Altinex Multitasker FAQ
Aug 2, 2005 11:23 AM
What is a MultiTasker?
It is a modular and highly adaptable AV system, which integrates all AV and control components in one place, with a single power connection and a single point of control access.
The concept is similar to that of a customizable PC. Select an enclosure, select the AV and control components, select the control software and then build the system.
How long does it take to configure a MultiTasker, once the customer has decided on the AV system specifications?
It depends on the size of the project. Planning a small installation may only take a couple of hours, while planning and major project, such as linking classrooms or designing a AV system for a museum may take several months. It is not any different to plan an AV system with the MultiTasker than with stand-alone equipment.
The main differences are the savings involved with the installation of a MultiTasker over stand-alone equipment:
- More than 50% saving of rack space
- Over 30% shipping and transportation cost savings
- Up to 40% savings in hardware cost
- Up to 50% less installation time due to factory pre-configuration and ease of programming and only one RS232 access point for all components
- Up to 60% less maintenance, single cards can be swapped on site, no need to return the entire unit
- More savings
What is involved in expanding an existing MultiTasker system with additional A/V equipment?
It can be as easy as just plugging in an additional card. It depends if the current MultiTasker enclosure has enough spare slots available. Adding additional cards to an enclosure that doesn't have enough slots may require the exchange of the enclosure for a larger one or adding a second enclosure that will be daisy-chained to the original one. Overall it is not a very complex task and doesn't require the return of the unit to the manufacturer.
How are sources identified on the front panel?
The MultiTasker system has its own control code which allows the user to custom program the front panel of the MultiTasker. Altinex provides a Windows based software. The user interface is either interactive or based on a script file. The MultiTasker can also be programmed and controlled directly by AVSnap software.
Is there a backup power supply available to MultiTasker installations?
Yes, the MultiTasker can be outfitted with a second power supply (MT200-106) that also doubles as a power enhancing unit when the systems requires more than standard power. This depends on the configuration of the system and which cards are being used.
What types of system information can the MultiTasker provide to the operator?
It depends on the card that is plugged into the unit. The enclosure itself will provide limited status information about the system status. Individual cards can provide feedback such as on/off status, signal detect, current switch position, volume control, and host of other commands. The MultiTasker can be configured to provide feedback on request or automatically as changes are detected.
Can the MultiTasker function as a distribution amplifier and switcher at the same time?
Great question! The MultiTasker can be everything at all times. The beauty of the MultiTasker system is that it actually combines all systems components in one integral and controllable product. The MultiTasker can be as simple as an enclosure with a single scaler card or as complex as a twisted pair 12x48 switcher, with a number of scaler cards, DA's and audio switches that are all logically connected and programmed. Your imagination is the limit.
How long does it take to learn to program the MultiTasker?
Only a few minutes to do the basics. It can get a bit more involved with larger systems.
How much disk space does the MultiTasker Control Software use? Is it difficult to install?
Either software, MT -- Setup or AVSnap only take a couple of minutes to download and install. Both software packages are self explaining and only on more complex tasks will the user have to consult the user guide, which is included in the software. The program takes about 12MB of hard disk space.
Altinex also provides a programming service for more complex tasks and complex control systems.
How do Simtrol's new control libraries work with AVSnap?
It works just as any other library.
Does it usually require an A/V manager to borrow someone from the IT department or hire a contractor to make expansion updates to the MultiTasker?
Since the MultiTasker is based on standard AV principles it does not require the help of an IT person to help expanding a MultiTasker configuration. All cards are based on Plug&Play technology and will be recognized when added or removed from the system. Even adding a second or third enclosure, or any of Altinex' MultiTasker Friendly Stand-alone image processor products, like the AP445-103, seamless switcher. These additional units may be daisy-chained to the main enclosure and can be easily control from there.
How are the individual sources identified on the front panel of the control switcher?
Individual sources and destinations are recognized on the front panel by pre-printed labels that are inserted into the front panel buttons. When using AVSnap as the control system, any images or icons may be used to display the input or/and output sources.
How will high-definition TV impact the MultiTasker system?
Most of our MultiTasker cards will be able to handle HDTV quality video.
Is it possible to configure a system in which users in multiple rooms, such as classrooms, can use IP control to locally switch a number of sources into their own displays? What types of such switching interfaces are available?
Yes, this is possible. The MultiTasker can be set up to feed any kind of signal via a freely configurable Matrix switcher. This unit can then be controlled and accessed with AVSnap from a local PC, wall mounted control buttons or touch panel screen.
What type of twisted pair cable is normally used for MultiTasker applications? CAT-5, CAT-5e, CAT-6?
All Twisted Pair products from Altinex can either use any common CAT-5, CAT-5E or CAT6 cable. This makes the connection of AV products over an existing network easy and cost effective. Altinex twist pair products, MultiTasker based or Stand alone, have build in equalization that allows correction of a video signal for long cable runs. To ensure the best results and the longest distance possible Altinex offers no-skew twisted pair cable which does not require any equalization.
Does the MultiTasker have any capability to store and play multimedia information?
Yes, the MultiTasker product line offers a MPEG player card, the MT106-110, with up to two gigabyte (2GB) of image and sound storage on flash memory. The card can be programmed to loop images, run a sequence of images or randomly display images. The card currently comes with VGA or composite output.