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Tech Roundup: Routers and Switchers 2024

The proliferation of digital video formats, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, has presented a substantial challenge to switching and routing systems. Typically pushing in opposite directions, flexibility and ease of operation must be innovatively united in an era in which experienced operators are difficult to find and keep. The systems shown here demonstrate how designers and manufacturers have answered the call to route a variety of signal formats and to do it easily.

The AJA Video Systems KUMO 3232-12G compact 32×32 12G-SDI router fits a 2RU rack space and supports ganged dual and quad port routing control. All the KUMO routers provide network-based and/or local control using KUMO CP and CP2 control panels. There is also a port for RS-422 serial control, a LAN port, and a USB port for configuring IP addresses via AJA’s eMini-Setup software.

Still proving itself with market staying power, the Altinex MT302-201, the 20-SLOT DIGITAL MULTITASKER, serves as the 4RU home base for a wide variety of configurations composed of control, matrix switching, transmit, and receive cards. The frame is fitted with two LAN ports, an IR blaster/receiver, and a front panel LCD screen.

Combining 3×1 switching, device control, and signal transport for K12 classrooms, the AMX JPK 1300 Jetpack system also enables voice lift for loud and clear room communication. Also a part of the system is a wall plate for convenient device connection. There is support for control through panel buttons, RS-232, Telnet, SSH, a Web GUI, and the Jetpack Manager application.

Designed for heavy duty applications, the Analog Way Zenith 100 is a 3RU rack unit with 4K60 multi-screen and multi-layer presentation switching capability. Its 13 inputs include eleven 4K60 ports. Six of these are HDMI 2.0, three DisplayPort 1.2 and two 12G-SDI along with two 1080p inputs with userselectable HDMI and SDI. It also has a flexible range of control options

Where the user requires a wide range of input compatibility and format translation in a small, 1RU package the A-Neuvideo ANI-8MFS is a strong contender. This unit supports 3D de-interlace, noise reduction and 3D comb filtering with RS-232, IP (Telnet/WebGUI) and IR controls. Additionally, there is digital to analog (DAC) and analog to digital (ADC) audio conversion.

The Atlona AT-HDR-SW-52ED fits just about anywhere and allows five HDMI source connections switched to a local HDMI output and an HDBaseT output as well. This high dynamic range (HDR) matrix switcher is equipped with Selectable 4K to 1080p downscaling, audio de-embedding, automatic input selection, and automatic display control.

In the same vein with maximum capability with a minimum footprint, the Aurora Multimedia ASP42 4K60 4×2 HDMI 2.0 matrix switcher has USB 3.1 capture ability. The USB port mirrors the second output so a PC can be connected for any of the 4 inputs to be available to that PC. Control methods include RS-232, IR, and CEC along with the LAN port. Augmenting audio output is a Dante option capable of 2 or 8 channel sound. When the needs are basic with si

When the needs are basic with simplicity and space saving in mind, the Black Box VSWHDMI2X1-4K HDMI 4K switcher routes two or four HDMI sources to a single HD display. Supporting up to 4K/30 resolution, the switcher can be mounted on a shelf or under a table for control from front panel push buttons, IR remote control, or serial connection.


In the world of TV production switching, the Blackmagic Design ATEM 4 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K can connect cameras, disk recorders, and computer source animation. This small unit outputs signals like the big guys with 16 ATEM advanced chroma keyers, creative transitions, media pool, downstream keyers, audio mixer, and multi view features.

The Bluestream PRO88HBT100CS is an HDMI 2.0 4K 60Hz 4:4:4 HDCP 2.2 matrix switcher that has a signal reach far beyond its 2RU rack space by sending HDMI, bi-directional IR, and PoC up to 320ft. via HDBaseT. It also features independent down-scaling of 4K video inputs on the CSC HDBaseT outputs. The switcher seamlessly routes any of 8 HDMI inputs to any of its 8 HDBaseT outputs

When multimedia signals must be controlled in a central location and delivered to multiple rooms the Crestron DM-MD6X6 merges its operation with any Crestron system to augment routing. Using DigitalMedia 8G+ and HDBaseT technologies, this DigitalMedia Distribution Center sends six HDMI inputs to any of its six outputs and onward to DM 8G+ receivers at the far end of CAT5e cables.

For lighter duty switching of an HDMI v1.3 compatible source to either of two devices or HDMI distribution systems, the DVIGear DVI-4521b is a simple but elegant solution. Fitting nicely on a tabletop, the switcher can be controlled from nearby with an IR remote or from longer distances using its RS422 serial port. For added security there is a locking power connection.

The Extron FOX T USW 203 three-input switcher allows mixing old video sources with the new and sending it all out on fiber to Extron receivers while also extending audio and control capability. HDCP-compliant HDMI, RGBHV, or HD component video can be used and this includes images up to 1920×1200 and 1080p/60 video. Features include a buffered HDMI output, a VGA input loop-through, EDID Minder verifying HDCP compliance, Key Minder, audio embedding, audio gain and attenuation, auto-input switching, and real-time system monitoring.

A small 4×4 matrix switcher with features like the big guys is the FSR DV-HMSW4K-44 . In addition to its HDMI outputs this unit offers four SPDIF coaxial and analog audio outputs. HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 compliant, the system supports video up to 4K @60Hz YUV 4:4:4 HDR. Versatile control options include manual pushbuttons, IR remote, RS-232, IP control, and Web GUI.

Nowhere has the dilemma of user friendliness with flexible format handling been more elegantly answered than with the Gefen EXT-4K300AMF-41-HBTLS 4×1 presentation switcher. Designed with automatic and manual switching for inputs in HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, and VGA plus analog audio, the unit can send the signals over HDMI and HDBaseT outputs.

Another proven performer with ease of operation and flexibility designed into it is the Hall Technologies HSM-44-UHD 4×4 matrix video switcher. Handling bandwidth up to 18Gbps, the switcher routes any of four HDMI inputs to one or more of its HDMI outputs. It intelligently calculates EDID for each input based on the EDID of the connected sinks while users can save and recall multiple matrix routing configuration presets.

Featuring eight inputs and four outputs, the IDK MSD-6204 digital multi switcher handles video up to 1080p and bridges the old and the new with HDMI, DVI, HDBaseT, composite video, Y/C, analog RGB, and analog YPbPr signals. The HDBaseT input supports PoH for powering devices to which it is switched. For control, the unit has RS-232C and LAN ports and all of this is packaged in a 2RU space.

One valuable asset is a routing arrangement that can be installed in one configuration and conveniently scaled up to suit evolving needs. The IHSE Draco Tera Flex is such a system, designed to fit a 1, 2, or 4RU space with up to 160 Flex-Ports saving installation time and handling both Cat X and fiber interfaces. Mission critical applications benefit from its redundant power supply unit and network interface connections.

The KanexPro HDMX88A-18G uses a minimum of space while providing 8×8 HDMI switching and separate 2-channel analog audio outputs that can be used to feed audio amplifiers. The operator can use RS-232, IR and Web based GUI for control and management through graphical or visual elements on a PC or touch panel.

Venues hosting guest speakers must have a presentation switcher capable of handling a wide variety of formats and the Kramer VP-550X does it well. This model can accept HDMI, USB-C, VGA or composite video, scale it up as far as 4K@60Hz (4:4:4) and output it on two mirrored HDMI outputs. Each analog input has a paired analog audio output in addition to DSP with audio equalization, mixing, and delay. The mic output is an especially handy feature.

With digital audio de-embedding and built in 4K to 1080P auto down scaling on all outputs, the Liberty AV DL-HDM44AS-H2 4×4 HDMI matrix also features smart EDID management and control via TCP/IP, RS-232, and IR. This HDMI 2.0b and HDCP 2.2 compliant model has a front panel LED source indicator for each of its four channels and supports up to 4K60 4:4:4 with static and dynamic HDR.

The Lightware Visual Engineering DCX-2×1- HC10 ingeniously exploits USB-C connectivity for 4K video, audio, and power transmission. While its fanless cooling system heightens reliability and quiet operation, the switcher provides analog audio de-embedding along with secure device control and configuration under the SSL and HTTPS standards.

SDI switching systems normally come in fairly big, multiple RU units but the Marshall Electronics VSW-2000 enables the use of 3G/HD/HD-SDI inputs to an SDI switched output in a very small package. The 4×1 switcher can be controlled through front panel buttons, RS-232 serial or IR remote and it is desktop or rack mountable

For small applications where all inputs are HDMI, the Opticis OHM-44UHD outputs video resolutions up to 4K@60Hz and controls all four inputs and outputs via panel buttons, RS-232, telnet, Web GUI, and IR remote. Of these, the web GUI interface allows storing and recalling up to four routing presets. EDID data is built-in and there is the capability for users to upload custom EDID files.

For the larger, mission critical applications there is the PESA Fusion 12G SDI with its capability to handle single-port, uncompressed 4K/p60 SDI video over single-link 12G transport streams. This system provides both modular SFP and coaxial cable 12Gb/s SDI interface ports. Modularity allows easy upgrades and all major components, including input/output, matrix & control cards are accessed from the front.

The PureLink Media Axis is also on the large-scale applications end with a huge range of possible configurations thanks to its modular approach. From a 20×20 system up to 216×216, the matrix frame can be equipped with any combination of input and output cards, hot-swappable power supplies, detachable iPad front panel, MCU boards, and hot swappable fan boards.

With the capacity to handle HDMI 1920×1200 resolution signals in a 16×16 matrix, the Rose Electronics Ultramatrix AV HDMI matrix switcher can be controlled via front panel buttons, RS232 serial, LAN, or optional IR remote. Repetitive switching sequences can be recorded and saved in any of 50 macros for playback when needed. 7.1 Digital Surround Sound audio is also supported.

Combining control processing with 8×2 switching functions, the RTI VXP-82 allows device control with RTI touch panels, keypads, remote controls, or mobile apps and delivers the AV output on HDMI and HDBaseT simultaneously. Conferencing cameras, microphones and speakers can also be connected. KVM control over USB provides mouse and keyboard operation from multiple locations.

For the simple requirements of a conference or huddle room the SnapOne Binary 260 Series 4K HDR switches can be mounted on or under tables and shelves. The Snap One Binary B-260-SWTCH-4×1 is the 4-input version of these economical HDMI switching units, routing any of four sources to one display. Three and five-input models are also available. Features include RS232 control and there is also an IR receiver port (receiver not included).

The Tekvox 1201-MV+ universal switcher is just that, with 6-play HDBaseT for transmission of 4K video, LAN ethernet, RS232 serial commands, PoC for powering the hub receiver, bi-directional USB 3.0, and digital audio over a single CAT cable. The unit has five HDMI and one USB-C input. Control can be performed through IR remote, RS-232, or TCP/IP. There are two separate audio inputs with switchable phantom power.

Going back to the big guys, the Thinklogical TXL320 320-port 10G KVM, Video, HDMI, DisplayPort, USB, and audio matrix switch can handle a whole plant and take inputs from 80km beyond through its multi-mode fiber, single mode fiber, CATx and hybrid configuration capability. Expandable from 16 to 320 ports, the system supports hot-swapping all critical components.

One of the more interesting and innovative new products to hit the market is the new tvONE CORIOmaster 2 video processor. Equipped with a 12 gigapixel design canvas, this system can generate up to 128 video windows with 360-degree rotation, all controllable through CORIOgrapher software, third party control systems, or a button panel. Creative features include video transition effects and luma keying. Audio sources can be embedded or external.

No external signal conversions are needed with UTAH-400 Series 2 routers and the Utah Scientific UT400 288R is a great example. Capable of up to 288 inputs and 288 outputs, the interchangeable frame cards allow the ultimate in flexibility and they are hot-swappable from the front side. The 13RU unit uses 600W power and its standard redundant power supply frame sends redundant power feeds to all modules.

Four-input HDMI switching simultaneously connected to a mix of 4K and 1080p displays is what the Wyrestorm EXP-MX-0402-H2 can do but that is not all. On sound it provides analog and digital audio de-embedding and ARC, as well as CEC triggering and a powerful API for RS-232 control. This model can send analog audio to an amp or speaker system and 5.1 audio to an AVR. Each HDMI output supports scaling down to 1080p without affecting 4K source content



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