Technology Showcase: AV Room-control Systems
Nov 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Bennett Liles
Choosing the right hardware for your specific needs is a challenge.
The Mediatech ButtonMate EZ2 Control Panel offers 32 buttons for programming and operation of AV devices and seven LEDs for system-status indication. The unit can directly connect to players and displays for RS-232 control of up to six devices, and it uses contact closure for activation of powered projection screens, drapes, and other items. Using two double-head IR emitters, the ButtonMate can control up to four media players, and it can launch commands and command sequences from activation of two internal sensor inputs. A built-in IR learner has 60 command storage locations, and the controller can be connected to Mediatech's other control hardware for an expandability solution. All interfaces are on captive-screw connectors on the back of the unit.
The DigiLynX IP-based audio/video distribution network from NetStreams consists of a wide variety of hardware devices offering a considerable degree of customization. The system provides source control, a graphical user interface, and among other functions, sensor/relay control. All components connect with Cat-5e to form the network. Centrally rackmounted units can include the Streaming Music Manager, an IP-based device that finds music files stored on a PC, Mac, network-attached-storage system (NAS), or USB storage device. The MediaLynX Pro MLA4000 is a unit that provides four channels of analog-to-digital audio conversion, and the MediaLynX A/V MLAV300 performs realtime encoding of audio and video from a legacy video source. The SwitchLynX series of IGMP-enabled megabit and Gigabit Ethernet switches are designed to handle IP-based audio- and video-signal distribution. All these are powered by the PowerLynX PL750/PL600 line of intelligent power supplies. Among other options, the system can be controlled with the TouchLynX TL430 4.3in. in-wall touchscreen or the TouchLynX TL700 7in. in-wall touchscreen.
Sansonic's HNB system provides sound control from a number of devices in a classroom situation and adds wireless microphone capability and ADA-assisted listening receivers. The system is completely modular with control and connector panels that mount in standard one- or two-gang electrical boxes and connect through standard Cat-5e UTP cable. The units can also interface and operate with fire-alarm and security systems, PA systems, and intercom systems from 1V to 70V. The HNB-B unit provides transmission of RGB/VGA, S-Video, and composite video signals through a buffered VGA monitor output that takes the signal up to 150ft. on UTP to the video projector. The wireless HNB-C unit can be added at any time to enable up to two wireless transmit channels and two wireless receive channels between wireless handheld or head-worn microphones, headsets, and ceiling loudspeakers. The HNB system strives for maximum customization with minimum size and price.
The Custo RLRS AV system controller from Vity is designed for use on its own in a small AV environment or for augmentation of another such unit or other controllers such as Vity's Custo LAN or other units using the RS-485 MBC bus, on which up to 16 of the controllers can be linked. The Custo RLRS can operate up to four relays in normally open or closed configuration, and it can drive one RS-485 linked device. It can also use this link for connection to the company's Multicustom, XMonopro, and Minimono controllers, and firmware updates can be done by direct RS-232 connection. The front-mounted IR port also allows the unit to be operated either by infrared wired keypads or with a handheld IR remote. All Custo modules also provide a 12VDC power output to supply a second device with 4A maximum current. The RS-232 connection is on a standard DB9F while the wired IR port exists as a stereo mini 3.5mm jack. The MBC bus connects on a detachable Phoenix block.
As is evident, there is an AV-control solution for any situation. The key to selecting the right one is to carefully assess the present and future needs of those who will use the system and the level of their technical ability. Match the hardware to the task and the users, and success will follow.
Calypso Control Systems
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