The demand for simplifying the deployment, configuration, and operation of routing and switching solutions has manufacturers developing solutions that, on an increasing basis, are designed to automate the process. Companies are also answering the call for more flexibility, and the desire to be able to achieve more with less gear.
In combination with making routers and switchers easier to configure, manufacturers are addressing how users’ needs have evolved as a result of the pandemic. “A lot of the products that we’re going to be introducing and showing this year are focused on the new world and the new way of doing things; for handling things locally, as well as for the people who have to work remotely,” said Paul Harris (opens in new tab), CEO and CTO at Aurora Multimedia Corp. “A lot of the products we’ve developed this year solve [these] problems. And they make it easier by bringing everything to one device that can help you get to where you need to be.”
Here are a number of developments we’ve seen in this product category over the last few months.
Hall Technologies’ new EMCEE200 4K Multiview Presentation Switcher will process up to four 4K60 video sources simultaneously. Featuring a dedicated confidence monitor as well as presentation HDMI outputs, the EMCEE200’s modular expansion slot design gives users the flexibility to add expansion cards when required, depending on the application. Additional features include Picture-in-Picture (PIP) and Picture-over-Picture (POP) capabilities, a built-in dual mic mixer, and a variety of audio embedding and de-embedding options.
Ken Eagle (opens in new tab), vice president of technology at Hall Technologies, argues that perhaps the most interesting feature of the EMCEE200 is that it offers USB 3.0 4K capture, which allows users to livestream without additional hardware.
“It has the ability to capture and livestream video right from all of your sources in the room, whether that’s your computer, local cameras, or a media player, and take that feed directly out of the presentation switch and route it directly to Zoom, or YouTube, or Facebook—take your pick,” Eagle said. “And this is all done out of one seamless box.”
Eagle also points to Hall’s Versa 4K, a 4K video and USB over IP solution for large projects. “It’s a very powerful AV over IP solution that delivers very high-quality video and audio [quickly] around the network,” he said. “It enables campus-wide deployments, large-screen video applications like video walls, and digital signage rollouts.”
Kramer’s ASPEN-32UFX is a 32-port SDI matrix switcher with interchangeable inputs and outputs. Its open architecture offers users more flexibility to adapt the unit to their specific and often evolving needs, said Chris Kopin (opens in new tab), executive vice president of technology at the company.
“You decide which connector is an input or an output—we’re not fixed to any particular size,” Kopin said. Depending on the project, the ASPEN-32UFX could be configured to feature one input and 31 outputs; 31 inputs and one output; two 8x8 matrix switchers in one box; 16 2x1 switchers, and so on. “It’s a completely open architecture, which I think is extremely creative.”
Kramer also offers the VS-34FD, an 8K-ready 34-port multiformat digital matrix switcher with interchangeable inputs and outputs. “Again, you can build it according to whatever fits your application,” Kopin said. “And the backbone of it is 8K-compatible, so as we’re building more cards for it, we know we have the infrastructure [for 8K] as 8K becomes more popular.”
Earlier this year, Aurora Multimedia, manufacturer of the IPX Series of 10G AV over IP solutions, announced the IPX-TC3A Series of encrypted 4K60 10 Gbps AV over IP transceiver box and wall plates. Based on the SDVoE platform, these solutions feature redundant fiber and selectable copper fiber in a single unit. The series incorporates Aurora’s IPBaseT technology, which supports seamless switching, USB 2.0, Dante/AES67 8-channel, 1 Gbps Ethernet, and control.
Aurora also offers the HT Pro Series of 4K60 4:4:4 HDBaseT transceiver wall plate and box solutions, capable of transmitting uncompressed 4K60 4:4:4 18 Gbps HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 video over a single cable. There is a Dante option for two or eight channels, and an ARC (Audio Return Channel), which enables the units to be fed to Dante or to the local line output.
For example, Extron’s DXP 4K PLUS Series of HDMI matrix switchers, with audio de-embedding, now supports resolutions up to 4K60 4:4:4. This line features models in sizes that range from 4x2 to 16x16.
da Silva also highlighted the company’s XTP switchers: “XTP Systems offer a hybrid matrix switching approach that features local connectivity and extended transmission capability using a single Cat-x or fiber optic cable to paired transmitters and receivers,” he said. With models ranging from 4x4 up to 64x64, XTP’s modular frames feature a 50 Gbps backplane, and new input and output boards allow for uncompressed 8K HDMI switching and distribution.
Extron’s DTP Systems category has been updated as well, with the IN1800 Series and DTP2 CrossPoint models now supporting 4K60 4:4:4 switching and signal extension. “Our all-in-one presentation switchers and matrix switchers combine several Extron industry-leading technologies to deliver switching, extension, [and] control, plus audio amplification and DSP processing in a single-box solution,” da Silva noted. Models that feature control functionality have also been upgraded to include Extron’s latest quad-core control processors.
Released in 2019, Crestron’s DMV NVX AV over IP switcher is designed for applications that require the delivery of content feeds to a matrix of different displays. The platform has undergone several updates over the last couple of years, including the introduction of the DM-NVX-E760 encoder, which offers AVoIP bridging that allows for integration with HDBaseT solutions, as well as models supporting AES67, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and PoE+.
“The DMV NVX is for installs that require some inputs to many outputs, or many inputs to some outputs,” explained Alex Peras (opens in new tab), director of product management, UC, and corporate development partnerships at Crestron. He added that the company is also updating its transmitters and receivers to support the latest audio/video formats, as well as the latest security standards. “We’re also bringing in USB routing, because now it’s audio, video, and USB, as well as control, to make sure that we can make the entire ecosystem work together.”
Netgear’s AV Line of M4250 IP switchers was designed to facilitate installation for AV-centric integrators. Featuring the company’s IGMP Plus technology, the M4250 aims to deliver out-of-the-box functionality, doing away with the complex configuration process often associated with multicast video applications. Built-in profile matching, for example, offers integrators a list of prebuilt profiles of popular AV over IP products, eliminating the need for manual inputting and configuration. The switchers also include Auto-LAG and Auto-Trunk features, which enable integrators to link multiple units together seamlessly.
Laurent Masia (opens in new tab), director of product line management for managed switches in Netgear’s ProAV Engineering Services division, said that the M4250’s development was a result of feedback the company was receiving from AV integrators. “The value proposition is that integrators [can assign] the protocol they want—Dante to port one, Aurora Multimedia to port two, for example,” he said. “When that’s done, the switch-to-switch connectivity, the configuration of the V-LAN, the trunking, and the multicast, everything is fully automated so that there is no more configuration needed. It just works.”
Carolyn Heinze is a freelance writer/editor.
This article originally appeared in the November 2021 issue of SCN. Click here to read more stories from November 2021. (opens in new tab)
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