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Technology Showcase: Matrix Switchers

Sep 1, 2009 2:14 PM, By Jay Ankeney

Scalability is just one feature in a long list.

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Communications Specialties Fiberlink Matrix 32x32 optical router

Communications Specialties Fiberlink Matrix 32x32 optical router

Available with LC or ST connectors, the Fiberlink Matrix 32x32 optical router from Communications Specialties is fully compliant with SMPTE 297-2006, supports up to 3G-SDI data rates, and works with both single-mode and multimode fiber. Unique to the Fiberlink Matrix is the ability to configure the number of inputs and outputs in any fashion. The 3RU tall Fiberlink Matrix is easy to operate with the multicolored and illuminated front-panel buttons, and it can be remotely controlled via RS-232 or the Ethernet-based GUI. Operators can quickly and easily create, store, and recall operational presets. They can even transport those presets to other Fiberlink Matrix routers via the front-panel USB port.

Crestron DM-MD8X8

Crestron DM-MD8X8

As part of the DigitalMedia product line from Crestron, the DM-MD8X8 matrix switcher is field-configurable to handle up to eight sources and to provide up to eight DM room outputs with expansion capability for even larger applications. The DM-MD8X8 is capable of accepting and distributing all analog audio and video, uncompressed digital signals, HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, HD-SDI, Ethernet, and USB keyboard/mouse control. Its larger brother, the DM-MD16X16, offers a choice of eight or 16 factory-configured twisted-pair or fiber DM outputs (or eight of each). Both feature input cards for every signal type, including the HDMI card with DSP. Using multimode fiber, such as Crestron CresFiber, DM signals can be transmitted up to 1 kilometer because CresFiber is standard cable using SC connectors and guarantees the 1.2GHz of bandwidth necessary to transmit 1080p with deep color.

The PureLink line from Dtrovision has now been expanded by its new MX-1800 (18x18) and MX-3600 (36x36) modular digital matrix router series, which combines DVI or HDMI in one chassis for large-scale everything-to-everything 1080p HD routing. Since they are a modular design, users can buy the chassis model that fits their needs and populate the input slots with boards of their choice while maintaining the integrity of HDCP throughout. The MX-1800 and MX-3600 support up to WUXGA (1920x1200) resolution at 60Hz as well as 1080p60.

For a less-expensive integrated design, Dtrovision offers the DX-8800 Pro (8x8), DX-6600 Pro (6x6), and DX-4400 Pro (4x4) matrix switchers, which include a breakthrough feature called Flexible EDID Management that PureLike claims is “the most advanced EDID functionality available today,” thanks to an EDID emulator on an erasable programmable read-only memory (EPROM) chip on every output. Controllable by any external controller (e.g. Vista Systems Spyder, Barco Encore), the DX-8800 Pro, DX-6600 Pro, and DX-4400 Pro boast two-line LCD displays for intuitively rapid switching, pixel reclocking, and error correction for optimal picture quality.

The EQX platform from Evertz has the ability to route up to 576x576 signals in a compact 26RU frame designed for performance ultrawideband routing, making it ideal for mission-critical and demanding 24/7 applications. In convenient steps of 18, the number of inputs and/or outputs can be increased from the base size of 18x18 all the way up to 576x576 and beyond in square and nonsquare configurations. The EQX’s Source-By-Source intelligent autoconfiguration capability allows the path to each destination to be independently and instantly reconfigured to suit the requirements of the source being switched. This includes autoselecting the reclocking/nonreclocking circuitry, the ASI mode, as well as the correct switch point.

For smaller installations, Evertz offers its cost-effective EQT-3232, a 32x32 SD/HD/3G front-accessible router. Both the input and output stage of the EQT are fixed at 32 in the coaxial version and expandable in blocks of two (to a max of 32) in the fiber version. The power supply for the EQT router is internal, but the EQT can also be fitted with an optional redundant internal power supply that is hot-swappable.

Extron Electronics makes both fiber and twisted-pair matrix switchers. The new MTPX Plus series comprises the most integration-friendly twisted-pair matrix switchers on the market, enabling AV systems to be installed with greater efficiency thanks to enhanced integration features such as dynamic skew compensation, local audio outputs, local RS-232 insertion ports, and local video inputs and outputs. The MTPX Plus 128 features EDID Minder, a selectable feature that enables automatic and continuous management of the EDID information between the local input sources and the local displays. In addition, the Extron MPX Plus 866 A ProDSP media presentation matrix switcher is actually four matrix switchers in one: 8x6 VGA, 6x6 composite video or S-video, 14x6 stereo audio, and 4x6 mic/line matrix mixer.

On the fiber side, Extron’s Fox 4G Matrix 14400 is a high-performance, modular fiber-optic matrix switcher for large-scale systems that require complete, end-to-end digital AV signal transmission and routing over fiber-optic cable. It is expandable from 16x16 to 144x144 in size, and it supports up to 4.25Gbps all-digital switching. It boasts perfect pixel-for-pixel transmission of video, computer video, DVI, and HD-SDI.

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