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Tech Showcase: Signal Extenders

The initial distance limitations of digital video spurred a big round of video extension technology and the first wave of these tools saw units normally limited to a single video format. Now the whole stage has changed and there is equipment that can transport video, sound, network traffic and control in a range of forms that can be ideally matched to the job at hand. The products surveyed here clearly demonstrate the diversity and ingenuity to be found in this field today.

A huge market arm for signal extension has been KVM and the ADDERLink Infinity 100T puts that capability on the existing IT network as a very compact transmitter using USB bus power of less than three watts. Supporting video resolution up to 1920×1200 at 60Hz through DVI, DisplayPort or VGA, the transmitter also carries line level stereo USB audio. USB 2.0 devices such as keyboards, mice, tablets, joysticks and others may be connected.

The AJA Video Systems RovoCam is a compact block camera for industrial, corporate, security, ProAV and broadcast applications. Its sound and video signals can be received up to 300ft. away using the RovoRx-SDI UltraHD/HD HDBaseT Receiver. The receiver has integrated 6G/3G-SDI outputs as well as HDMI video and audio outputs. It supports camera uncompressed video, audio, power, and control, all over a single Cat 5e/6 cable. Eight channels of SDI embedded audio can be transported and there is a USB port for software configuration of SDI settings.

One of the more ingenious signal extension devices to be developed in recent years is the TP315-101 HDMI over AnyWire transmitter from Altinex. Carrying 1080P HDMI signals up to 300 meters using a simple 2-conductor cable, the transmitter can use up to four receivers connected directly through unbundled wire or in a daisy-chain pattern. There is also an IR pass-through for receiver end to transmitter end control. For transmitter output confidence monitoring, a video output is provided to support a local monitor.

AMX designed the DX-TX-DWP DXLink Multi-Format Transmitter to transport HDMI with HDCP, control, and Ethernet up to 100 meters over one standard twisted pair cable. It can be used with AMX Enova DGX DXLink Twisted Pair Input Boards or compatible Enova DVX All-In-One Presentation Switchers but for a point to point link it can send signals directly to a DXLink HDMI Receiver. Capable of running on power from a variety of DXLink power sources, it includes a multi-format analog port to support legacy devices and an HDMI port for digital feeds.

The KVM-1-EH-LAN / KVM-1-RH-LAN from Apantac is a KVM over IP extender set that works on Gigabit Ethernet networks to extend HDMI, USB 2.0/1.1, RS-232, bidirectional audio, bi-directional IR over a single cable. The transmitted HDMI video can be monitored on a local loop output and there are four USB ports to extend flash drives, keyboards and mice. Up to 16 transmitters and 200 receivers can operate on the same network. The audio inputs and outputs are 3.5mm mini jacks.

For 4K HDMI transmission on HDBaseT, the Atlona AT-HDR-EX-70-2PS is compatible with all video resolutions, audio formats, and color space formats supported in the HDMI 2.0b specification and it has the ability to pass metadata for HDR content. The transmitter/ receiver pair provides HDMI transmission up to 230ft. for 1080p video, and up to 130ft. for 4K HDR on CAT6a/7 cable. The front panel of each unit has power and link indicators and they run on an external 5VDC power supply.

Serving as remote input modules for SonaFlex SF16M matrix amplifiers, Audio Authority’s FlexPort audio input transmitters fit both XLR and Tip-Ring-Sleeve 1/4in. connectors and convey that signal on CAT5 to the SonaFlex system for distances up to 500ft. Other available panel styles can accept different connections. Each transmitter has a convenient override button, and the FPM-B includes an optional connection for override via microphone pushto-talk switch. Up to four FlexPort transmitters may be used with one SF-16M.

The HTW-2 HDBaseT 2.0 transmitter wall plate fits into a standard 2-gang wall box and extends 4K60 4:4:4 and HDR (18Gbps) up to 330ft. using unshielded cable while providing one VGA and two HDMI inputs. There is also directional USB for greater installation flexibility. The single PoE port powers both the transmitter and receiver and the IP port expansion allows a third party control system to send commands directly to the unit for source switching, RS-232, and IR control.

For sending DVI multimedia at video resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 over a single multimode fiber to a remote display, Blackbox has developed the AC1037AMM with a receiver that has dual DVI outputs for connecting two display devices. The transmitter features a local DVI loop-through port for a video monitor that can be located up to 16ft. from the extender system. The transmitted DVI signals can be carried for distances over 2400ft. and the EDID information can also be generated internally, and captured and stored in the transmitter.

New from Blackmagic Design are the Camera Fiber Converter and the Studio Fiber Converter which can transport video, audio, power, talkback, tally and more into a single SMPTE hybrid electrical and fiber optic cable. This allows cameras to be placed up to 2 km away from a studio or outside broadcast truck using a single cable. The connection consists of a standard SMPTE 311M hybrid electrical and fiber optic cable with a standard SMPTE 304 connector on each end. The cable features a 2 way fiber pair, data pair and power pair, along with a central strength member that gives it the needed durability for continuous use.

The CE Labs HX70M HDBaseT extender uses a single CAT5e/6/7 cable to carry 1080p/60Hz/48 bit video up to 230ft. and a 4K x 2K (30Hz) video signal up to 132ft. This extender pair features IR control and audio transmission of Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD MA. The IR direction may be set on the front panel switch of the receiver and transmitter for maximum installation flexibility. Each unit has a link indicator LED and they are powered on an external 5VDC power supply.

Crestron combines a scaler, auto-switcher and signal extender into one unit with the HDMD-300-C-E-B which consists of a 2-gang wall plate transmitter and a receiver that includes an extra local input. These are connected via CATx cable to enable scaled and auto-switched video to be transported. The builtin web server allows for configuration of routing, input, output, network, and device settings including comprehensive management of the EDID information that passes between the display, scaler, and source devices. The system is available with either black or white wall plate transmitters.

The DVI-7340 MultiPort 4K Fiber Optic Extender from DVIGear consists of the DVI7340-TX transmitter and the DVI-7340-RX receiver. The system supports a range of signals such as uncompressed HDMI or DVI, embedded audio, balanced or unbalanced external audio, bidirectional IR, RS232 and Ethernet using a single fiber optic cable. The audio channel can be either embedded in the HDMI signal or conveyed and routed as a separate analog signal. Three EDID modes are provided: Pass-through, Learn, and Factory Default.

Gefen’s GTB-UHDHBT is a tiny 4K Ultra HD HDBaseT Extender using one CAT5 with RS-232, 2-way IR, and Bi-Directional POL. It carries HDMI up to 495ft. at 1080p and up to 330ft. at 4K. Stereo and Multichannel digital audio including 7.1 channels of LPCM can be transmitted along and there is capability for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Either unit may be externally powered and send power to the other on HDBaseT.

The EX-HDU from Hall Research extends HDMI and USB 2.0 to 200ft. on one Cat6 cable. The wall plate sender has a 2-port hub for USB connection and one HDMI input. The Receiver provides HDMI audio which is extracted providing both analog and multi-channel digital sound, it can also be used to control other equipment by providing programmable contact closure I/O, RS-232 and IR outputs. The Receiver has 4 USB ports for connection to USB devices and there is optional IP and WebGui control (EX-HDU-IP).

IHSE has introduced their new Draco vario ultra series KVM extenders for handling HDMI 1.3 and 2.0, SDI, DVI-D and DVI-I (VGA) signals. They also feature de-embedding and analog output of digital audio signals. The DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0 models can convey 4K60 video and by synchronizing multiple Draco ultra extenders, much higher resolutions can be used. The SDI extender further converts SDI sources for display on standard computer monitors.

Just Add Power has a number of devices for Ultra HD over IP transport and the 3G-PoE-TX transmitter sends Ultra HD and 4K video with HDCP 2.2, with all lossless audio formats, RS232 and IR control signals to the 3G-PoE-RX receiver on a single Cat5e cable. The receiver’s built-in scalar allows any source material to be viewed at any resolution. The unit also has power and data LED indicators.

Several handy features highlight the KanexPro EXT-HDBT150M, a transmitter/receiver pair that transports 1080p/60 HD signals as far as 492ft. and supports PoE so that either unit can be powered over the CAT6 from the other. The connection for the component using external power is locking to prevent accidental disconnection. The transmission path can include IR and RS232C bi-directional control signals. The sender includes a local HDMI output for monitoring of the transmitted signal. Along with the video, uncompressed LPCM audio may also be used.

The Digital Fiber Extender 691 from Kramer Electronics is an HDBaseT 2.0 fiber transmitter for conveyance of 4K60Hz HDMI, USB, Ethernet, RS−232, IR and stereo audio signals on either multi−mode or single mode fiber optic lines. The 691 can carry video signals to up to 20.5 miles over single− mode fiber at up to [email protected] resolution to receivers such as the Kramer 692. The USB 2.0 data is bi-directional, allowing extension of HID (Human Interface Devices) peripheral devices, such as a mouse or a keyboard. The transmitted HDMI audio can be selectively replaced with an analog stereo source at the transmitter.

Lightware Visual Engineering designed the VINX Video Network Extender for 1GB networks and they have DIP switches on front for quick channel selection. Capable of operating in unicast and multicast environments as well, the extender set includes an advanced EDID management system. The extenders can scale the video up to 1080i and 4K [email protected] Even KVM functions are available through the built-in USB ports which can also handle data storage. For easy video wall installation, the system includes a Video Wall Wizard.

Opticis has introduced a new HDMI 2.0 fiber-optic extender, the DPFX-200-TR. Each extender can transmit its respective video format in 4K(4096×2160) at 60Hz up to 384ft. over a single duplex LC fiber connection. With their compact size and direct connection design, both HDFX-300 and DPFX-200 are well suited to fit into a wide range of installation environments. The HDFX-300 has adopted a High-Retention HDMI connector to prevent accidental disconnection.

For HDBaseT transmission of HDMI 2.0 in Ultra HD/4K and HDR formats, the PureLink HTE III Tx/Rx uses PureLink’s proprietary Précis codec, a light compression technology. The system sends the video and accompanying sound over CATx cable up to 230ft. at Ultra HD/4K and up to 330ft. at 1080p with embedded multi-channel audio, CEC pass-through, bi-directional RS-232 and IR control, Ethernet, and PoE. The very small transmitter/receiver pair also supports Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD Master Audio plus LCPM up to 192kHz.

Rose Electronics provides a KVM extension solution with the CrystalView DVI EX. It takes DVI video, keyboard, mouse, audio, and USB 2.0 devices up to 1,640ft. over CATx UTP cable and its stereo sound can be transmitted in either direction. The remote unit has three integrated USB 2.0 ports and these expandable to as many as 13 high speed USB 2.0 devices using USB hubs. This can be used for additional devices such as webcams, microphones, speakers and flash drives. Up to 500MA of power is available at each USB port for running high-power USB devices.

The RTI VXT-LR is an extender set for HDBaseT including 4K video, sound, Ethernet, control signals and power (PoH) for distances up to 328ft. for the 4K video and up to 492ft. for 1080p. The pair also supports ARC (Audio Return Channel) and optical audio return. There is a TOSLINK input on receiver for TV models without ARC-over-HDMI support and switchable audio de-embed or ARC breakout on Transmitter. Control signal transmission capability includes RS232 and IR. The receiver has 3 Ethernet ports and the two-way PoH enables either end to be powered for flexible installation options. The small physical size enables a unit to be mounted behind a video monitor.

Covering a long distance in a short physical profile, the SmartAVI HFXTX/RX will take uncompressed HDMI video up to 1,000ft. with resolution up to 4K Ultra [email protected] with high-quality digital audio. Its LC-Type Fiber connection is perfect for the compact hot pluggable, EMI/RFI resistant system. Transmitter and receiver each use an external 5VDC 2-amp power supply. Input and output cables can be run up to 40ft.

SnapAV’s Binary 520 Series 1080p HDBaseT conference room extender and scaler can convey HDMI or VGA with stereo audio signals over distances up to 330ft. along with bidirectional IR, RS-232 and IP over a single CATx cable. Priority can be given to either HDMI or VGA video input by dip switch settings. For more installation versatility a single 12VDC power supply can operate the transmitter and receiver units. Source equipment can be operated on the same link with system’s bi-directional IR, RS-232, and IP capability.

The TEK TPHD2-WP1 from Tekvox is a two-gang wall plate HDbaseT transmitter for HDMI or VGA/audio and bidirectional RS232 for distances up to 230ft. with PoC. The unit has a built-in scaling function with output resolution up to 4K and there is auto or manual selection between inputs that is RS232 controllable. The panel has LEDs for status indication and there is a USB port for firmware updates.

Thinklogical has a variety of extension products and among them is the TLX video extension system with support for up to [email protected] video with full duplex stereo audio, RS232 and 10/100/1000 Ethernet. Providing HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2 connectors, the TLX system can transmit embedded audio and de-embed it at the receiver. There is a local monitor output and an Ethernet port for configuration and updates. The extenders can be used with the TLX non-blocking matrix switchers with capacities of 12 to 640 ports.

From TVOne, the Magenta HD-One DX and LX can run high definition video up to 328ft. and 4K UHD signals 200ft. on CAT5e/6/6e/7 cable while the HD-One DX500 and LX500 can take those signals up to a distance of 500ft. Also carried is embedded HDMI audio with support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. The LX units also provide support for bi-directional RS-232 and two-way IR signals and they include one set of IR emitter/receiver cables along with a capability to be set to any of three IR bands: 36.7, 38.0 or 58.8kHz.

The Wyrestorm EX-70-H2X 4K UHD HDBaseT extender set supports HDMI 2.0 video and HDCP 2.2 encryption along with the full 5Play feature set. The pair takes 4K UHD up to 230ft. and [email protected] 48bit as far as 328ft. It conveys control signals on bi-directional IR and RS-232 and it provides two-way PoH so that either unit can power the other on CAT6 cable. EDID adjustments can be made on the transmitter. Audio support includes 2ch PCM audio and up to 7.1, DTS-X and Dolby Atmos. 

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