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Tech Showcase: AV Switchers & Routers

This month we take a look at a variety of AV switchers and routers in various sizes, with varying capabilities. As most of us know, the switcher/router is essentially the “center” of most AV designs.  All inputs and outputs of the system are sent to/from their respective destinations via the AV switcher/router. Since all inputs and outputs can potentially differ by signal type, resolution etc. the switcher/router many times must also provide passing HDCP, scaling, and signal matching.

Altinex introduces the ST100-001 ShareTime Collaboration System. Resembling a flash drive, the ShareTime adapter connects through any HDMI cable to an HDMI display. Using CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) control signals, ShareTime enables users to turn the display on and select different inputs just by touching the top surface of the ShareTime adapter. Users can connect as many ShareTime devices as the number of inputs on the display or the number of inputs on the CEC compatible HDMI switcher permits. The Altinex ShareTime Collaboration System is a good solution for small group collaboration environments, including conference rooms, libraries, schools, and huddle rooms.

The Enova DGX 100 Series is AMX’s newest family of modular digital media switchers that combine full 4K/Ultra HD video switching support, independent audio switching, and a NetLinx NX Series control processor within a single enclosure. The DGX 800 (8×8), 1600 (16×16), 3200 (32×32), and 6400 (64×64) deliver a secure, flexible integrated solution. With the new Audio Switching Boards, the DGX 100 Series supports audio breakaway, advanced audio processing, and provides an industry exclusive 10-band parametric EQ per output. The DGX 100 Series also includes a number of new enhancements to make commissioning easier, including endpoint auto-discovery, the ability to use a single IP address for all endpoints plus the DGX enclosure, as well as a new HTML-based web interface for configuring, testing, and troubleshooting without requiring specialized software. With the ability to send AV and Control over twisted-pair or fiber and AMX exclusive SmartScale and InstaGate Pro technologies, the Enova DGX 100 Series is an ideal solution for applications throughout a commercial space.

SmartMatriX Ultra is a high-end 12×4 scaled native matrix, based on Analog Way’s LiveCore platform. It offers versatile AV connectivity for any setup through 12 true seamless inputs and 42 source plugs: 6 x HDMI, 9 x DVI-D, 3 x DisplayPort, 12 x 3G-SDI, and 12 x Universal Analog. SmartMatriX Ultra supports any source from composite video to 2560×1600 and 4K, and outputs a variety of formats including HD-TV and computer formats up to 2560×1600 and 4K. The machine provides two true seamless scaled layers per output. The Native Background allows an additional third layer on any output. SmartMatriX Ultra can be controlled via the Web RCS, an intuitive Web-based Remote Control Software. To facilitate the ease of integration, SmartMatriX Ultra can be easily controlled through AMX and Crestron 2 or 3-Series systems thanks to a full package of drivers available.

Black Box announces its VSW-HDMI4X1-4KHDMI switch that connects four HDMI sources to a single high-definition display. The switch supports resolutions up to 4K (Ultra HD) and has a smart auto switching function that enables the device to automatically switch to a source when it becomes active. Smart EDID functionality enables the switch to either read and copy EDID automatically from screens, or manually copy audio/video EDID information. Slim form factor allows the device to fit into tight spaces.

Smart Videohub 40×40 is the newest model in the Blackmagic Design Videohub family of mixed-format routers, which are the world’s first Ultra HD mixed-format routers to include built-in, large 5in. high-resolution video monitoring and spin-knob router control. They also feature Blackmagic Design’s unique visual routing user interface and 6G-SDI technology allowing SD, HD, and Ultra HD routing all on the same router at the same time. Smart Videohub 40×40 also includes an elegant machined metal front panel with full router control as well as built in LCD monitoring.

The all-new 3-Series 4K DigitalMedia Presentation System 150 delivers 4K switching and scaling with simple setup powered by new Crestron .AV Framework technology. Integrators simply connect their cables, specify the sources and displays, and the system is up and running without custom programming. Well-suited for classrooms, small and medium conference rooms, and huddle spaces, the DMPS3-4K-150-C combines DigitalMedia technology with a built-in, IP-based 3-Series Control System, 10X1 4K multimedia switcher, mic mixer, and audio DSP. The exclusive built-in 4K scaler can convert any resolution and frame rate to any other resolution and frame rate, up to 4096×2160. Integrators can easily create an instant switching system by connecting up to four Crestron Connect It (TT-100) cable caddies. The USB port is used for control, HDMI and VGA for video, and a separate audio connection for VGA. Setting up display control is easy; using an iPad or computer, the installer selects the display and .AV Framework does the rest. The installer can also set up volume control and choose icons and text labels for sources to get a presentation system up and running in no time. The switcher directly communicates with Crestron Fusion Enterprise Management software to enable network room scheduling, and to remotely monitor, manage, and control the technology in the room.

DVIGear’s MXP Series modular matrix switchers offer an unprecedented range of cross-platform routing capabilities with frame sizes from 8×8 up to 80×80 and a range of more than 60 I/O cards available. These switchers support resolutions up to 4K, offering systems designers and integrators the power and flexibility they need to build future-ready AV distribution environments. The 4K and TPS I/O cards support distribution of uncompressed signals with resolutions up to 4K over copper or twisted-pair cables. These I/O boards are also available with analog or digital audio break-out connections that support advanced audio embedding and de-embedding functions. Together, these matrix switchers and I/O boards are the cornerstone for a truly future-ready AV system.

The Extron IN1604 DTP is an HDCP-compliant scaler with three HDMI inputs, a universal analog video input, and an Extron DTP output, in a compact, 1U, half-rack enclosure. The IN1604 DTP is ideal for installation beneath conference tables and in lecterns to provide localized switching and support for sources such as presenter devices. The DTP output allows signal extension up to 330ft. over shielded CATx cable to reach a wall- or ceiling-mounted display. The IN1604 DTP provides the fast and reliable switching, along with a high-performance scaling engine for HDMI and analog video sources. It delivers essential audio integration capabilities, including HDMI audio embedding and de-embedding, and flexible audio switching with two individually assignable analog audio inputs. The scaler also features convenient options for remote control and operation, including front panel controls and on-screen menus, USB, RS-232, and contact closure with tally output for easy integration into a variety of environments.

Connect quickly and easily with FSR’s new DV-HMSW4K-88 8×8 HDMI Matrix. The DV-HMSW4K-88 routes eight HD sources to any eight HD outputs. The unit supports 1080p full HD up to 4K plus all 3D formats, along with multichannel digital audio formats such as PCM, Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Key features include resolution support up to [email protected] 48-bit deep color, [email protected], allowing any source to be displayed on multiple displays at the same time and any HDMI display to view any HDMI source at any time. Additionally, the DV-HMSW4K-88 offers PCM, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD master audio pass through HDMI output, multiple switching mode, push button, IR remote control, RS-232 control, and TCP/IP control with full 3D pass-through. It is also HDCP compliant. The DV-HMSW4K-88 includes nine IR receivers, eight IR transmitters, handheld IR remote control and power supply. Suitable applications include, but are not limited to videowall systems, large LED sign boards, medical imaging equipment, TV broadcast stations, control rooms, auditoriums, conference/boardrooms, and houses of worship.

Gefen’s next-generation Multi-Format Processor (EXT-MFP) supplies a comprehensive, centralized solution that integrates multiple sources using HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, VGA, and composite inputs. Two high-definition displays can be connected using the HDMI and DVI outputs. This processor supports two additional digital audio sources (optical and coax) as well as two analog (mini-stereo) audio inputs. This one enclosure combines video source switching and audio processing in one convenient solution. Selected video is delivered as 1080p full HD with 3DTV pass-through, supporting 1080p full HD (HDMI) and 1920×1200 (DVI) with HDCP. Independent audio is processed and delivered as two-channel (L/R) audio. The Multi-Format Processor supports a wide array of sources including computers, tablets, set-top boxes, gaming consoles, media players, and more. Easy IP control is enabled through the Gefen Syner-G software. In addition, RS-232 and IR remote capabilities are included. Independent password-protected user and administrator access provides powerful levels of control for the user. 

Hall Research’s UHBX-SW3 is a kit comprised of a multi-input, wall-plate transmitter and an HDBaseT receiver. The wall-plate accommodates two HDMI inputs and one VGA; one of the HDMI inputs supports MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link with charging feature), and the VGA input can also support YPbPr Component video. The sender can manually or automatically switch among the inputs and extend the audio, video, using HDBaseT standard. The wall-plate also generates RS232, and IR control signals (for turning the display on and off) and sends those on the same Cat-6 cable. 4K (ultra HD) video is supported to 330ft. (100 meters) and 1080p (full HD) up to 500ft. (150 meters). The wall-plate is powered through the same cable from the receiver using PoH (Power-over-HDBaseT) standard, and fully complies with HDBaseT Alliance’s design specifications. It may also be directly connected to displays or projectors with HDBaseT inputs using a PoH-compliant power inserter.

The Kramer Electronics VP-773AMP ProScale presentation scaler/switchers accepts multiple-format input signals and then switches and scales them to the native resolution of the connected display devices, which results in fast, clean switching and the highest possible image quality. The VP-773AMP is ideal for homes, boardrooms, hotels, churches, lecture halls and training rooms, as well as more complex installations. The VP-773AMP has four HDMI, two VGA, one composite video, one DisplayPort input, and two HDMI and one HDBaseT output. It can accept signals from DVD players, satellite decoders, document cameras, computers, videoconferencing systems, and more. The unit features Kramer’s PixPerfect Scaling Technology, which results in ultra-fast, glitch-free switching, and superior image quality. The VP-773AMP not only features EDID Management on the outputs like most scaler/switchers, but it also has the ability to set a user-selectable EDID for each input on the unit. This is a significant advancement in scaler/switcher design that results in a noticeably enhanced user experience and improved image quality in many applications. The VP-773AMP also features a unique and extremely important Mass Notification and Emergency Communication (MNEC) feature that provides the ability to have a national or campus-wide notification immediately displayed when an emergency situation develops.

The Lightware 25G-FR160x160 frame handles up to 160 input and 160 output ports, making it one of the largest on the market. This frame manages signals on eight different layers, which means the signals are switched in three dimensions. The 25G frames are able to transmit video signals up to 4K resolution; support all 3D formats; handle forward and return audio; and transmit USB-KVM, Ethernet, bidirectional RS-232, IR, and CEC signals. The intuitive graphical user interface makes the controlling of the matrix very easy and allows the user access to all the functionality. Lightware’s Advanced EDID Management is included in the frame, which is also HDCP compliant. Each board contains electronic components that are hot swappable, making configuration changes very easy and quick, and it also means that the system is able to work 24/7 without any delays. If any error occurs, it can easily be fixed without switching the matrix off. Redundant power supplies and CPU such as the monitoring board also are available for this frame for fail-safe operation in mission-critical applications. The 25G CPU stores the settings of all boards and send backups for the second CPU. If the first CPU fails, the second takes over automatically with the same settings. With the redundant power supplies, N+1 and N+2 redundancies can be reached. This frame can come configured with 120×120, 80×160, and 160×80 crosspoints, as well. Software upgrade for these frames is available if the user wants to raise the capacity up to 160×160.

Opticis introduces its OMM-1000andOMM-2500 16×16 and 32×32 multi-format modular matrix switchers. The OMM series switchers are 16×16 or 32×32 DVI/HDMI/SDI. Controls include a general PC software like Hyperlink terminal, telnet, or web browser. It can be configured using input and output cards. The easy programming feature is accomplished in various manners such as manual input of front key or command line (ASCII or Binary code) input with various interfaces of RS-232, and TCP/IP, and it offers flexible installation with other video controllers or control software. The input and output cards are composed of four ports DVI/HDMI/SDI, therefore the user configures any input and output channels from 4X4 to 32X32 by plugging the cards into the OMM mainframe. The switchers also support wide-range compatibility with respect to systems, consisting of various DVI sources and various digital monitors. It has been designed not only to fully execute the DDC /HDCP (Electrical DVI, HDMI cards only) function between any inputs and outputs, but also to have users designate EDID to inputs for wide compatibility.

The thinklogical VX40 is a compact, high performance modular router and non-blocking matrix switch for end-to-end routing of video and peripheral signals over multi-mode or single-mode fiber optic cable. Expandable from 5 x 5 up to 80 x 80, the switch can also be configured for bi-directional switching and routing of data and video, up to 40 x 40. This allows for flexible deployment configurations for a variety of small to medium sized computing environments. The router features fiber optic matrix switching in configurations up to 80 x 80 directional switching or up to 40 x 40 duplex ports for bi-directional, non-blocking switching and routing. Each video connection supports 6.25 Gbps.

The tvOne C3-310 CORIOmatrix mini is a 1RU modular video routing switcher that utilizes firmware-based video routing, switching and signal conversion. The company describes it as a 12-port matrix router, scaler, format converter, audio router and HDBaseT textender in one unit. Modular hardware with 5 (or 16 with the larger 4 RU, C3-340) configurable AV module slots offer a wide mix of signal management options plus two fixed, universal inputs. All CORIOmatrix functions can be controlled via RS-232 or IP. A detailed web browser interface is provided for both video/audio routing and setup of the router and can be used as the main control interface if desired. Built-in command line interface permits a wide choice of control options; AMX and Creston modules are also available. Digital Flicker Elimination circuitry and 4:4:4 full bandwidth sampling supports faithfully reproduced, high-resolution colors. Pixel Level Motion Adaptive Diagonal Interpolation and Noise Reduction supports high quality de-interlacing of PAL, NTSC and 1080i signals. 3:2 pull-down ensures proper 24 fps film extraction from NTSC and 1080i sources. Integral audio switching is provided to route audio from the DVI (HDMI- compatible) input or SDI input to the DVI and SDI outputs. An optional Audio Module can provide AES and analog or digital I/O breakout capabilities and can link to the A2-7300 range of audio breakout units.

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