Oct 5, 2010 1:25 PM, By Bennett Liles
The current market for routing switchers is a very dynamic place, with the explosion of digital video formats including HDCP and EDID links while new control and configuration options have been added to the mix. Expandability and a trend toward modular internal media conversion have been balanced by new options in redundant power and hot-swappable components. The models we cover here are representative of these latest developments, and they range in size to suit any mission from presentation to plant-wide routing.
The new HDMI-UTPRO-0808 from AMX can route eight HDMI 1.3 sources to monitors nearby through HDMI cable or over much longer distances on twisted pair with full HDCP compliance. For the longer distances, the unit uses Valens’ HDBaseT technology to support transmission of uncompressed 1920x1080p, audio, and control data up to 100 meters. Using AMX native NetLinx, the UTPro receivers offer remote display control through IR or bidirectional RS-232 serial at various baud rates, and the Ethernet port provides control by way of an embedded web interface. AMX HDCP InstaGate technology offers low-latency switching of HDCP-protected content.
The 3D compatible 4x4 HDMI Matrix Switch from Black Box Network Services has signal boosters on its ports to amplify HDMI signals for transmission with delivery of 12-bit deep color up to 60ft. The rackmountable unit provides a video bandwidth up to 6.75Gbps for support of resolution up to 1080p. It can be controlled from the front panel, an IR remote, or an RS-232 connection to an AMX, Crestron, Control4, or other third-party controller. It also supports HDMI audio formats including Dolby TrueD and DTS-HD.
The Fiberlink Matrix OM32 from Communications Specialties is an optical matrix switch configurable up to 32x32. Also available in nonmatching input and output channel capacities, it can be configured to mix and match single and multimode fiber modules with reclocking of SMPTE SDI and CSI data rates. The unit is fully SMPTE 297-2006 compliant, can be fitted with ST or LC fiber connections, and can be remote controlled by RS-232 or through a built-in Ethernet-based GUI. Configuration, firmware updates, and GUI upgrades can be made on a USB port. The front panel of the 3RU chassis is dominated by dual color-illuminated buttons providing preset store, recall, and edit capabilities.
At the top of the DigitalMedia matrix switcher line from Crestron, the DM-MD32X32-RPS provides advanced HDCP support, EDID resolution management, CEC signal management, and USB HID signal routing. The unit is field configurable for handling up to 32 sources in a wide array of signal types. Built-in redundant power supplies are included for mission-critical applications, and the capability can be expanded to 160 outputs over STP copper or on fiber by linking additional units. Audio switching includes video follow and audio breakaway with simultaneous stereo and surround sound from the same HDMI source. Ethernet routing adds to the switching capability.
Available in a range of configurations from 4x4 to 80x80 with intelligent modular design, the MXP series digital routing switchers from DVIGear offer a number of digital display features including fast switching and advanced EDID management with 100 memories—50 of which can be user-defined. Also featured are multiple digital signal format cross-platform routing, 50-meter cable compensation on all inputs, reclocked outputs for lower jitter, control over RS-232/RS-422 and LAN, breakaway remote-controllable front panels, redundant power, and a backlit LCD control panel. Digital end points for these routers are available as copper and optical extenders. The MXP series supports all single-link DVI resolutions up to 1920x1200 and 2048x1080.
Among the many fiber-optic, digital, and analog routing switcher products from Extron Electronics, the Fox 4G Matrix 320x represents the company’s largest fiber-routing solution with expandability from 16x16 to 320x320 in a modular frame designed with 20 board slots. It handles standard-definition video and high-resolution computer video, DVI-D, and multirate SDI with bandwidth capability up to 4.25Gbps. It features hot-swappable I/O boards, power supplies, and a fan. Configurable in any combination of multimode or single-mode I/O boards, the unit has 164 memory presets for saving and recalling commonly used input and output ties. The switcher can be monitored through front- and rear-panel RS-232 ports as well as by Ethernet, and an additional control option is provided by its compatibility with the MKP 3000 X-Y remote control panel.
Up to 10 For-A MFR-5000 series routing switchers can be linked for heavy-duty applications with automatic multiformat support in HD, SD, ASI, and RS-422 signals. Up to eight front-loading input boards can be installed in each 8RU chassis, and each of these is configured in units of 16 channels for a total of 1204 channels. For reliability in mission-critical applications, options for redundancy include CPU boards, a power source, and networking. If one of the multiple main units goes down, another can continue to operate. The settings and alarms are shown on the front-panel LED display, and there are a number of switcher panels available for remote operation.
Capable of demuxing embedded audio on input signals, routing them independently, and multiplexing any audio signal in the router on any HD, SD, or 3GB digital video output, the Platinum MX router from Harris uses front-loading, hot-swappable modules. The new 8-channel frame sync card allows up to eight wild video signals to be synchronized to house reference without using external frames or wiring. Supporting coax and fiber connectivity, the unit offers increased tie-line capability and new configuration software. For enhanced third-party-equipment support, a names-based protocol has been added. Centrio modules in the Platinum MX frame provide multiviewer support for all input signals with up to 32 picture-in-picture images controlled by the router system.
With the ability to switch between copper and fiber I/O without using external media converters, the Draco Major routing switch from IHSE USA can be used in a number of different modes for varying missions. It can be configured as a crosspoint switch with 32 video sources to as many as 16 displays; as a KVM switch, the unit can exhibit partner viewing by reproducing one screen’s content to many others. Optional redundant power supplies can be added for reliability, and user and access-rights management can be configured to 1000 levels. The Draco Major is capable of online upgrades, and it is remote-controllable via serial or web interface.
Sierra Video Alta Pro wideband routing switchers from Kramer Electronics offer 600MHz RGBHV and RGB signal routing, employing single-board architecture for reduced frame size, maximum reliability, and dramatic energy conservation. They are designed for demanding RGBHV, RGB, and analog HD signal routing applications and are available in 12x8, 12x4, 8x8, and 8x4 configurations with optional stereo audio. One member of the line, the 88HB5S, is an 8x8 RGBHV switcher controllable via RS-232, RS-422, and Ethernet. The Expand On Demand instant field upgrade allows expansion from component/RGB to RGBHV and/or to a larger Alta Pro configuration by calling the factory and purchasing the upgrade.
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