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The SC2 is the ultimate toolbox. An 18Gbps signal manager, up/down scaler, EDID manager, and audio de-embedder. It has adaptive scaling mode and includes interlaced to progressive scaling!
The AVPro Team is happy to support events throughout our Sioux Falls community; and when these events combine a beautiful fall South Dakota day and golf, it's impossible to resist!
This September, some of our AVPro team members had the opportunity to participate in a charity golf tournament hosted by Northwestern Mutual supporting Camp Bring It On!
Camp Bring It On is a summer camp put on by Sanford Health for children with cancer and pediatric cancer survivors. Campers get to participate in a variety of events offered at traditional camps: arts and crafts, camp dance, shooting paintballs at targets, archery, boating, tubing, fishing, Camp Bring It On Olympics, horseback riding, and inspirational campfires every night by beautiful Lake Lyle.
A big thank you goes out to our friend Kylee at Northwestern Mutual for organizing the golf tournament and to Camp Bring It On for creating an amazing opportunity for these kids!
HDMI is a marvelous thing, capable of carrying video, audio, and control over a single connection, becoming the standard on almost all displays manufactured today. But that does not mean HDMI doesn't have its faults, and although replacing a cable may resolve your issue, that is not always the case.
Infrastructure issues are one of the most common problems facing an HDMI system. These typically arise when a part of the system is incapable of handling a signal type being sent over HDMI. Whether it be audio or video, infrastructure is the most crucial part of the HDMI system. Common infrastructure issue symptoms include:
Settings are one of the most easily overlooked things in the HDMI system. Today's diverse selection of signals has driven away the days of "Plug and Play," especially in a system where the signal is sent through multiple devices such as an AVR to Display. Compatibility and signal settings can usually be found in one or all devices used in the HDMI system and may need to be adjusted in each device. Common Symptoms include:
Unlike previous analog signals, such as composite and component, HDMI requires a complex system of handshakes including one known as HDCP (High Bandwidth Digital Copyright Protection). These handshakes are required on every device in the HDMI system and can cause catastrophic signal failures if inappropriately handled. Common Handshake Issue symptoms include:
If you come across these issues in the field, AVPro is here to help. Our CTS certified support team is ready to help and we have plenty of products to make your installation work flawlessly, give us a call at 877-886-5112!
Welcome to the Catalyst Distributor Spotlight. Here we would like to shed some light on our awesome distributors who always go the extra mile. This month we talk to Custom Partners out of Plainview, NY.
What is the name of your company and what do you do?
Custom Partners LLC. Richard Radimer – Founder and President.
Where are you located?
How did you get your start in audio video distribution?
My experience in distribution began in the 90s with the founding of Key Distribution in Metro NY (a division of Key Distribution in Maryland which later became AVAD) . I founded Custom Partners in 2003.
How are you different than other CE distributors?
We carry the better gear (like AVPro Edge) , not the run of the mill distribution products. We heavily inventory so dealers do not haver to worry about our stock levels. We have the most knowledgeable staff in the business with a combined 170 years in the business. We solve problems. We have very lenient return and stock adjustment policies.
You seem to have very specific offerings as far the brands you carry, what is that a brand selection process like?
We are VERY discerning when it comes to adding lines to our portfolio. We want to add business, not take away from an existing, supportive vendor. We need the vendor to be appropriately capitalized, as we are. We need them to be innovative and unique. We don’t take on a line just to see if it works.
Where do you see the industry going over the next 3 years?
We see the dealers becoming more of a total solution, rather than AV guys. We see them becoming smarter in their financial well-being, selling better quality solutions to their clients. We see them being better educated, and more future thinking. Custom Partners is uniquely qualified to guide them to these disciplines as we are the “step up” distributor.
How does this industry look 10 years from now from the distributors perspective?
Our ethos doesn’t change. We go to market being the company every dealer loves to do business with. We see the vendors consolidating (Sound United, Nortek, etc.) We see the need for distributors and dealers to be 100% fluent in new technologies. We see the ever growing category of lighting control and fixtures being paramount inside and outside of the house.
What steps have you taken to ensure safe and continued business during the COVID19 pandemic?
Safety is paramount. But it’s also the time to step up and make sure you have what the dealers want in stock and at all times. Our inventory of AVPro Edge is huge. We’ll stock hundreds of baluns and Bullet Train HDMI cables…and dozens of switchers. We cannot be out of these key items in our portfolio.
What are your goals over the next 5 years?
Sensible growth. We see too many vendors expecting 20-30% growth every year. That is not sustainable. We expect margin upticks every year. We do this by buying better as we have the financial resource to do so.
What is a common issue you find in Audio Video Distribution, and how do you overcome it as a distributor?
We see the dealers underselling the client every day. Our sales force is constantly working with the dealer to upsell their clients, or at least expose them to better quality gear. I always say, you’ll only fill up so many holes in the ceiling, always sell the better in ceiling speakers, don’t vote with your wallet. A typical AV distributors #1 in ceiling speaker retails for $299. Our #1 seller retails for $550.
Anything else about your company that you would like to share?
Partnering with an amazing company like AVPro Edge, and working with your team has dramatically enhanced our company. Amazing products, great margins for us and the dealers, great tech and sales support. This is the kind of company we love working with. That’s why Custom Partners won the distributor of the year award from AVPro Edge last CEDIA. We are very proud of that accomplishment.
AVPro Edge, Bullet Train Cables and Murideo Test and Measurement Equipment can be purchased through Custom Partners. For more information please visit www.custompartners.com or call 516-352-7533.
Thank you to Custom Partners for being a great AVPro Partner!
The AVPro Employee Highlight section is a way for you to get to know our AVPro Family. Let's get to know Sam!
What is your Name and your roll at AVPro Global Holdings?
Sam Metivier, I'm a Product and Systems Engineer.
Whats you favorite Color?
Whats your favorite food?
What do you like about working at AVPro?
The ability to be autonomous in most things I do. It encourages me to always strive for something better.
From your point of view, how is AVPro different from other places you worked?
AVPro’s continued drive for employee education. Whether it be for image calibration or the CTS certification, the opportunity to make yourself better is always presented.
What has been your best “moment” since working with AVPro?
CEDIA 2018 in San Diego. It was my first tradeshow and I got to travel the West with the gear in the sprinter.
AVPro Operates out of South Dakota, what the best and worst part of living in the 605?
The best is the 80mph speed limit, the worst is that I have to travel 4 hours to get to a big city.
If you had it your way, what is one thing you would change with the professional audio video world?
Make the USB-C the standard for connection. DP, Thunderbolt3, HDMI, USB Control, Power and more. What’s not to love!
What is your favorite Consumer Electronic?
Definitely the display. I’m a fan of all the different technology used to show an image.
We hear you are a stand-up comedian on the side, any audio/video jokes?
Where do bits go swimming? The USB C
Bullet Train introduces even longer AOC HDMI Cable lengths with 60, 80 & 100-meter. These cables will allow integrators to send 8K 48Gbps signals with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos completely uncompressed.
Bullet Train HDMI Cables offer professional integrators an extremely stable solution for HDMI infrastructure. So, when our engineers went to work on creating an ultra-long HDMI cable that still had the stability of our shortest cable, they knew there would be some challenges—sending signals that distance can cause major problems. Many HDMI manufacturers have cables these lengths, and they may pass a low bandwidth audio/video signal, but what about the other communication paths inside an HDMI head?
HDMI has 19 individual communication pathways; Bullet Train made sure that each of these signals would remain intact even at the greatest distances. So that means control, audio return channel, timing, metadata can all travel along the entire length unimpeded. Using this stable solution will minimize the problems you see with video drop out, fuzzy or pixelated picture, and HDCP issues. All while maximizing your image quality with 4K60 (4:4:4) signals that are completely uncompressed, carrying Dolby Vision and HDR 10+ metadata from the source to the display.
When you need to go the distance, choose Bullet Train AOC's new lengths, and go even longer than before!
Learn more about Bullet Train AOC Cables here or give us a call at 877-886-5112!
This story was written by AVPro CTO, Matt Murray.
When the pandemic came knocking on our door, we were afraid just like everyone. We were afraid of what this virus was, and how dangerous it was becoming. We were also afraid for our family business.
AVPro was built from the ground up. It was built on grassroots, no external funding or debt ever; every dollar earned went back into the business, which lead to slow organic growth. We got here by adding strong people to the team step-by-step, which eventually grew to around 50 employees in the United States and around 130 internationally.
We were proud of where we were. Then, one-day sales grinded to a halt. Now all of a sudden, we had decisions to make and not fun ones. We felt personal ownership and responsibility to our staff, but also immense pressure to operate in the best interest of the business. We consulted industry friends, business advisors, trade organizations, and more seeking guidance and the consensus was clear; since sales were gone, we needed to, at the very least, lay-off around 60% of our staff. This was devastating – it left a lump in my throat you would not believe.
We started operating day-by-day, then hour-by-hour. It was terrifying. We made a call to get all of the owners together and had a day’s long meeting about what we were going to do. About 2/3 through the meeting, the decision was to take a different approach and think about what we felt would happen at the END of all this. Was this industry going to be intact? Will people abandon this technology? Or will it come back at some point? We chose the latter.
So, now we had an assumption. We assumed that it WAS GOING TO COME BACK and there were some decisions to make on handling the INSANE amount of downtime. The industry had hunkered down and no one was working in the normal sense (understandably, people were not allowed into homes or businesses anymore). So, a furlough seemed logical, right? Save on expenses and bring employees back later? We hated that idea.
We concluded, if we are coming out of the other side of this, we will SPRINT out of the tunnel, like a bullet from the barrel of the gun – this meant a few key things. Of course, we introduced a work from home policy (luckily, we were prepared for this with staff already using Teams for years). We did not stop engaging with customers – we just did it differently and remotely. We did not halt the production of any products; we did not halt R&D. New developments and modifications went on as usual as if we were going to ramp up again. When other suppliers were out, we had full shelves.
A once buzzing office now had six staff members, primarily warehouse. But the MOST IMPORTANT modification we made to our business was to double down on our Employee Education program. Since we had all this down-time, we started daily meetings to work all customer-facing staff through the AVIXA CTS Certification, including Sales, Tech Support, Trainers, QA/QC, and even Marketing. We invested money and time in crafting a study program that included books, web training, Elite AVIXA Memberships, and weekly Teams study sessions to embark on a challenge to have the most educated staff in the business. We had known about the CTS program for a long time, but only one of our staff members was certified. We had attempted to get more CTS certifications in the past in the past, but busy schedules got in the way of changing the culture. CTS is a challenging program, but it is so beneficial for employees, as a manufacturer, to understand what installers, consultants, specifiers, and designers face – not to mention the technical knowledge gained. We expected to get a couple of staff members through, but our team came together and shocked the hell out of me. Right now, we have 75% of our customer-facing staff with CTS Badges – I don’t think anything like this has been done before.
Every time you interact with a salesperson, tech support, marketing, and trainers – you can be sure they are highly educated individuals who understand the customers’ perspective and understand our technology. This has improved our sales, support, and outreach SO MUCH that all employees in a customer-facing role are required to get and maintain CTS & ISF certification statuses. We have always been a company hell-bent on education, but this kicks it up a notch.
Our commitment to our staff and customers will never end. We are incredibly grateful that we somehow did not follow the lead and advice from others and walked our own path. Instead of seeing employees as “expenses” we saw them as people and through investing in them during a tough time, we knew they would invest in us.
I need to begin this month's product spotlight by first saying that I hope everyone reading this, their loved ones, and their homes are safe and well. Even if you haven't been directly affected by the numerous fires, you have almost certainly been affected by the crazy amount of smoke in the air (I live in the Sierra foothills, so crazy is an understatement). Please stay safe, and a big shout out to the firefighters who are out there doing their best.
This month I want to focus on a new product as well as a technology that, while not new, is getting more attention these days - ARC. I fully admit that as an integrator, I was that guy who told my customers that using their TV as a source was simply not an option. It can create challenges with programming and signal management, interfering with a seamless customer experience. However, we are at the point where there are indeed some unique capabilities in smart displays that are important to the customer (think Sony Master Series and Netflix calibrated mode). Since the customer is the one with the checkbook, it is often incumbent upon the integrator to find a way to deliver the experience the customer wants.
Additionally, there is a trend in some markets to simply place some or all of the sources at the display. While this may simplify video distribution, it also often creates a need to send the audio signal back to a centralized location. This growing demand is what led AVPro to release the new AC-EX70-UHD-ARC. We took our most popular extender, the AC-EX70-UHD, and gave it some significant enhancements. On top of audio return, we added EDID management, one of the most important tools you can have to manage signal stability. We also moved all of the connections to one side of the chassis, making for a cleaner installation.
I fully realize that ARC can be categorized as a dirty word in our channel and for good reason. Enabling ARC typically also involves enabling CEC (or whatever the specific manufacturer calls it), a control scheme that always works some of the time. For a simple installation, it certainly can work well. It's also part of the control protocol for the Sonos amp, a common application of ARC. With more complex systems, it can be a real problem. The AC-EX70-UHD-ARC lets you avoid all of this by providing a path for either analog or mini-Toslink audio inputs, allowing you to send audio back to the head-end without enabling ARC on the display. This can also be valuable since some displays can only output 2 channel audio via ARC but will send 5.1 over optical.
I also need to mention eARC, the updated audio return method that is part of HDMI 2.1. It offers many advantages over ARC. We are starting to see products with it, although to date, there are no products available to send it over HDBaseT. I'll spend more time addressing this in the future; however, even when eARC is widely available, there will be many installations where it's just not an option. In those cases, the EX70-UHD-ARC is a very cost-effective solution with the performance and reliability integrators have come to expect from AVPro.
I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention the other AVPro products that address the subject of audio return;
AC-EX40-444 PLUS-KIT - A full 18gbps 4K 40m extender set that includes all of the features of the AC-EX40-444-PLUS-KIT and adds bi-directional USB, built-in scaling, and ICT signal compression.
AC-EX100-444-KIT-GEN2 - Our "everything's included" 100m extender set that offers full 18gbps 4K capability, scaling, ICT compression, built-in ethernet switch, and bi-directional USB. A Toslink input for audio return is also included.
AC-EXO-444-KIT - A fiber optic extender kit offering 18Gbps 4K with ICT and audio return via either HDMI or Toslink. This set also offers the unique capability of working over distances of up to 2000m with single-mode fiber.
AC-EXO-UNC-KIT - A fully uncompressed 18Gbps extender set with ARC over either HDMI or Toslink as well as a built-in ethernet switch. Works up to 300m with either single or multi-mode fiber.
AC-AUDEX-DIGI - A digital audio over category wire extender. Up to 150m with both coax and Toslink digital inputs. Very cost-effective and very popular. It's the simplest way to get the audio signal where you need it.
The CEDIA Expo was all virtual this year and we had a great time interacting online with everyone that stopped by. We kept busy this year with a full schedule of trainings and live demos, all of which can be found on our CEDIA page.
We took a look at our USB extension products with the AC-EX100-444-GEN2 and AC-EX40-444-PLUS-KIT extender sets which are making a huge splash for extending ultra stable USB over CAT.
On day 2, we featured our all new (and coming soon) Axion luxury whole home solution. This modular system can be completely customized and will deliver full 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision throughout the entire home.
Finally, we offered a sneak peek at our upcoming MXNet AV over IP Networked AV solution - this product line will be a game changer! Again, you can check out these videos on our CEDIA page.
Below we have the winners of our product giveaway! Thanks to everyone who entered. We look forward to hopefully seeing everyone in person at CEDIA 2021!
Grand Prize Winner!
This winner gets a swag pack including hat, t-shirts, screwdriver set, and the $1995.00 valued Fox & Hound HDMI Testing and Troubleshooting Kit!
Eddie Bloom from EDG out of Nevada
These integrators will get the same swag pack and a AC-SC2-AUHD scaling device, able to fix any troubled HDMI turn and scaling any signal under the sun.
Nick Johnson from Granko Inc out of California
Jason Haifun from ComwareAV out of Texas
Joe Stay from Hoishik out of Pennsylvania
If you missed our product sneak peeks you can still catch them here: www.avproedge.com/cedia
Have questions or are interested in any of the products mentioned above? Give us a call at 877-886-5112!
HDMI and USB Extension side by side for a control free 4k classroom have teachers concentrating on education instead of projector control.
The days of Bart Simpson writing “I will not swear in class ever again” on the chalkboard 100 times is over, now he can just hit copy/paste!
Today’s classrooms are different. Technology has pushed education to the next level making the lessons stronger for the next generation. AVPro Edge has introduced two products that allow teachers to teach a class effectively and hold the class’s interest by seamlessly switching from a PowerPoint to a video to a website to test results, just as quickly as they control their own computer at there desk.
How does it work?
Most modern classrooms have a smartboard or an interactive display. These boards allow teachers or students to connect laptops or PCs and offer control over the computer. They do this by sharing not only an audio-video connection through HDMI but also a control mechanic through USB. AVPro Edge’s AC-EX40-444-PLUS & AC-EX100-444-GEN2 can do just that; send a full 4K60 (4:4:4) HDMI signal from the computer to the interactive display, at the same time sending a USB signal from the interactive display back to the computer.
This bi-directional signal allows teachers to stand at the front of the room, next to the interactive display, and control their computer on their desk, or a secure location, remotely. Now, there is no need to pause class to show something different on the screen. See this diagram below for how the wiring works:
This solution has already been adopted across the country in over 200 classrooms; here is why it stands out:
For more information on the KVM and classroom solutions AVPro Edge has to offer, give us a call at 877-886-5112!
We appreciate you stopping by!