Hands-On Review of HDCP-Compliant “AV System-in-a-Box”
I had the opportunity to review the AMX DVX 3150HD and a previous review of the DVX 2100HD. I found this to be a superb evolution of a great product line. Just like the DVX 2100HD, this product is a matrix switcher, transcoder, scaler, audio mixer, power amplifier, and control system all neatly combined in a 3 RU unit. This version is also a truly multi-format and accommodates HDMI. Most importantly, this unit removes all the hassles with HDCP compliancy and handles establishing the handshake and processing keys for all inputs and outputs.
AMX uses its proprietary SmartScale Technology on every output, which provides a properly scaled image based on the actual resolution of the display device (such as a flat-panel or video projector). SmartScale reads the Extended Display Identification Data (EDID) and configures the output for the ideal horizontal and vertical pixel count, detailed timing, color space, and chromaticity. This is an exceptional feature as it ensures each display device operates at its ideal resolution.
As I stated when I reviewed the DVX 2100HD, this is the closest thing I’ve found on the market to being “a complete AV system in a box.”
The DVX is ideal for many AV system applications, both large and small. As a standalone unit it provides complete matrix routing of AV signals and the following AV functionality:
- VIDEO 10 x 4 video matrix switching
- (composite, s-video, RGBS, DVI, HDMI)
- Scaling on all inputs
- Transcoding to all outputs
AUDIO (2) input microphone mixer
14 x 4 audio matris (analog and digital)
Power amplifier (8 ohm or 70 volt)
CONTROL A complete NetLinx central control processor
(8) dry-contact closure relays
(6) IR / Serial ports (6) RS-232 / 422 / 485 control interface
(8) digital I/O ports
Internal web server
Here is my nine-point detailed review:
1. Physical construction
The physical layout and construction of the product is excellent. The 3 RU enclosure is sturdy. The rack mounts are easily added. The line cord connects via a connector, which includes an ON/OFF switch and a fuse. The ventilation grilles on the top and side provide along with the auto turn-on fans provides excellent ventilation.
2. Review of inputs, outputs, controls and indicators
Front Panel: The front panel controls and indicators are clear and easy to understand. Along the top row are Status, Input and Output indicators along with indicators for each of the (6) RS232/422 ports, status for the (8) relays, status for the (8) IR/Serial ports and status of the (8) I/O ports. The backlit LCD display at the center is menu driven and provides easy access to the video and audio menus.
Establishing routes was very straightforward.
The STATUS menu was very helpful to see internal settings, IP address, etc. of the box.
Rear Panel: Connectors for all inputs and outputs are well laid out and nicely labeled.
The first (4) inputs are multi format DVI with DVI connectors. The remaining (6) inputs and the (4) local outputs are HDMI.
There are also (2) DXLink (HDBaseT) Cat 5 outputs which provide Video, Audio, Ethernet and bi-directional control up to 100M over a single Category cable and the companion receiver that’s available separately. These outputs have become a widely used favorite.
The use of phoenix connectors for all the audio inputs is excellent. Phoenix connectors have become the favorites of AV system integrators. There are also (4) balanced/unbalanced audio inputs using Phoenix connectors along with (4) unbalanced 1/8-inch mini jacks, (6) digital audio inputs via HDMI.
3. Technician level “user friendliness”
Straightforward. Easy to setup, wire, and configure. Network configuration is very similar to setting up a simple router. Security controls are good. Web interface is very intuitive. I suspect any good technician would utilize the web interface to setup and configure the DVX. The internal test pattern generator is a great feature.
4. End user / operator level “user friendliness”
Operation from the front panel was fairly straightforward and intuitive.
EXTRA CREDIT: The 3150 has an energy saving/standby mode which reduces power consumption to 30 watts. This is a very important feature especially with the upcoming ANSI/InfoComm standard on AV energy management.
5. Review of the web based control screens
The web page user control interface is superb. Well laid out web pages using tabs and pull downs with very nice graphics. The information is presented in a neat orderly manner.
There are three primary web tabs (Video/ Audio/System) which made it easy to navigate around the controls and to control and monitor status of all functionality.
The web-based controls were quick and responsive and the web interface was much easier to navigate than using the front panel controls.
As would be typical for a router, the network screens provide full configuration of IP and DNS and also includes a log page and complete internal diagnostics. Very good.
The web-based interface provides a great tool for AV and IT professionals to manage, monitor and control the AV system remotely.
A recent update provides for uploading site files from the web browser—a very handy feature when deploying multiple units throughout a facility.
6. Overall operation of the equipment
Operation of the DVX was excellent. Switching is quick and the unit provided superior video and audio quality. The DVX supports resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 @60 HZ. Further details on all resolutions are clearly depicted in the Operations Reference Guide.
7. Review of Operation / Reference instructions
Documentation included in the box is the basic two-page installation guide. Online, you can download the 130-page Operation / Reference Guide and Programming Guide. Both guides are very thorough and complete in all areas.
There is a completely redesigned datasheet which provides a wealth of details on supported formats, configuration limits, voltage levels, etc.
Extra credit to AMX for supporting green efforts by not “printing” paper manuals.
There are also several excellent videos which provide very informative demonstrations on the product.
8. Website: www.amx.com/products/DVX- 3150HD.asp
Data Sheets: Excellent
Diagrams: Excellent—Several in the Application Guides
Product Photos: Excellent
Technical Manuals: Excellent
Firmware Files: Excellent
9. Price Point: MSRP $11,900
For a box which has so many features I think it has great market value. It does much more than peer products. The key will be to properly market and present the added benefits of the DVX and how it outperforms the competition in features and functionality.
The AMX DVX-3150 HD is truly a great off-theshelf, “all in one” solution, which would fit a typical medium or large conference rooms, training rooms, classrooms, and even a small auditorium. Consultants, AV system integrators, and end-users should review how this product meets the needs many AV systems. As an allinclusive solution it replaces the need for numerous individual components and equipment to provide a complete AV system in a 3 RU package.
It is a great package with great functionality and all the digital in and outs you need for most AV systems—at an excellent price point.
The AMX website will share further info on their entire family of new DVX products including models with a 6x3 video switcher and models with DXLink (HDBaseT) inputs.
Christopher Maione, CTS-D, has more than 28 years of experience in AV project management and AV consulting, working with hundreds of Global 1000 firms in various market sectors. Maione has a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Stevens Institute of Technology and is an active member of InfoComm International where he serves as an adjunct faculty member and Standards Committee member. If you want to review a product for your peers, email us at AVIntern@nbmedia.com.