IP-linked Video Control
Jan 5, 2010 12:39 PM, By Bennett Liles
The latest IP-controlled video hardware units.
While over the past few years much has been written about IP conveyance of video signals, the technology surrounding IP-linked control of video devices is more mature and it has spread into a wide variety of players, switchers, scalers, and servers. Here, we will have a look at video hardware units that use a direct IP link for control and in some cases, setup and configuration as well. To keep the number manageable, we have excluded those many devices that use outboard IP/RS-232 translation as well as video server products with internal storage and playback, concentrating on video control devices such as routers, switchers, and scalers with direct connection through RJ-45 control ports.
The Octaire Distribution Matrix from AMX can switch video in several formats, with or without audio, in matrixes up to 64x64 and can configure as one or more enclosures. The Octaire is controlled in a number of ways including TCP/IP through the APWeb application using the APWeb server. Through this link, functions of control, diagnostics, and third-party access can be performed using HTML pages and Java applets.
Analog Way designed the Opus OPS300 multilayer scaler and seamless switcher for presentation mixing and switching in rental and staging applications. The unit can use up to 12 inputs with two DVI and two fitted with SDI. The Ethernet connection can be used for control and for uploading logos, still frames, and software upgrades from a computer to provide new functions and features. The Opus outputs digital and analog video in DVI and VGA simultaneously with a selection of many formats.
The AT-PROHD88M-SR from Atlona Technology is an 8x8 HDMI matrix switcher that can route any of its eight inputs to any combination of its eight outputs either using its IR backchannel, RS-232, RS-485, LAN, or the supplied remote control. As a handy feature, the unit also has IR control emitters for the video source devices near the switcher and an IR emitter for each of its eight twisted-pair receiver devices. The unit can reclock, equalize, and amplify the HDMI signals to assure quality reception at the other end of long cables.
Aurora Multimedia designed the V-Tune Pro HD to provide a variety of tuning solutions including NTSC and ATSC/QAM. Capable of decoding MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and H.264, the unit can handle two-way RS-232 and IP-based control traffic for networking arrays of these tuners. Output ports support composite video, component, RGB, and HDMI along with analog audio on RCA connections and SPDIF coaxial digital audio ports.
The Avocent Emerge VSM2000 multifunction video scaler works with analog or DVI computer or HDTV video and supports both NTSC and PAL standards. It can input two composite, two S-Video, and one YUV component or YPbPr; in addition to the panel buttons and serial interface, the unit can be controlled over IP using a Windows control panel GUI. Setup is made with a front-panel LCD, and there is also variable zoom and shrink for video windows.
The MatrixPro digital series matrix switchers from Barco come in three models: 8x8, 16x16 HD-SDI, and 16x16 SDI. The input can be switched to any one or group of outputs, and all inputs meet SMPTE 259M requirements. The HD-SDI model meets SMPTE 292M. The three control modes include front panel, external remote (optional), and IP link via MP software GUI program. The IP connection uses 10/100 Base-T half/full duplex with autodetect.
The Black Box AC1123A matrix switch sends 16 VGA or HD video and audio signals to any combination of outputs for digital signage and multimedia distribution applications. The switching can be front-panel controlled, preset by time sequence, or IP-operated with the Ethernet 10/100 port using either telnet or the virtual serial port driver. All VGA models work with the Black Box mini Cat-5 extenders for extending VGA for longer distances.
The Fiberlink Matrix from Communications Specialties is a SMPTE-compliant 32x32 optical router for which the inputs and outputs can be ordered in quantities of one for precise customization. Equipped with LC or ST connectors, the Fiberlink can work with single-mode and multimode fiber. It can be controlled by front-panel, RS-232, or an Ethernet web-based GUI, which also serves for firmware upgrades.
The Crestron MPS-300 is a complete video and audio switching solution for a wide variety of applications with composite, S-Video, and RGB capability along with 8-channel microphone matrix switching. The unit’s control options include front panel, RS-232, and Ethernet by means of its built-in e-Control2 web server built on a Microsoft Com/ActiveX foundation for browser access customized with Crestron’s VTPro-e GUI design software.
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