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Buyer's Guide to Professional HDMI Matrix Switchers

Put 100 AV integrators in a room and ask how many of them think HDMI is bad for business and nearly 100 hands will go up. Put manufacturers in a room and they'll say they're just fielding requests to add HDMI ports to their pro AV products.

Put 100 AV integrators in a room and ask how many of them think HDMI is bad for business. In all probability, 100 hands will go up. Put display and projector manufacturers in a room and ask how many of them are fielding requests to add HDMI ports to their pro AV products and the vast majority will say yes, HDMI has become a requirement. This disconnect stems in large part from the mass adoption of HDMI in consumer electronics and subsequent pressure to support HDMI sources—kludgy as they are with their copy protection schemes—in pro installations. (For more thoughts on the matter, read Parallax View columnist Pete Putman at proavmagazine.com/HDMIwoes.) For companies that handle signal distribution, however, HDMI provides a chance to develop products that can help ease integration.

Most of us understand HDMI's limitations in pro applications based on our experiences at home: It takes too long to switch among HDMI sources and cable runs are necessarily short. Each requires specific technology solutions, which are appearing in more digital matrix switchers. Look for products that pre-authorize HDCP keys, for example. They'll make for smoother installs.

—Kimberly R. Griffin

AMX
www.amx.com

Product or family: HDMI-UTPro 8x8
Price: $11,900 (includes receivers)
Number of HDMI ports in/out: 8x8
Other outputs: 8 Cat-5 outputs
Output resolutions supported: Up to 1900x1200/60 Hz and HDTV to 1080p
Field configurable: No
HDMI 1.3 support: Yes
HDCP support: Yes
DVI support: Yes
EDID/DDC management/buffering: Each input is preloaded with the most common EDID settings; custom EDID settings can be captured and loaded using included EDID programmer

Uses AMX HDCP InstaGate technology for low-latency switching of protected content while also pre-authorizing and caching all connected source and destination HDCP key combinations. Audio, video, control, and power signals travel over a pair of UTP cables. The design supports local and long-distance displays because the device allows any or all of the eight outputs to be connected by either UTP or local HDMI connectors.

Product or family: Optima AVS-OP-0808-JD0
Price: $6,900
Number of HDMI ports in/out: 8x8
Other outputs: None
Output resolutions supported: Up to 1900x1200/60 and HDTV to 1080p

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AMX


Field configurable: No
HDMI 1.3 support: Yes
HDCP support: Yes
DVI support: Yes
EDID/DDC management/buffering: Each input is preloaded with the most common EDID settings to ensure transmission of the video from the source device; custom EDID settings can be captured and loaded using included EDID programmer

The Optima with HDCP InstaGate technology offers low-latency switching of HDCP protected content, as well as pre-authorization and caching of all connected source and destination HDCP key combinations. The matrix switcher integrates with other signal types to meet specific project requirements by mixing the 8x8 HDMI board with any of the existing Optima boards.

Atlona Technologies
www.atlona.com

Product or family: Atlona AT-PROHD88M-SR 8x8:2
Price: $6,499
Number of HDMI ports in/out: 8x8
Other outputs: Each output features one HDMI and two twisted-pair (Cat-5/6) connections
Output resolutions supported: Up to 1920x1200 or 1080p
Field configurable: Yes
HDMI 1.3 support: Yes
HDCP support: Yes
DVI support: Yes
EDID/DDC management/buffering: EDID management function stores the 100 most common EDID recordings with the ability of programming new EDID recordings by the user

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Atlona

With the combination of HDMI and Cat-5/6, the Atlona AT-PROHD88M-SR can expand up to 24 outputs. The unit is a card-based switcher, so HDMI cards can be replaced with the desired formatted video card. An optional Atlona repeater unit (AT-PROHD-RP) extends the distance that signals are transmitted by 165 feet.

Crestron
www.crestron.com
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Crestron

Product or family: Crestron DigitalMedia
Price: $3,000 to $23,000
Number of HDMI ports in/out: 6x1; 8x8; 16x16; 32x32
Other outputs: Crestron DigitalMedia
Output resolutions supported: HDMI and DVI, progressive up to 2048x1152/60, plus any other resolution allowed by HDMI v.1.3a up to 165-MHz pixel clock; HDMI and DVI, interlaced up to 1920x1080/30 (1080i/30), plus any other resolution allowed by HDMI v.1.3a up to 165-MHz pixel clock; RGB up to 2048x1152/60; Component 480i to 1080p60; Composite and S-Video 480i and 576i
Field configurable: Yes
HDMI 1.3 support: Yes
HDCP support: Yes
DVI support: Yes, plus DisplayPort multimode

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Crestron

EDID/DDC management/buffering: Yes, assesses formats supported and enables the installer to assign compatible devices in logical arrangements; conflicting combinations can be prohibited so only the optimum signal formats get delivered to each display and audio systemDigitalMedia (DM) distributes full HD video, audio, and power over long distances, processing, managing, and distributing analog and digital signals over Cat-5e or multimode fiber. DM systems are card-based solutions that process multiple sources for in-room transmission or facilitywide distribution. DM manages the flow of data, including HDCP, EDID, and CEC between the switcher and DM repeaters, transmitters, and receivers, using EDID to prevent resolution conflicts between sources and displays. QuickSwitch HD technology pre-authorizes and maintains a constant HDCP connection for fast HDMI switching. Diagnostic tools are provided through the switcher's front panel or via DM Tools software to ease installation and system commissioning.
Product or family: HD-MD8x2
Price: $3,000
Number of HDMI ports in/out: 8x2
Other outputs: None
Output resolutions supported: Progressive up to 2048x1152/60, plus any other resolution allowed by HDMI v.1.3a; interlaced up to 1920x1080/30 (1080i30), plus any other resolution allowed by HDMI v.1.3a
Field configurable: Yes
HDMI 1.3 support: Yes
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Crestron


HDCP support: Yes
DVI support: Yes, and DisplayPort multimode
EDID/DDC management/buffering: Yes

Accepts all analog and digital signals, including HDMI 1.3a, DVI, DisplayPort Multimode, HD-SDI, composite, S-Video, component, VGA, HD stereo, 7.1 surround sound, SPDIF, Ethernet, and USB-HID. QuickSwitch HD technology pre-authorizes and maintains HDCP to ensure fast, reliable HDMI switching.

 

DVIGear
www.dvigear.com

Product or family: DVI-4544b
Price: $1,295
Number of HDMI ports in/out: 4x4
Other outputs: None
Output resolutions supported: Up to 2048x1080
Field configurable: No
HDMI 1.3 support: Yes
HDCP support: Yes
DVI support: Yes
EDID/DDC management/buffering: Yes, auto discovery of all EDID values or manual EDID assignment from internal libraries

A high-performance 4x4 nonblocking matrix switcher with four HDMI inputs and four independent, re-clocked HDMI outputs. All I/Os provide interoperability with HDMI and DVI sources and displays. The unit supports HDMI 1.3 capabilities such as Deep Color and new digital audio formats. It can be controlled using a supplied IR remote control unit or an RS-232 port. An IR extender is also included.

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DVIGear

Product or family: DVI-488-MX-HD1
Price: $12,495
Number of HDMI ports in/out: 8x8
Other outputs: SPDIF digital audio
Output resolutions supported: Up to 2048x1080
Field configurable: Yes
HDMI 1.3 support: Yes
HDCP support: Yes
DVI support: Yes
EDID/DDC management/buffering: Yes, stores up to 100 EDID values; any EDID can be assigned to any source

DVIGear's most advanced 8x8 HDMI matrix routing switcher integrates inputs from HDMI or DVI signal sources with or without HDCP encryption. HD audio transmission and sample-rate conversion provides compatibility with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD formats, as well as legacy audio formats. All HDMI input signals are equalized and reclocked, supporting copper cable lengths up to 197 feet. Output signals are reclocked for stable, jitter-free transmission.

Extron Electronics
www.extron.com

Product or family: DXP HDMI series
Price: $4,390 to $6,990
Number of HDMI ports in/out: 4x4, 4x8, 8x4, and 8x8
Other outputs: None
Output resolutions supported: Up to 1920x1200 and HDTV 1080p/60
Field configurable: No
HDMI 1.3 support: Yes
HDCP support: Yes
DVI support: Yes, via adapter
EDID/DDC management/buffering: Yes, EDID Minder offers automatic or manual assignable EDID management

The DXP HDMI series offers automatic input cable equalization and output reclocking to help ensure the integrity of the digital signal on both the input and output paths; more than 5 VDC and 250 milliamperes of power on each output helps simplify integration of signal extension devices and other peripherals.

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Extron Electronics

Product or family: DCX 1600
Price: $16,490 to $24,770
Number of HDMI ports in/out: 4x4 to 16x16
Other outputs: HDCP-compliant DVI I/O boards
Output resolutions supported: Up to 1920x1200 and HDTV 1080p/60
Field configurable: Yes
HDMI 1.3 support: Yes
HDCP support: Yes
DVI support: Yes, HDCP-compliant DVI I/O boards
EDID/DDC management/buffering: Yes, automatic or manual assignable EDID management

Modular design allows for mixing and matching HDMI and DVI I/O boards to create various switcher configurations. EDID Minder for reliable switching; automatic input cable equalization and output reclocking; and more than 5 VDC and 250 milliamps per output.

 

Gefen
www.gefen.com

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Gefen

Product or family: 8x8 Crosspoint Matrix for HDMI 1.3
Price: $2,499
Number of HDMI ports in/out: 8x8
Other outputs: RS-232
Output resolutions supported: 1080p full HD
Field configurable: No
HDMI 1.3 support: Yes
HDCP support: Yes
DVI support: No
EDID/DDC management/buffering: Yes

The 8x8 Crosspoint Matrix for HDMI 1.3 delivers any eight HDTV sources to any eight flat-panel displays and/or projectors. The switcher allows eight Blu-ray players, gaming systems, or set-top boxes to be switched in a one-to-one or one-to-many configuration to any of eight displays.

Kramer Electronics
www.kramermatrix.com

Product or family: VS-42HDMI, VS-44HDMI,
VS-66HDMI
Price: $1,495 to $2,595
Number of HDMI ports in/out: 4x2, 4x4, 6x6
Other outputs: None
Output resolutions supported: Up to WUXGA/1080P
Field configurable: Yes
HDMI 1.3 support: No
HDCP support: Yes
DVI support: Yes
EDID/DDC management/buffering: Yes

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Kramer Electronics

The VS family of HDMI matrix switchers offers enhanced EDID, allowing users to store an EDID setting from a device connected to the output in nonvolatile memory on each input of the switcher. HDCP support uses no repeater keys, so switching is more reliable. According to Kramer, the company's Re-Klocking & Equalization technology rebuilds the signal so it can travel longer distances.

Magenta Research
www.magenta-research.com

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Magenta Research

Product or family: Infinea Opto Matryx
Price: $25,000 to $200,000
Number of HDMI ports in/out: 32x32 (one frame)
Other outputs: Audio/serial/USB (with RPP option), optional fiber-optic outputs (compatible with MHDX receivers)
Output resolutions supported: Up to 1080p or 1920x1200 (DVI)
Field configurable: Yes
HDMI 1.3 support: Yes
HDCP support: Yes
DVI support: Yes, adapter cable required
EDID/DDC management/buffering: Yes, user selectable EDID modes for each input port

This version of the Infinea Opto Matryx includes full HDCP plus optional remote patch panel (RPP) support. Adding the RPP option to a video-only switch enables switching of video plus analog audio, RS-232 serial, and USB signals. Cascading, however, is not possible for HDCP applications.

Product or family: Infinea MHDX
Price: $25,000 to $200,000
Number of HDMI ports in/out: 1x1 or 1x2 (point-to-point), or mulitple outputs (daisy-chained configuration)
Other outputs: Analog audio, serial
Output resolutions supported: Up to 1080p or 1920x1200 (DVI)
Field configurable: Yes
HDMI 1.3 support: Yes
HDCP support: Yes
DVI support: Yes, adapter cable required
EDID/DDC management/buffering: Automatic EDID pass-through function by default for point-to-point links; additional EDID management options (copy/editable profile) available and user-configurable

Uses a fiber-optic interface with single multimode fiber. The switcher extends 480i standard definition video signals up to 9,000 feet, 720p/1080i HD signals up to 6,000 feet, and 1080p HD up to 3,000 feet. An optional local display port is available on the transmitter end, while single- or dual-display outputs are available on the receiver end. The receiver also offers optional daisy-chain capability.

TV One
www.tvone.com

Product or family: 1T-MX-6344
Price: $1,295
Number of HDMI ports in/out: 4x4
Other outputs: None
Output resolutions supported: 480i to 1920x1200
Field configurable: No
V1.3 support: Yes
HDCP support: Yes
DVI support: Yes, with adapters
EDID/DDC management/buffering: Yes, auto or manual discovery

The 1T-MX-6344 HDMI switcher comes with its own rack mount kit. It's capable of managing locking-type HDMI and DC power connectors. The unit also offers a bandwidth of 225 MHz.

Product or family: 1T-SX-634
Price: $195
Number of HDMI ports in/out: 4x1
Other outputs: None
Output resolutions supported: 480i to 1920x1200
Field configurable: No
HDMI 1.3 support: Yes
HDCP support: Yes
DVI support: Yes, with adapters
EDID/DDC management/buffering: Yes, auto or manual discovery

The 1T-SX-634 HDMI switcher also supports locking-type connectors. It is available with an optional single/dual rack-mount kit, supports DDWG standards, and transmits at a bandwidth of 225 MHz.



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