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Tech Roundup: Routers and Switchers 2021

Modern AV signal switching systems have answered the challenge posed by a proliferation of new AV formats along with demand for user-friendliness and up-time reliability. Sound, video and control can be manipulated for a wide variety of devices and automated, remote-controlled operations have pushed versatility even further. As always though, the basic key is matching the hardware to the specific mission while including extra future-proofing capacity.

The KUMO 3232-12G compact 32×32 12G SDI router from AJA Video Systems is a perfect fit for medium sized facilities and it supports large format resolutions, high frame rate (HFR) and deep color formats. This model can be network operated or locally controlled while transporting 4K/Ultra HD over SDI. The new USB port can be used for configuring IP addresses via AJA’s eMini-Setup software. There is also a redundant power supply option.

Altinex designed the MT302-121 12-Slot MultiTasker for unparalleled versatility in its slotted enclosure, dual Ethernet ports and front panel controls. The LCD screen shows information about the system and the cards installed. The 3RU unit can also be controlled via IR receiver. The addition of the cards can custom tailor the MultiTasker to suit any combination of gear to which signals need to be routed and controlled.

The DVX-3266-4K presentation switcher from AMX, an InfoComm 2020 Best of Show winner, combines the functions of audio, video and control in a 2RU package while its 120W Crown DriveCore amplifier and dbx feedback suppression provide top quality sound. The four HDMI and four DXLink 4K60 inputs can be routed to any of the four HDMI and DXLink outputs. The unit can be controlled via serial, IR and Ethernet. There are also relays, analog mic/line inputs and an audio breakaway feature.

The Analog Way QuickMatrix 4K (QMX-4K) handles 4K60 multi-layer video through its ten inputs, two independent PGM (programmable) outputs and multiviewer. The inputs encompass HDMI, DisplayPort and 12G/6G/3G-DSI. There are built-in clocks, countdown timers, custom layouts with 20 memories and advanced EDID management in addition to a layer and screen freeze feature. There are also advanced video effects and flexible control options. Other features include gigabit Ethernet, I/O connector status LEDs and a fully functional simulator for offline configuration and practice.

A-Neuvideo has combined comprehensive EDID management, a built-in on-screen display and eight USB ports delivering up to 5V/1A power for use with connected optical fiber or AOC fiber cable extenders. Capable of switching freely between eight 6G HDMI sources and up to eight 6G HDMI displays, the ANI-88HDRH 8×8 HDMI 6G Matrix can be operated not only on the OSD but also via RS-232, Telnet, WebGUI and IR.

The AT-OPUS-810M from Atlona includes eight HDMI inputs, eight HDBaseT outputs and two HDMI outputs with independent CEC display control to each output. There is also comprehensive IR control management for sources and displays. Each HDBaseT output can send HDMI, Ethernet, power and control signals up to 330ft. and there is a flexible and independent audio matrix switcher. The HDBaseT outputs can power OPUS-RX receivers via Power over Ethernet (PoE).

In November, Atlona introduced a new two-input 4K/UHD (4:4:4) switcher with USB hub for its Omega Series. Available immediately, the cost-effective AT-OME-MH21 combines HDMI and USB-C inputs with a built-in USB 3.0 hub for video conferencing peripherals or touch displays. Pitched for huddle rooms, small meeting spaces, and even home offices; features include automatic display control, audio de-embedding, and 4K to 1080p down-scaling for use with HD displays. Automatic input selection intelligently switches between inputs when sources are added or removed, minimizing the need for the user to touch the device. This is particularly significant given today’s heightened health concerns as people return to shared physical

Aurora Multimedia’s 4th Generation Digital Xtreme Series DXM-884-G4 modular matrix switcher can be fitted with a versatile assortment of multimedia input and output cards in its slot based chassis/frame including HDMI, HDBaseT, and SDI interfaces. Four of the slots can serve as either inputs or outputs and the I/O cards are hot-swappable. In addition to the 5in. front panel touch screen, control options include web server, RS-232, and LAN.

The Black Box AVSC-HDMI2-8X2 video matrix switcher includes HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C and HDBaseT inputs with video signal resolutions up to 4K @ 60 Hz 4:4:4. In addition to resolution downscaling and upscaling, automatic switching and two groups of audio outputs (balanced audio and digital SPDIF audio) for audio de-embedding, there is also a mirrored output for sending out HDBaseT with audio level control. Multiple signals with different resolutions can be optimized for different displays.

BlackMagic Design has a first-rate solution for video production switching in the ATEM 4 M/E Advanced Panel with all of the familiar knobs, buttons and T-bar faders for control of the ATEM Constellation video system. This new model has 40 buttons and four independent system control LCDs for each row. Features include customized transition controls, flying graphics, green screen keying and digital video effects that can be sized with a knob twist. Switcher settings can be changed and adjusted from the LCD menus.

The Crestron HD-MD8X8-4KZ-E is one of four versions of their 4K60 4:4:4 AV switcher. With 8 HDMI inputs and outputs, it provides EDID management, Crestron control via Ethernet, HDCP 2.3 compliance, XiO Cloud service support and enterprise level security. There is also CEC device control, HDMI audio de-embedding and a built-in web interface. All of this fits into a single rack unit with front panel status lights for each input and output. Other versions have 8×2, 4×1 and 8×4 layouts.

DVIGear has one of the more versatile presentation switchers around in the DVI-3571a with both switching and scaling ability. The perfect switcher to bridge the transition from analog to digital formats, it offers HDMI (or DVI), VGA, component and composite inputs that connect to two HDMI and one VGA output. Selectable output resolutions range up to 1080p and 1920×1200 thanks to its twin scaling engines. Features include stereo sound embedding and de-embedding and control through Ethernet, RS-232, IR and front panel buttons.

Extron designed the DTP2 CrossPoint 82 8×2 4K/60 scaling presentation matrix switcher to house many of the features that have been previously found in separate physical units. This model includes audio DSP, an audio power amplifier and control processor along with DTP2, HDMI and DisplayPort inputs. There are also selectable scaled DTP2 output rates from 640×480 to 4K/60 with 4:4:4 color sampling. This unit also offers logo image keying/display and a range of other features including two bi-directional RS-232 control ports.

The DV-HMSW4K-44 from FSR is small enough to be desktop, rack or wall mounted and it can be controlled via manual push buttons, IR remote, RS-232, IP Control and Web GUI. The AC adapter has a locking connector to keep power secure for any of these mounting options. HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 compliant, the switcher has four HDMI inputs and four HDMI outputs in addition to four SPDIF audio outs. It supports Dolby True HD and DTX-HD master audio and Dolby Atmos via the copy EDID mode. There is also a USB port for firmware updates.

Bridging the gap between the old and new video formats, the Gefen EXT-4K600A-MF-51-HBTLS is a 5×1 switcher with inputs for HDMI, DisplayPort and VGA. It also provides five independently assignable stereo analog audio input and one balanced/unbalanced mic/line input with 48V phantom power and ducking. When used with Gefen’s EXT-UHDA-HBTL-RX receiver, the switcher can send signals up to 230ft. at 1080P full HD and up to 130ft. at 4K. There is an integrated IR sensor on the front panel and an electrical IR input.

Hall Research has the HSM-88-4K with Fast-Switch technology for setups requiring up to 8 HDMI inputs and outputs. Control options include RS-232, IP and front panel buttons with a two-line character LCD. Multiple matrix routing configuration presets can be saved and recalled. HDMI outputs can be blanked and any HDMI source can be shown on multiple output displays simultaneously. All of this and more is housed in a small 1RU rack or table mountable enclosure.

The FDX-S32U modular digital matrix switcher from IDK can handle enterprise-level configurations with its 32 HDCP 2.2-compliant inputs and outputs for video resolution up to 4K@60. Versatile control options include RS-232, LAN and the front panel buttons working with the built-in LCD display. Any anomalies in power supply voltage, fans, internal temperature or circuit board trigger an alarm and the redundant power supplies assure mission-critical success.

8×8 matrix switching in a small, 1RU unit is a primary feature of the KanexPro HDMX88-4K in full HD video resolution. Fully controllable through RS-232, IR and a web-based GUI, the model also has eight additional USB 2.0 connectors to support video extension up to 330ft. on HDMI AOC cabling. It can also be operated via the front panel buttons and LCD display. EDID can be manually set on a DIP switch while audio supports Dolby Digital, DTS and DTS HD. HDMI and power connections are locking and the internal universal power supply has worldwide compatibility.

Kramer Electronics has one of the more interesting developments in the matrix switcher market with the AFM-20DSP-LE with 20 analog audio ports that can be configured as inputs or outputs according to as many as ten preset I/O configurations. Among its features are multi-channel DSP, 32-bit advanced Digital Analog Converter and the ability to automate meeting room elements including lights, shades and AV devices. Line in, mic in, phantom power and line out are selectable on each port.

Multi-format presentations need only the Liberty AV Solutions DigitaLinx DL-SC41U-TX auto switcher to provide a simple and effective way to send out HDMI and extend those switched signals more than 200ft. over HDBaseT. Two HDMI, one DisplyPort and one USB-C input provide the interface needed to operate in a modern multiple video format world. There is also a 2 port USB client hub that can be switched independently or assigned to follow a video input. Display power can be turned on remotely by using pre-loaded RS232 commands.

With 16 HDMI 2.0 input ports and 8 HDMI outputs, the Lightware MX2-16×8-HDMI20-Audio-R fits a 2RU space and works for mission critical applications with its dual redundant power supply. Control is through front panel LCD/selector knob, Ethernet and RS-232. On four of the inputs, there are also analog connections for embedding analog sound into the HDMI stream. The unit can also provide de-embedded stereo LPCM audio from any of the inputs.

When switcher space is limited and HD-SDI is the format, Marshall Electronics has the VSW-2000 for presentation spaces, control rooms and as an addition to existing production switchers. This model can accept 3G/HD/HD-SDI formats and send them to a re-clocked and equalized SDI switched output. Users can apply control on the front panel buttons, IR, or RS-232. The front panel also has power and signal LEDs along with the IR sensor.

Large enterprise installations demand just what the Opticis OMM-2500 multi-format matrix switcher has. Its modular eight I/O card design can provide up to 32 DVI, HDMI, SDI or DisplayPort sources and outputs. Local and remote control options allow complete detailed setups and operation including a video pattern generator, EDID management and diagnostic function. It’s the perfect solution for video walls, control rooms and digital signage system control.

A heavyweight mission doesn’t have to mean huge rack space as PESA proves with their 2RU Jaguar-3 64X64 matrix switcher. Routing SMPTE and ITU standard serial digital video signals with embedded audio and other data, this one fits broadcast, digital cinema and control centers. Non-standard signals can be handled by switching the re-clocking circuitry to bypass mode. Genlock reference can also be switched and the Cattrax control and management software allows easy configuration using all of the versatile configuration, diagnostic and monitoring features.

The SX-8800 matrix switcher from PureLink is an 8×8 all-HDMI unit with seamless switching, scaling up to 4K/60 4:4:4 and auto EDID management. Each port also features a 3.5mm analog audio connection for embedded/de-embedded sound. The switcher is operated through front panel buttons, IR, IP and a serial connection. A wide variety of video resolutions are handled by this single rack space device making it useful for video walls, control centers and conference environments.

Rose Electronics has a larger HDMI matrix switcher in the UltraMatrix AV HDMI capable of working with up to 16 video sources and displays with resolutions up to 1920×1200. The front panel LCD screen shows the current configuration that is set up with the hardware buttons, serial interface or IP control through Windows based software. Switching sequences can be saved as up to 50 recallable macros.

Available in 4×4 and 8×8 versions, SnapAV’s Binary 120 Series HDMI matrix shows the source and destination numbers on the front panel as assigned through bi-directional IR, RS-232 and Ethernet control. EDID settings are configured in either Auto, Embedded and Learning modes. All models in the series have been thoroughly tested for stable power and surge protection while the in-line power supply features a screw lock to secure it to the unit.

The VXP-82 all-in-one control processor and AV 8×2 presentation switcher from RTI is controllable from RTI touch panels, keypads, remote controls, or mobile apps and it sends out video on HDMI and HDBaseT simultaneously. Among its features are bi-directional KVM functionality, de-embedded audio outputs and control of external devices through six routable IR ports, two RS-232 ports, three relays, three voltage triggers and three voltage sense inputs. The design allows for tabletop or rackmount installation.

TechLogix Networx adds AV device control and signal extension to the switching capability of the TL-SM3C-HDV which is small enough to be mounted under a table. A remote volume control can be added to the transmitter to remotely control audio level at the display, with the transmitter getting its power from the receiver over the signal cable. The three inputs are HDMI/MHL, HDMI and VGA. The device’s 24VDC power is attached with a screw-on connector.

The Tekvox TEK 79055-K switches four HDMI inputs to four HDMI and HDBaseT outputs along with coax and analog audio on 3.5mm TRS jacks as part of the HDBaseT 4×4 HDMI Matrix Switcher Kit. The kit includes HDBaseT Lite PoH-compatible receivers for the HDBaseT lines. Supporting resolutions up to 4Kx2K@30Hz, the TEK 79055-K switcher can be controlled with an IR remote, RS-232, TCP/IP and the front panel buttons. The LCD screen shows the routing setup changes as they are made and the whole unit fits into a single rack space.

TVOne developed the C3-340 CORIOmatrix universal I/O scaling matrix router for heavy duty, high-end applications requiring multiple format cross conversion. A modular 4RU 16-slot design, the C3-340 features low latency conversion, integral audio routing, audio embed/de-embed for SDI and DVI/HDMI and multiple control options including RS-232, TCP/IP, and Web UI. There is custom I/O resolution support along with options for redundant hot-swappable power supplies and rear rackmount supports.

The Utah Scientific 400 Series 3 router is a hybrid design that enables the use of IP and SDI for all 288 inputs and outputs. A variety of audio formats are also available including digital AES3, MADI, TDM, and AES67. Its card-based structure allows multiple inputs and outputs per card in a wide variety of formats including analog and digital. Its advanced signal processing also provides audio embedding and de-embedding. This model is well suited for enterprise and mission-critical roles.

With ultimate versatility in mind, WyreStorm introduced the MXV-0404-H2A-KIT with four HDBaseT zone outputs and a mirrored HDMI output. There is also S/PDIF and analog audio connectivity and CEC triggering. Capability includes transmitting video up to 115ft over Cat6 or 1080p/60Hz to 230ft over HDBaseT using light compression. When not in use, the system enters standby mode reducing power consumption by up to 34 percent. Four PoH receivers are included.

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