ (when using their best possible configurations).

Here’s a great demonstration comparing the two system side by side:

However, the DJI video feed tends to just freeze when you lose video signal instead of gradually becoming worse like analog. The image of HDZero gets “blocky” as signal degrades, it might not look pretty but it gives the pilot a warning of how signal strength changes.

Performance

DJI handles multi-pathing interference better than HDZero (for example when flying in bando and underground carpark). However, DJI’s delay changes with signal quality, the variable latency makes it harder to control and unreliable in some situations. While that’s usually not a problem for cruising and freestyle, HDZero has become very popular among FPV racers because of its consistency latency.

Price

If you are new to the hobby, both systems cost about the same if you are buying everything from scratch:

DJI:

  • FPV Goggles ($570)
  • Vista or Air Unit with original camera combo ($165-$200)
  • Total ($735-$770)

HDZero:

  • Analog Goggles ($210-$550)
  • Video Receiver ($240)
  • Video Transmitter ($50-$100)
  • Camera ($50)
  • Total ($550-$940)

On average, both systems cost about the same, but if you already own a pair of FPV Goggles with HDMI input that’s compatible with HDZero, you would be saving a considerable amount of money (for example, the Skyzone SKY04X, Orqa FPV.ONE Pilot or the Fatshark HDO2). The HDZero video receiver can used with most FPV goggles with HDMI input (check compatibility before purchasing).

With the DJI FPV system, you would have to get the DJI FPV Goggles to use it.

Apart from the goggles, the costs of the VTX and cameras are similar between the two systems.

Betaflight OSD Support

DJI supports some of the OSD elements in Betaflight, but not all of them, for example Link Quality, which has been an ongoing request for at least a couple of years now and I don’t see full OSD support coming any time soon to be honest. On the other hand, HDZero supports Betaflight OSD fully just like analogue system.

Hardware Options

When it comes to VTX, DJI only has two and they are both pretty big and heavy for micro drones. There’s no new VTX expected anytime soon that supports the current system. However, HDZero is constantly releasing new hardware, and there will be options for aircraft of all sizes.

When it comes to cameras, both systems support third party cameras, but since HDZero is relatively new, there are currently more camera options for the DJI system than HDZero, but that is likely to change in the future as HDZero is getting more popular.

Open Source

The owner of Divimath announced on 24th April 2022 (source) that some of the software and hardware of HDZero will be open source. Hopefully this allows other companies to release their own compatible hardware for the HDZero system!

A List of HDZero Hardware

Let’s talk about all the HDZero hardware and their specs.


HDZero Video Receivers

Apart from the Shark Byte VRX, there’s currently only one VRX module under HDZero’s name.

HDZero VRX Receiver Module

Hdzero Vrx Video Receiver Module

Product Pages:

This is the latest video receiver from HDZero, expected to be available in May 2022.

The HDZero video receiver module is designed to be mounted on the front of your FPV Goggles. It supports most FPV Goggles with HDMI input, though it’s optimized for the shape of Fatshark FPV Goggles. For other goggles you might need to get creative how you mount it (might require 3D printed adapter for example).

There are four SMA antenna connectors, and you should choose the right antennas for the job. When racing or just flying around the house, all omni antennas would work well. When flying outdoor and long range, using a patch antenna like the TrueRC X-Air MK II along with a couple of onmi would be an excellent choice.

The real time clock (RTC) automatically timestamps your DVR recordings to make it easier to review footage.

ExpressLRS Backpack expansion plug makes it easy to switch channel, output power and other features from your radio.

Ambient audio recording allows you to capture the sound around the pilot, such as lap times callouts and pilot commentary.

Shark Byte RX5.1

The original video receiver module for Shark Byte but also compatible with HDZero gear.

Product Page:

The Shark Byte receiver module (aka RX5.1)  is an attachable module to Fatshark FPV Goggles. It’s weighs 80 grams, measures 105 x 21 x 39 mm.

It has two built-in patch antennas, and two SMA antenna connectors for two additional antennas (not supplied). Since the DVR in the goggles cannot record digital video, the RX5.1 has its own DVR.


HDZero VTX

HDZero Race V2

Hdzero Race V2 Vtx

Product Pages:

Specs:

  • RF power: 25mw/200mw
  • Antenna Connector: U.FL
  • SmartAudio: Yes
  • MSP Canvas Mode: Yes
  • Power: [email protected]
  • power input: 7V-26V(2S-6S)
  • Size: 34mm x 34mm x 6mm
  • Weight: 5.9g
  • Mounting: 20mm x 20mm M4 with rubber grommets

HDZero Whoop

Hdzero Whoop Hd Vtx

Product Pages:

Specs:

  • RF power: 25mw/200mw
  • Antenna Connector: U.FL
  • SmartAudio: No
  • MSP Canvas Mode: Yes
  • Power: [email protected]
  • power input: 7V-26V(2S-6S)
  • Size: 32.5mm x 32.5mm x 7mm
  • Weight: 5.4g
  • Mounting: 25.5mm*25.5mm,M2 clearance hole

HDZero Freestyle

Hdzero Freestyle Vtx

Although the HDZero Freestyle VTX has surge protection built-in, a large low ESR capacitor (450uF or bigger) is recommended to soldered to the battery leads in order to reduce voltage spikes and chances of frying the VTX. The VTX also comes with a BEC that converts 6S to fixed 5.8V with maximum 5A output current, since the input voltage of the VTX only supports up to 4S.

Product Pages:

Specs:

  • RF power: 25mw/200mw/500mw/1000mw
  • Antenna Connector: U.FL
  • SmartAudio: Yes
  • MSP Canvas Mode: Yes
  • Power: 6-15W
  • Power input: 7V-17V(2S-4S)
  • Size: 40mm x 42mm x 10mm
  • Weight: 28g
  • Mounting: 30.5mm x 30.5mm M3 holes

HDZero Whoop Lite

Hdzero Whoop Lite Vtx

This is a new version of the Whoop VTX, it targets the smaller micro FPV drones such as tiny whoops. It supports lower input voltage (down to 1S), and also added SmartAudio capability.

Product Pages:

  • TBC

Specs:

  • RF power: 25mw/200mw
  • Antenna Connector: U.FL
  • SmartAudio: Yes
  • MSP Canvas Mode: Yes
  • Power: TBC
  • power input: 1S to 3S
  • Size: 32.5mm x 32.5mm x 4mm (29x29mm inner)
  • Weight: 4.5g (without shilding)
  • Mounting: 25.5mm*25.5mm, M2 soft mounting

HDZero Cameras

Runcam HDZero Micro V2

Runcam Hdzero Micro V2 Fpv Camera

The Runcam HDZero Micro V2 is arguably the best camera for HDZero in terms of image quality at the moment. It supports camera menu for adjusting brightness, contrast, saturation, horizontal and vertical flip, and other camera settings. It has excellent low-light performance thanks to its ultra-high sensitivity image sensor.

Product Pages:

Specs:

  • Sensor Size: 1/2 inch
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 / 16:9
  • Diagonal FOV: 155° (4:3), 145° (16:9)
  • Resolution: 720p60
  • Sensitivity: 10650mV/Lux-sec
  • Input Power: 3.3V
  • Power Consumption: 0.5W
  • Weight: 8.5 g
  • Dimensions: 19x19x21mm

Runcam HDZero Nano

Runcam Hdzero Nano Fpv Camera

The HDZero Nano camera uses the same sensor as the HDZero Micro V1 camera, but it’s just smaller with the size of only 14x16mm!

Product Pages:

Specs:

Foxeer Digisight V3

Foxeer Digisight V3 Hdzero Fpv Camera

Product Pages:

Specs:

  • Power Consumption: [email protected]
  • Sensor Type: Sony 1/2″ CMOS Sensor
  • Minimum Illumination: 0.00001Lux
  • Resolution: Digital 720P/60fps
  • Diagonal FOV: 170° (Starlight) 160° (standard)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Menu: No
  • White Balance: Auto
  • Size: 19*19mm
  • Weight: 9.8g

HDZero Nano Lite Camera

Hdzero Nano Lite Fpv Camera

The HDZero Nano Lite Camera is designed for feather-light micro FPV drones, it weighs only 1.5g, combined with the new Whoop Lite VTX at 4.5g with a 0.4g dipole antenna, this combo is the world’s lightest digital FPV solution right now, all together at under 7g.

Since this camera uses the same sensor as the Micro v2, it has switchable 4:3 / 16:9 modes, customizable image settings, and excellent low light performance.

Product Pages:

  • TBC

Specs:

  • Sensor: 1/2”
  • Sensitivity: 10650mV/Lux-sec
  • Diagonal FOV: 130° (4:3), 122° (16:9)
  • Resolution: [email protected]
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 / 4:3
  • Power: TBC
  • Weight: 1.5g
  • Dimensions:: 14x16x11mm

FPV Goggles

Most analog FPV Goggles with an HDMI input should support HDZero, but goggles listed here have HDZero receiver built-in.

HDZero FPV Goggles

Hdzero Fpv Goggles Render 1 Antennas Hdzero Fpv Goggles Render 2 Analogue Module Bay Hdzero Fpv Goggles Render 3 Bottom Connector Buttons

Product Pages:

  • TBC – Available around Sep/Oct 2022

Specs:

  • On/off Power switch
  • The goggles run Linux, all code for the user interface will be open source
  • 1920x1080p 90Hz OLED screens with sliding IPD adjustment and dials for focus adjustment
  • By integrating the entire goggle display pipeline with HDZero’s fixed-latency video transmission, these goggles achieve 4ms glass-to-glass sub-frame latency with no jitter or dropped frames
  • Mounting rails for patch antennas or whatever else you might want to mount
  • Recessed front SMA jacks so you don’t have to remove antennas when packing the goggle away. Whether you install stubby antennas or TrueRC slide on patches, setup and teardown will be fast and easy
  • Three independently addressable fans work in combination to cool the internals and prevent fogging. They are soft mounted to prevent screen vibration and noise
  • HDMI input so you can use a ground station receiver, use for simulators, on the go movies, etc…
  • HDMI output so you can share your video feed to others
  • 3.5mm combination headphone / microphone jack so you can listen to analog or HDMI source audio or use a high-quality microphone for the pit-mic feature
  • 3.5mm analog video/audio input for use with ground station inputs
  • Analog input solves the vertical jitter problem found in analog OLED goggles today by using a 2D deinterlacer that adds no delay. This might be the best looking analog goggle display, despite it being a digital goggle
  • ELRS backpack support so the goggle can automatically follow the channel of the VTX
  • Add-on side-mounted analog module bay that accepts most of today’s analog modules
  • Add-on 2.4Ghz WiFi video streaming module to live steam your flights
  • Swappable faceplates to support different shaped faces and prevent light leak
  • Same display panels as the new FatShark Dominator / WalkSnail Avatar HD goggles
  • FOV: TBC – speculation, 46° FOV (16:9), software scalable to lower FOV
  • IPD adjustment range: TBC
  • Focus adjustment range: TBC
  • Power Input: TBC (speculation 2S-6S)
  • Dimensions: TBC
  • Weight: TBC

Fatshark Scout HD

Fatshark Scout Hd Fpv Goggles Sharkbyte Hdzero

Product Pages:

Specs:

  • Display: 3.5 inch TFT (1920x1080p)
  • Screen FOV (field of view): 44 degrees diagonal
  • Power Supply: 5.1mm Barrel Connector, 8-16V (2s – 4s)
  • IPD (Inter-pupillary Distance): suitable to 55 to 76 mm (fixed – can’t be adjusted)
  • Built-in Shark Byte Receiver, supports HDZero
  • Interface: Shark Byte TX upgrade port
  • Controls: 3 push buttons for OSD menu navigation
  • Built-In Patch Antenna (RHCP)
  • Built-In DVR, requires micro SD card
  • Firmware upgradeable via SD card
  • Anti-fog fan
  • HDMI Input/Output: No
  • Charging Port: USB-C
  • Dimensions: 170 x 120 x 90mm
  • Weight: 336.5g

Antennas

These are 3rd party antennas that are either designed specifically for the HDZero, or just work well on the system. You can use any 5.8Ghz antenna with HDZero system.

TrueRC X-Air MK-II Patch & Singularity Stubbies Combo

Truerc X Air Mk Ii Stubbies Antenna Hdzero Sharkbyte

Product Pages:

True-RC X-Air MK-II Patch:

  • Bandwidth: 5.1GHz-7.0GHz
  • Gain: 10 dBic
  • Polarization: RHCP
  • Beam-width: 120deg
  • Beam-width @-3dB: 68deg
  • Connector: U.fl
  • Dimensions: 34x34x15mm
  • Weight: 8.8g each

TrueRC Singularity Stubby:

  • Gain: 1.9dbic
  • Polarization: RHCP
  • Cross-Polar Rejection: -15 to -30dB (1.9%)
  • Bandwidth: 5.6GHz-6.0GHz
  • Radiation Efficiency: 99%
  • SWR: <=1.5:1
  • Connector: SMA
  • Dimensions: 12.7x20mm
  • Weight: 3.7g each

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8 comments

StSV 25th May 2022 - 11:11 am

The receiver HDZero VRX can transmit image 1080p30p to the monitor with a good resolution?
What cameras to use?

Reply
Blufkip 20th May 2022 - 1:47 pm

Will the HDzero lite camera have an extreme fisheye effect since the cam and lens are so tiny?

Reply
Nick 18th May 2022 - 12:21 pm

Are you sure any goggles with HDMI inputs are supported by the receivers?

The reason for the question is that some goggles (such as Skyzone 02c) have HDMI but do not support the HDCP protection system. That means they may not work with some HDMI sources that expect it. I’m sure I have read that 02c goggles do not work with the Shark Byte VRx. Therefore that might apply to some other goggles as well.

Reply
Oscar 18th May 2022 - 12:42 pm

The Skyzone 02C does work, but just not plug and play, direction connection doesn’t work, and you need a converter (splitter) for it to work. Skyzone acknowledged the incompatibility and they fixed it in newer goggles after that.

Reply
bvonbla 17th May 2022 - 7:57 am

It runs Linux! That’ll be a modders paradise!

Reply
rc dude fpv uk / mikey 16th May 2022 - 8:28 am

Great info, Thanks

Reply
Nikotttin 2nd May 2022 - 4:34 pm

Oscar, not all goggles with HDMI input work with Shark Byte (don’t know for the newest HDzero). My trusty sky02x would not work. I could however get the VRX to work on a TV and other monitors. Neither fatshark nor skyzone helped. Fatshark said it was developed only for fatshark. Skyzone said there’s a HDCP issue. Fatshark said it’s not the case. After months of discussions, I got frustrated and I resold all my equipment.

Please change the sentence above:
« The HDZero video receiver can used with any FPV goggles with HDMI input. » and feel free to edit this response. If you need the emails from fatshark and Skyzone, just ask.

Reply
rdgx 2nd May 2022 - 9:36 am

HDZero will be open source !!! said Carl Zhou : facebook.com/groups/hdzero/posts/378714470823187/

Reply