Sioux Falls, S.D. – AVPro Edge, manufacturer of video distribution products, will return to Dallas, Texas, this September 29 - October 1 for the 2022 CEDIA Expo. AVPro Edge will give attendees an exclusive glimpse into their product roadmap featuring MXNet, audio, 8k fiber extension, and more. Also, booth visitors who have their badge scanned will be entered to win an LG OLED Evo C2 65-inch Star Wars Special Edition TV.
The AVPro Edge will be located in booth number 19017. On display will be AVPro Edge’s current MXNet 1G AV over IP system and the all-new MXNet 10G Ecosystem, powered by SDVoE technology. In addition, new 8k fiber optic HDMI extenders will make their debut along with AVPro’s first audio-only products, a 12x12 hub and transmitter.
AVPro Edge CTO Matt Murray will present 8K and HDMI 2.1 Today at the Innovation Hub on the CEDIA show floor on Friday, September 30 at 10:45 AM. Furthermore, the ISF Level III Seminar will take place before the Expo on September 26-28. For more information or to register for this seminar, please visit www.AVPro.Training/ISF.
To learn more about AVPro Edge and view the complete product line, please visit www.AVProEdge.com or call (877) 886-5112. For more information about AVPro Edge at the CEDIA Expo 2022 visit www.AVProEdge.com/CEDIA
About AVPro Edge:
AVPro Edge was founded and is headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. An AVPro Global Holdings company, AVPro Edge diligently develops and manufactures connectivity products designed to provide integrators with the tools they need to get their jobs done. As a full adopter of HDMI, HDBaseT and HDCP, AVPro Edge delivers the quality products integrators deserve. Our engineers regularly work with these organizations and chip manufacturers to ensure the very best and capable products come to market. For more information, visit www.AVProEdge.com or call (877) 886-5112.
Press Contact: Tom Devine, email@example.com, 605-782-2471
Sending video and USB signals long distances was once thought of as two different solutions - use a USB amplifier for sending USB, and a balun for video. With AVPro Edge leveraging HDBaseT technology, we can send HDMI and bi-directional USB simultaneously over the same category cable with the AC-EX100-444-GEN2 extender kit.
USB extension makes this unit a favored KVM solution. Simply connect a USB A connection from a computer to the transmitter. The signal is then carried along side the audio and video data on the category cable. On the receiver end you can connect your mouse or keyboard and control the computer 100 meters away. This is perfect for schools, contractors, drafting houses, constructions companies and more.
Check out the application diagrams below and start streamlining your installations.
BOTHELL, Wash. — The Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) today announced that AstroDesign, AVPro Edge, and Sencore have become AIMS members. The three companies join AIMS as adoption of SMPTE ST 2110 continues to accelerate in the broadcast market and as the alliance’s Internet Protocol Media Experience (IPMX) set of open standards and specifications gains momentum in the Pro AV industry.
“It’s exciting to see AstroDesign, AVPro Edge, and Sencore become AIMS members, as growing involvement in the alliance reflects the momentum of IP adoption across both the broadcast and Pro AV industries,” said Andrew Starks, AIMS Marketing Work Group Chair. “We’re pleased to welcome our newest members and value their commitment to supporting and simplifying the migration to standards-based IP media workflows.”
AIMS facilitates close cooperation between its members and leading standards bodies to ensure that the business and technical needs of broadcasters and AV professionals are met. In doing so, the alliance drives a comprehensive, ubiquitous set of IP standards that eliminate fragmentation and maximize interoperability.
AstroDesign specializes in real-time high-speed digital signal processing technology, and the company has developed several “world’s first” products, including its many 8K devices. AVPro Edge specializes in full-bandwidth audio-video distribution. Working with HDMI, HDBaseT, and HDCP, the company develops uniquely engineered solutions for today’s integrator. Sencore is a leader in the development of reliable, cost-effective signal transmission and content monitoring solutions for the broadcast, cable, satellite, and IPTV markets.
“AstroDesign is a manufacturer with long experience in designing and developing video equipment, and we are now working hard to add more AV-over-IP products to our roadmap,” said Manabe Yoshihito, Executive General Manager of the Business Division at AstroDesign. “IPMX is an open standard, and we believe it is an innovative solution that will lead the future.”
"AVPro Edge has always put an emphasis on pushing technology into tomorrow, by partnering with AIMS we are doing just that, working with others in our industry to converge the worlds of IT and AV. Our expanding line-up of AV over IP products had been a huge success for us, and we want to ensure our line-up is follow the agreed upon standards for this technology," said Jeff Murray, President and CEO of AVPro Edge.
“Being a part of the AIMS Alliance is important to Sencore as we drive forward with SMPTE ST 2110, NMOS, IPMX and other IP technologies,” said Aaron Doughten, senior product manager at Sencore. “It's vital that we participate in the industry group that is promoting these standards to drive what we like to call ‘competitive collaboration’ in our industry."
Further information about AstroDesign is available at https://www.astrodesign.co.jp/english/. AVPro Edge is online at https://www.avproedge.com/. Information about Sencore is available at https://www.sencore.com/.
More information about AIMS and its work is available at www.aimsalliance.org.
About the Alliance for IP Media Solutions
The Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the education, awareness, and promotion of industry standards for the transmission of video, audio, and ancillary information over an IP infrastructure, as well as products based on those standards. The group represents the interests of broadcast and Pro AV companies and technology suppliers that share a commitment to facilitating the industry’s transition from baseband to IP through industry standards and interoperable solutions that enable the rapid evolution to open, agile, and versatile production environments.
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Custom electronics sales and installation have given rise to a worldwide technology melting pot, albeit a closed circle of sorts, comprised of integration companies from as small as solo entrepreneurs braving it alone, to some firms with offices across multiple continents. Perhaps separated only by language, an unwitting common thread loosely binds the aspirations of one and all: A universal desire to highlight technology as purposeful, yet fun, to people who initially are strangers, then convert this business relationship into an ongoing friendship prior to the conclusion of the process.
Custom integration companies represent an atomically microscopic business community relative to other industries such as medicine, banking, or restaurants. Who speaks out in representation for the interests of this diminutive but highly passionate industry? What provides resonance when jeopardizing matters arise?
For 33 years CEDIA, the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association, has been the collective voice for custom integrators, not only for members, but by default, the industry et al. The perennial saying, “A rising tide lifts all boats”, is acutely applicable here…if you or your company are not a member, indirectly you occasionally benefit from CEDIA’s endeavors, especially those legislative.
The 2022 CEDIA Expo starts (with education classes) Sept. 28th and continues through October 1, 2022.
Following is a bit of background into the organization’s beginnings, CEDIA’s global standards and certifications, the Tech Council’s peek into and assessment of the channel’s possible end of the decade strategies, plus a gentle nudge to attend the EXPO and renew or become a CEDIA member.
In 1989, a small group of professionals, individually successful with geographically independent but high profile companies, realized a need for unified representation inside an electronics industry exploding exponentially with growth, despite its inability to recognize the self-peril that was evolving.
A weekend was planned to jointly assemble - part chance taking, part hunch making – to assess the then current state of industry affairs, suggest possible improvements, express what they felt their own businesses lacked or required, how they might aid others from their own experiences and lastly but most importantly, how to christen the businesses many created as hobbyists into becoming a legitimately recognized industry.
MULTI-ROOM GROWS UP
During that era, house-wide distributed audio began to come of age, eclipsing simple, passive, manual speaker selector boxes in favor of more sophisticated solutions, such as Bang & Olufsen’s Masterlink.
That following year, 1990, marked the first CEDIA expo held, with Sony attending to exhibit their new Digital Signal Transfer (DST) system, which remarkably one-upped the single-audio-source-to-every-location solution. DST distributed up to 6 audio sources, plus two video sources, into as many as 16 separately controlled zones. The custom integration industry witnessed a monumental paradigm shift, in real-time. Instantly, the CI roadmap was manifestly changed, as was CEDIA’s emerging stature as industry liaison with Sony, perhaps the most relevant manufacturer for the channel at the time, joining CEDIA and introducing a key relationship aspect by establishing a technical support division for CEDIA members called the Consumer Integrated Systems (CIS) Group.
Through the 90’s and early 2000’s, the broader consumer electronics business morphed into big-box chains engaged in turf wars (which regionally and ultimately, led one or more players to head for the exits) positioning the consumer as a front row spectator with every Sunday newspaper flyer.
While this conflagration persisted, the CEDIA channel grew infinitely stronger, with brands such as Sony ES and Pioneer Elite courting CEDIA members who possessed the proper skills and expertise to demonstrate high performance models, while sibling products remained poorly represented and savagely discounted by big-box names you regionally may all recall.
For various reasons, a few ambitious, yet ingenious manufacturers that made a valiant splash to enter the CEDIA channel made equally dubious retreats. Does anyone else remember Frox and the FroxSystem? Their hefty, aluminum, wireless joystick air-mouse deftly oozed ‘state-of-the-art’ in a universe of black plastic remotes with endless buttons. To my recollection, Frox elbowed out Phillips to be first with Improved Definition TV (IDTV), at least in the United States.
During this period the custom industry profoundly flourished, as major independent specialty stores (and chains) added installation services, with many opening separate, and in some instances stand-alone, custom divisions. System design consolidated one-room control into singular remotes such as the Phillips Pronto, thus luring AMX and Crestron into the CEDIA space for multi-room on steroids. Channel-specific manufacturers frequently timed new product introductions for the EXPO, reflecting CEDIA’s attained prominence.
EDUCATION & CERTIFICATION
Initially, CEDIA instruction consisted of inherent technology and product-specific training by manufacturers, taking full advantage of EXPO gatherings. But a large percentage of the courses were also presented by CEDIA member dealers as principals, or talented ahead-of-the-curve key company members, shared experiences and their expertise with custom installation community attendees.
Much of the focus was sales-based, with the six-figure big-hitters pontificating on how elite sales were executed, to aspirants hanging onto every syllable. Eventually, the emphasis began to slowly turn to properly and safely installing these complex systems.
Today a copious amount of CEDIA instruction is provided internally by the organization, with a laser-like focus on certification, perhaps now the core mission of the association. More to that point, on July 12, 2022, CEDIA announced that the Integrated Systems Technician (IST) certification earned third-party accreditation certification in accordance with the global ISO/IEC 17024:2012, General Requirements for Bodies Operating Certification of Persons.
The IST certification joins the Cabling and Infrastructure Technician (CIT) Technician certification as CEDIA’s second ISO/IEC 17024-accredited standard. Together, these two certifications represent a globally recognized career path for residential technology technicians and integrators. The conformance process was overseen by the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB), a wholly owned subsidiary of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Globally recognized, these certifications, when earned by residential technology integrators, represent hallmark career achievements. All CEDIA members working in these disciplines should embrace certification professionally and personally. ISO accreditation has the potential to create massive change in not just the how the CI industry is recognized but also valued. No other means exists to distinguish a highly skilled integration company from those who are not.
CEDIA CIT and CEDIA IST certifications also are eligible for BadgeCert, a digital badging program CEDIA utilizes, alongside CEDIA Certified Networking Specialist (ESC-N), which is also undergoing preparation for ISO/IEC 17024-accreditation, and CEDIA Certified Designer (ESC-D). Digital Badging is a trusted and verifiable mechanism for sharing credentials while highlighting a technician’s respective skill set, achievements, and professionalism, not only to prospective employers but also as a specifically targeted marketing tool, explaining to everyone from builders to clients what the credentials represent and the value they bring. With an industry-wide labor shortage, BadgeCert may circumvent the practice of “try and see”, providing employers up-front assurance of a candidate’s acumen.
CEDIA FLAGS FLUTTER WITH THE WINDS OF CHANGE
Might a time soon arrive when states or municipalities license installation personnel in the same manner as other trades, such as electricians? The 2023 NEC, released in July 2022, creates a new wiring class, Class 4, under Article 726, for fault managed power systems, also known as Packeted Energy Transfer (PET). The 2023 updates to the NEC include changes that impact everyday installs, making it vital to stay updated. The EXPO features a specific course, The 2023 NEC: How Changes to the Code Will Impact Your Business, making it the perfect venue to investigate these moving pieces. Non-members: The bar is rising…
INCENTIVES FOR EDUCATION TO HESITANT INTEGRATION COMPANY OWNERS
Owners look at today’s bottom line with little consideration for years ahead, resistant to paying for employee training. Statistics show certified technicians seldom make call-back mistakes, increasing profitability while enhancing the balance sheet. Certainly, incentive enough to certify a company’s workforce. But perhaps driving the point closer to home is when an owner arrives at a crossroads, beginning to contemplate an exit strategy. A well-run, CEDIA member business with accredited employees proves a far more appealing acquisition or merger opportunity, in comparison to a company with a reputation for merely weathering the storms.
A VIRUS AND CEDIA’S CRYSTAL BALL
For most industries, Covid-19 altered the space-time continuum. Well, sort of… at least in the ways commerce fought to continue. Fortune 500 employees converted occasional-use home offices into the office, nary skipping a beat. The medical community, first responders and grocery-related workers, continue to deserve our profound thanks for their Herculean efforts during that time. Integrators featuring security as part of their sales and service portfolio were deemed essential businesses and permitted to stay open, their team members venturing forth with untold uncertainty.
The pandemic prompted CEDIA’s Technology Advisory Council (hereafter, TAC) to alter the traditional focus of their five-year, future forward in-depth predictions spotlighting technology as its own raison d'etre, instead placing the nucleus of their newest white paper, The Integrator of 2027, centric to the human condition. Representing a radical departure in bypassing technically appealing subjects such as machine learning, AI and the Internet of Things in their entirety, the TAC considered ways in which tomorrow’s integrators might transition from the traditional product-centric approach into one that is human-centric. So, what does that mean? As the TAC details it, technology will provide tools for completing the job, while redefining what the job is becomes a dilemma for ill-prepared Next Gen integrators.
To adequately cover what the TAC addressed in the 2027 white paper is well beyond the scope of this article, but its essence depicts the interiors of clients’ homes evolving into multifunctional spaces, combining traditional home entertainment spaces into alternate use environments, where once one is enmeshed, hyper-personalized experiences improving the human condition effortlessly play out. One example is the home theater, where integrators were first to automate the lights and as of late, outdo competitors for the number of Dolby Atmos channels installed. The TAC envisions reimagining this space to include circadian lighting scenes, while audio from the Dolby Atmos system becomes a key element for wellness solutions, creating calming, immersive aural escapes, when not pulverizing the senses with yet another Marvel movie.
An adjunct dimension is to extend noise abatement and acoustic control outside of the theater realm into additional rooms in the home. Creating environments which introduce the calming effects of nature, with technologies integrators already are proficient with, expand the CI channel’s well-positioned effectiveness to enhance end-users lives while carving out niche opportunities.
WELL NOW, WHAT ABOUT WELLNESS?
I would invite you to access The Integrator of 2027 white paper, as well as view the one dozen videos under WELLCON 2021 inside CEDIA Academy on the organization’s website. Client approaches are widely discussed, with an emphasis on empathetic, human-centric discovery.
With a market becoming more direct-to-consumer than ever before (Ring, Simply Safe, Sonos, are but a few examples) clients who understand the value of their time respond favorably to wellness technology professionals. The shift has already started for traditional CI market segments, such as shades and lighting automation, to transition into a holistic wellness category supplemented by noise control, soundscaping, and for a pandemic-struck world, possibly including air and water quality.
While 2027 seems, well, a half-decade away, custom integrators who already have evolved to embrace this shift are keenly capitalizing, as this is a channel Big-Tech and Big-Box cannot correctly or appropriately address. DIY baby-boomers have become DIFM… do-it-for-me.
Technology will continue to rule supreme, as the Digital Ceiling populates with sensors for active assisted living (AAL), health-related environmental monitoring, mood analysis, and security. Clients will not realize a sense of comfort when at home if health or safety appears compromised.
AVPRO EDGE, MURIDEO, AND CEDIA
Many of us have long been involved with CEDIA, well before the appearance of AVPro and Murideo. Actually, both companies were created to answer needs within the CEDIA channel. Jeff Murray, President of AVPro and Murideo, and actively involved with CEDIA for decades, tells us:
CEDIA has been critical to our company’s growth because we get to see “everybody” at least once a year, share new products and get new ideas. And especially since it’s been a few years because of COVID, getting together to socialize doesn’t hurt either! We are also at a point where we can now throw a great party for our customers and reps – with no better place than CEDIA for this kind of event, which brings together dealers from all over the world.
CEDIA – now that they are only and most importantly focused on training, and not having to worry about the CEDIA Expo anymore – will provide better than ever training events, a significant benefit to integrators from entry level to advanced:
I know you all are busy! It’s a worldwide phenomenon for AV folks – more jobs than time in the day! But you must continuously sharpen the sword to remain relevant and on the cutting edge to new technologies. Those new technologies will be on display, demonstrated and talked about at the expo.
CEDIA is also a great pace for roundtables and idea creating sessions. Attendees come from all 50 states plus around the world, providing an opportunity to discuss concepts and ideas in a non-competitive environment. We hope you will attend, or at least send some team members!
The CEDIA EXPO is your once per year occasion to concertedly add needed CEUs to your résumé, meet key vendors and explore the wares of new hopefuls, plus interact with integration industry standouts from across the globe to gain insights and perspective you would otherwise simply be unable to, all at a single event. Select a unique course that’s piqued your interest, investigate products your competition is using up close and hand’s-on. Absorb the EXPO ambiance first hand and when over, recalibrate your assessment of where the industry is and where it is headed; be prepared to effectively intersect with the occasional client who, armed with a little bit of knowledge, definitively aims at proving it.
If you are not yet a CEDIA member or have not yet renewed your membership, we won’t arm-twist however, please consider membership benefits. Having your voice recognized is a more preferable posture than someone attempting to speak on your behalf.
The AVPro Edge engineering team is pleased to announce that in response to your requests, updates for the MXNet 1G firmware and control system drivers and modules have been released! These updates enable bi-directional RS-232 communication between equipped endpoint devices (such as video displays) and control systems. Sending, and receiving, RS232 data to remote endpoints has never been easier!
The much-anticipated Crestron module update adds RS-232 feedback from enabled devices to Crestron, via serial signals allowing for programmers to take advantage of device feedback or updates from external user input.
The Control4 driver also saw a big boost in functionality, with an update providing bi-directional RS-232 feedback to other drivers via the serial connection routing, allowing on-site physical connections to be identically represented in programming. Now feedback will be passed directly through the MXNet ecosystem into our driver, and from the driver directly to the connected device driver based on the routing as shown in the Connection tab of Composer.
We know these updates have been eagerly awaited and please know we appreciate your patience during their development. Please continue to provide excellent feedback and suggestions as they will contribute to make MXNET a more powerful tool for you and your clients.
To download these updates, please go to: https://support.avproedge.com/portal/en/kb/avpro-edge/general
CEDIA coming up this month brings to mind the occasions we have to speak with many of you in person. Often these discussions involve product features or sharing case-uses. We have noticed it trending that many integrators are forgoing video signal distribution systems by simply placing a streaming product behind each display, particularly in new builds. While this is elegantly sufficient for a seldom used guest bedroom, some evaluation must be considered as to whether this may be underserving end-users. If they have concisely communicated to you that prevailing economic factors have forced drastic cost-cutting measures, little can be done to move that needle.
However, if the one-to-one pairing is originated from your side of the proposal, perhaps some analysis of common use scenarios is called for.
While a good many people experienced flight delays around Memorial Day and onward, at least one guy had a clear shot on the highway to the danger zone. Top Gun: Maverick, finally debuting after a nearly three-year delay, has kept Brinks drivers working overtime by dominating the early summer cinema box office. The long-awaited sequel to Top Gun (thirty-six years…but who’s counting) during heavy release promotion, urged theatrical viewing in an IMAX theater. I admit an eager desire in attending however, what for me has to be one of the most inexplicable Hollywood decisions since United Artists and Universal both turned down Star Wars, IMAX theaters run a movie a mere two weeks, only to then change features. As of this writing, Top Gun: Maverick has grossed over $1Billion dollars…that’s a lot of folks feeling the need for speed. Perhaps an epiphany of sorts, I noticed the IMAX cinema local to the AVPro St. Petersburg office once again has the film booked. Nonetheless, film aficionados continue making the pilgrimage to IMAX cinemas for a first-hand experience they cannot duplicate in the home. Or is that in the process of changing in a big way? Let’s follow Mav for a few clues.
Worldwide, there are approximately 1,600 IMAX-capable cinema facilities licensed by the Canadian firm, with most differing substantially from the original IMAX concept of near-total audience envelopment in their “Classic Design” dome and Omnimax theaters, both contributing to establish the concept at exhibitions and world fairs since the 1960’s. As purpose built structures, these theaters featured steep row angles placing the audience much closer to the screen in comparison to conventional movie theaters, this capability due to 12K resolution delivered by the 70mm film format exclusively utilized at the time (technically, 65mm film in the camera, printed on 70mm film for projection). Today, the majority of IMAX-specific theaters are in retrofitted auditoriums reflecting the “Multiplex Design” concept, presenting studio theatrical releases which have undergone the IMAX DMR process (more on that below). These facilities tout laser projection and 1.91:1 screens (compared to the Classic Design, 1.43:1 aspect ratio suited for IMAX film cameras and their unconventional application of the 70mm film format) which better accommodate Hollywood’s offerings. One difference readily noticed by those who’ve previously visited an original Classic Design venue is the resolution drop to one third that of 70mm film, from the present use of 4K laser-based digital projectors.
Though not pertaining to IMAX Enhanced for the home, it merits mention that IMAX 70mm is, literally, a 90 degree departure from Hollywood’s initial attempt, that being Fox Film Corporation’s 1929 introduction of Fox Grandeur, the original 70mm film format. The film path for the Fox method was vertically through the projector, identical to the 35mm Academy Format. Referred to as 15/70 film, derived from the 15 parallel sprocket perforations per frame, IMAX film is projected horizontally from a platter designed to support the substantial weight of a full length feature. Differing also from traditional Hollywood formats where film is unspooled from the outer circumference inward, IMAX uniquely is the complete opposite, travelling outward from the inside circumference at 6 feet per second. IMAX raw film has a cost of $3.00 per foot, or $18.00 per second of viewing time. Today, nearly all IMAX theaters use proprietary laser-based digital projectors supplied by Barco, with filmmakers utilizing IMAX certified digital cameras from Arri, Panavision, Red Digital Cinema, and Sony. None have the 12K resolution of 70MM film, but those days are approaching as fast as an F/A-18 Super Hornet. Black Magic introduced a 12K digital camera at 2022 NAB this past spring, which awaits certification.
BIG PICTURE + BIG SOUND
Some years back on September 4th, 2018, IMAX and DTS announced their coming together with, as worded in the press release, the creation of the first single certification for both home theater video and audio gear called IMAX Enhanced (IE). The partnership aims to capture the heightened cinematic experience IMAX visually delivers, coupled with the visceral impact of a DTS soundfield, converting your viewing room into Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre. Leading consumer electronics manufacturers quickly adopted the format, introducing AVR’s, surround processors, televisions and some speakers earning IMAX Enhanced certification (speakers weren’t required to do anything different, such as THX with directionality and frequency response control, just be able to adequately handle the full-range signal). But as the fanfare subsided and content thinned, so it seems did demand. It just may be that Top Gun: Maverick, sure to be released on IMAX Enhanced UHD Blu-ray, will rekindle a keener interest in this largely dormant, um… well, what do you call it? It isn’t a format per se. For Audio, IE uses DTS:X, an existing surround format onboard nearly all modern AVRs.
Video-wise, theatrical content undergoes improvement during a process called Digital Media Remastering, though on the consumer side nothing more than an HDR requirement prohibits viewing IMAX Enhanced streaming or discs on suitable displays. Nothing is overly-demanded of IMAX Enhanced video hardware, apart from confirmed, superb performance manufacturers design into top-tier displays, which in turn are certified by IMAX. IE stipulates a 4K HDR10 display, capable of proper calibration and correctly calibrated, will likely pass IE’s certification process. Certification assures the display will recognize the IMAX Enhanced flag, intended to launch video displays into the most appropriate viewing mode for 24fps content, disabling all processing features that allege image fidelity improvement. As any accomplished calibrator can tell you, as well as demonstrate, these features largely do the opposite. Typically, “movie” or “cinema” mode from most manufacturers – certainly in their best offerings – also turns such things off. IMAX and DTS are counting on the cumulative employ of an IE certified chain of products, working in unison, to exhibit the declared strengths of the DMR process in the consumer’s home.
IMAX DMR and What It Does
Xperi, owner of DTS since 2016, indicates the audio track for IMAX Enhanced is specifically remixed from the IMAX theatrical file for playback on consumer equipment. Metadata includes an encoded flag which signals a certified DTS-X equipped processor to playback the mix as prescribed by the IE DMR process. The unidentified crossover frequency used is roll-off specific to IMAX Enhanced sound tailoring, and only used with IMAX Enhanced program material on certified audio products. Metadata does not perform channel steering, nor does it contain objective audio enhancements for the main channels. All content below the crossover point is diverted to the LFE channel, with the IE mode performing additional enhancement to the LFE channel through the certified AVR or processor, compared to when IMAX Enhanced is disabled. In IMAX theaters, the sound system can be as much as 12.0 full range channels (no dedicated LFE, all channels encompass the entire audio spectrum, just as a pair of floor-standing, full-range, hi-end stereo speakers like Wilson Audio Specialties or MBL might).
The video signal is less “hands-on” with specifics than DTS. That is to mean, the TV performs no special decoding. Any 4K, HDR10 TV, properly calibrated with post-processing features such as contrast enhancements, noise reduction and exaggerated motion handling defeated (or having an IMAX Enhanced flag-enabled pre-set) will make an IMAX Enhanced movie look its possible best on that display. The more technically advanced a particular display is from a high-profile manufacturer, the better image fidelity is anticipated to be. The intent of the certification, and manufacturers’ adopting the process by including an IMAX Enhanced mode, is to prevent enhanced content resulting in a poor visual experience on less competent, or simply inferior, displays. IMAX hints that competitors (you fill in the blank) license technologies which become implemented regardless of a particular display’s acumen, often incapable of faithfully delivering the director’s intent. IE certification assures content will be reproduced accurately by top-performing displays in the flag-selected mode dictating what post-processing may be left active or de-activated. Working with display manufacturers, IMAX Enhanced makes certain default settings for the IE certified pre-set mode, such as black level, saturation, etc. are correct.
Where IMAX Enhanced draws a distinct delineation to other processes lies squarely on the content side of the equation, especially in comparison with non-Enhanced versions of identical content. Theatrically, the DRM process is intended to remove film “grain” or general video noise. Noise reduction may be necessary from the perspective of the image being enlarged for IMAX Multiplex Design auditoriums where some noise, otherwise masked, is revealed. DMR is said to brighten the image, which is necessary when the screen real estate is more expansive than those found in the 48-theater mega-plex. IMAX makes the point those who created the film participate alongside IMAX engineers, supervising and authorizing any changes during the DRM process which differ from the original master file. This can include the director, director of photography, the original colorists, plus the original audio engineers. They also make decisions pertaining to how scenes are formatted into the taller IMAX frame. Most Hollywood features are shown in a 2.39:1aspect ratio. IMAX is 1.91:1, roughly the same in width, but approximately 26% more in height. During movie production capture, far more image is acquired than often is displayed. The content provider dictates to IMAX how to take advantage of this additional height. It isn’t quite spelled out how the theatrical changes in brightness, clarity and noise reduction are addressed for, and translate to, IMAX Enhanced for home viewing, but previously released IE UHD Blu-rays are amongst the best the medium has seen.
While IMAX Enhanced has signed agreements with streaming services, most prominently Disney Plus+ for the Marvel franchise, many movie lovers may lament having put their UHD Blu-ray machines on eBay in favor of streaming. Theatrically, films currently in production captured with IMAX-certified cameras include a raft of Marvel sequels, Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, and Dune: Part Two. Christopher Nolan, an ardent supporter of 70mm and IMAX, is filming Oppenheimer for 70mm. Theatrically, momentum is building, inevitably propelling the popularity for IMAX Enhanced for home use.
Momentum is building theatrically, inevitably to propel the popularity for IMAX Enhanced for home use. When it arrives on disc, Top Gun: Maverick just might make Oppo think about re-opening shop. A safe guess is Top Gun: Maverick will dominate CEDIA demonstrations this September.
What in 2018 seemed more like IMAX and DTS merely pondering ways to get the sharp elbows out for Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, may soon level the home theater playing field. No doubt streaming is convenient and internet providers are constantly improving infrastructure to ensure bandwidth is plentiful, but those of us who still have UHD Blu-ray machines (perhaps a bit dusty) may find those shiny discs aren’t quite extinct just yet. No matter which method is selected to deliver IMAX Enhanced content into end-user homes, an uptick in requests for certified products may be right around the corner.
Start with capturing the best picture possible.
The video conferencing process starts with the camera. To deliver the best image quality to participants on the receiving side of the conference, the camera capturing your image of that of an entire classroom or meeting room must be as high in quality as practical, made very easy with a product such as the Logitech Brio.
While it may be more convenient to use the webcam available on your laptop, it likely is not nearly as capable as a stand-alone webcam. Capturing more than four times the data that a standard 1080p web camera, the 4K Logitech Brio represents an excellent example of excellent webcam performance.
Getting that Captured data into your conferencing software.
Now that you have captured a high-quality video signal the next step is getting the data into your video conferencing software. Most webcams come equipped with a six foot USB cable, while most USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 cables exhibit data loss at distances in excess of ten feet. For camera placement farther than ten feet, choosing the correct USB extension cable is critical.
Bullet Train USB fiber optic extension cables will transmit 4K webcam data up to forty meters, or 131 feet. Another way to extend USB connections is to use a USB hub. USB hubs may require extra power but allow multiple USB devices such as microphones, keyboards, or mice to be connected and used simultaneously, while also providing added length. Bullet Train makes a USB extension cable with a USB hub, allowing the use of up to four USB devices, up to forty meters away.
We are all working in post-pandemic environments where operating Zoom, Teams, and other video conferencing software is second nature. Since these platforms work in the same manner, personal preference is the only rule of thumb. Communications between participants go through an encoding process, with audio & video compressed for more manageable travel across the Internet. The signal is decoded and reassembled at the receiving end with data loss as minimal as possible. Poor compression algorithms may add artifacts which reduce image fidelity. Software unable to manage 4K bandwidth cannot send or receive 4K signals, regardless of other system architecture.
Another limiting factor for high-quality video conferencing is Internet speed. The data travels through Internet cabling subject to the inherent bandwidth limit of the cable infrastructure, the slower the upload rate, the more compression will be required to send the data at a fast pace. If upload rates are less than 25Mbps, expect heavy compression to affect the video signal. If the speed is in excess of 25Mbps, expect the image to look good to participants with comparatively fast Internet speeds. When bandwidth is insufficient, audio and video looks “choppy” and may drop off completely.
A quick way to boost speed is to switch from WIFI if it is being used, and hard connect your computer or codec. Video conferencing over a WIFI connection is not recommended. The farther the WIFI access point is located, the lower speeds will be reducing the overall quality of the stream.
Out of your hands
You are now prepared to send a high-quality video signal for video conferencing. However, you could still face quality-related problems if remote participants suffer from slow internet speed or a poorly performing computer. 4K video conferencing has the potential to be plagued by pitfalls preventing a high-quality result. Not to worry, though; you have yourself covered. Simply share this article with your conferencing partners on the other end!
Remote working or learning can be very impactful when all participants are correctly equipped. Be ready for your next video conferencing session with the correct components, software, and internet speeds.
ConferX by AVPro Edge has a full solutions line-up including two unique conference room/classroom matrix switchers, the AC-CXMF62-AUHD and AC-CX84-AUHD!
Let's start with the Multi-Format 6x2 Matrix, a six input, two output matrix switcher with VGA, HDBaseT, HDMI, and DisplayPort video inputs, with HDMI plus HDBaseT outputs. This 4K switch can display any of the six sources through both the HDBaseT and HDMI output port, both of which are independent of each other, allowing the user to show two sources simultaneously. With additional audio inputs and outputs, this product also works with microphone or intercom systems. Check out these applications...
The ConferX 8x4 Matrix is an 8 input, 4 output HDMI/HDBaseT matrix switcher featuring Quick Switch technology. Using Quick Switch, a 4K/30 signal will switch in less than 3 seconds, while a 1080p signal will switch in less than 2 seconds. This 4K switch can display any of the eight inputs through both HDBaseT and HDMI output ports. All four of the outputs are completely independent from each other, allowing the user to show four sources simultaneously.
The applications for this switch are truly endless, take a look at some of the solutions below:
Both switchers work seamlessly with the entire ConferX line-up to give every end-user a simplified experience for sharing ideas inside a classroom, conference room or huddle space.
Give us a call to make your next conference room or classroom a ConferX project, 877-886-5112!
AVPro's 8k line-up of products is about to get even more robust.
Simply stated, the AVPro Edge AC-MX-88X is a classic transformed into an icon. Our engineers focused on reimagining the venerable AC-MX-88, boosting bandwidth to an ultra-wide 40Gbps with 8K input and output stages, for a world-first, Next-Gen 8 input / 8 output matrix switching platform providing a foundation for all possibilities that follow. “X ” marks the spot for high performance that is unmistakably AVPro Edge, as we once again redefine the face of the HDMI switching era. Gaming enthusiasts, rejoice - multiple inputs for multiple consoles! Select Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, or your Alienware Aurora Ryzen by control system or from the supplied IR remote and leave the cable juggling to Cirque du Soleil.
The AC-MX-88X, designed with the needs of Next-Gen users in mind, prepares your clients for tomorrow’s over-the-near-horizon signals, while ultra-wide bandwidth supplies sure-footed dynamic headroom for hiccup-free performance with HDMI 2.1a devices. With the unmatched pedigree of AVPro Edge behind it tradition never fails, as the AC-MX-88X lets you break convention and seek perfection.
Shipping next month, this matrix will become your go to for 8K installations!
Key Benefits of the AC-MX-88X
As AVPro Edge readies more 8K products, logistically we are beginning to reduce the number of 4K HDBaseT SKUs currently offered, starting with 10.2Gbps receivers. The AC-EX100-UHD-R3, an early-on original workhorse for us, is being replaced by one of our existing, slimmer-chassis 18Gbps receivers you already use with AVPro Edge HDBaseT switchers, the AC-EX70-444-RNE, but with a new twist. Called the AC-EX70-444-RNE-P, the new SKU includes a DC 48V power supply for stand-alone application use, such as with ConferX wall plates.
Please note, the AC-EX70-444-RNE-P differs slightly from the AC-EX100-UHD-R3 and does not feature ethernet connections. Its 18Gbps increased bandwidth provides more headroom, accommodating signals up to 4K/60Hz@4:4:4 and VESA resolutions up to DCI 4K (4096 x 2160).
The AC-EX70-444-RNE remains available for applications when the power supply is not required.
In today's Employee Spotlight we are talking to Michael Hamilton, a new asset to the AVPro Edge team! We're sure you've already enjoyed reading some of his deep dive articles so let's get to know the man behind the words!
What is your Name and your roll at AVPro Global Holdings?
I am Michael Hamilton (though my Witness Protection Program status may now be compromised) and I am the Technical Writer.
Whats you favorite Color?
Smokey Mauve Pearl (at least it will be when the car I had ordered in March finally arrives).
Whats your favorite food?
Without a doubt, sashimi.
What do you like about working at AVPro?
The creative freedom allowed with the position I am in. It is liberating to arrive unassumingly at the office each morning to discover the day unfolds only in the manner with which I render it.
From your point of view, how is AVPro different from other places you worked?
I have known many AVPro employees from my long-time association with the ISF, so in one respect it feels like working with family. I’ve worked in structured environments like the NHL (19 years), in Hollywood as a professional calibrator (3 years, until Covid shut the industry down), and for close to five decades in specialty A/V retail/integration in ownership, management, sales, and purchasing positions. I had witnessed the AVPro culture from a short distance, always admiring Jeff’s ever-present can-do approach to any situation, while admiring Matt’s stewardship growing Murideo and AVPro into the juggernauts they’ve become. I’m humble and fortunate to be able to contribute in my small way to the continued success of AVPro.
What has been your best “moment” since working with AVPro?
Collectively, meeting and working with industry veteran Nick DeMaria has indeed been very special, as he never fails with an answer to questions I may have related to automation interfacing with our products. Working alongside Jason Dustal, whom I’ve known for nearly 7 years now, vis-à-vis Joel Silver and the ISF, is itself a reward, able to discuss all things ISF and our times on the road and the myriad of stories we’ve accumulated. Best moment, though? The fishing charter 55 miles into the Gulf…first time ever!
You work out of AVPro South in St. Pete, what’s the best way to handle the humidity in Florida?
It has been kept secret from me…but it seems to keep my guitars happy compared to Arizona’s mythical “dry heat” (122 degrees during monsoon season is not for the faint of heart).
If you had it your way, what is one thing you would change with the professional audio video world?
Though a few remain, it is unfortunate the marketplace has seen a demise of the local retail specialist shop. The place you could go to on a Saturday afternoon to audition and dream of your next upgrade. Many integration companies have fill this void with remarkably well-done showrooms however, the entire zeitgeist of the “golden age of hifi” era has dissolved, unlikely to ever return.
What is your favorite Consumer Electronic?
A day in the not-too-distant future, I hope once again to be regularly listening to Magnepan speakers via a Prima Luna tube integrated amp.
Word on the street is you like F1 racing, What are some of your predictions for the rest of the season?
Mercedes seems to have made the necessary changes to their package with cars appearing rid of the “porpoising” that plagued them worse amongst the teams when the new spec cars were launched this year. They still retain their tremendous reliability and may supplant Ferrari as the only threat to Red Bull Racing, with Ferrari continuing to face problems despite a promising start. I see Verstappen repeating as World Champion for 2022, with Sainz passing LeClerc for second place in the driver’s championship.
No, your eyes do not deceive…indeed there are no HDMI ports on this newest offering from AVPro Edge, the AC-AEX-RC-HUB audio hub.
“Heresy!” you proclaim, however, permit us an explanation. Like you, and your clients, we’re also people who appreciate great sound in every nook and cranny of our homes.
“So, what gives” you ask, “how did you come up with that?” Here’s the true* story, from an unidentified source, retold, secondhand…
It was an otherwise nondescript, blustery South Dakota day, where inside the AVPro Edge engineering department (to which, mere mortals are forbidden entry) the team gathered for lunch. Seated, and as was the norm, sporting a round of Yoo-Hoo (strawberry, if reports were accurate), someone remarked hearing news of how the chip-draining void in the marketplace was plaguing audio distribution product availability. In less than a picosecond, as if on cue, all lunged for a napkin. A chorus of what ifs? arose harmoniously, reverberating about the walls of the hallowed room, as all began furiously sketching ideas at a pace fervently equal to Wagner’s Ride Of The Valkyries.
The Problem: How to collect audio from sources located in any room of a home, traffic them to a central location for distribution with the aid of familiar automation systems and their support products, then select these sources for private localized listening, or whole-house enjoyment.
One hour and six Hot Pockets later, a solution lay gloriously revealed, drawn full size, artfully detailed, three and one-half napkins wide: The AC-AEX-RC-HUB.
*Okay, perhaps that was a slight embellishment (subsequent rumors insisted only four Hot Pockets, nobody had two) but a story like that has got to be true.
Of far greater importance than its genesis is how the new AC-AEX-RC-HUB can work transparently with your distributed audio systems seamlessly in the background, its API interfacing with and controlled by the third-party systems you are using, such as Control 4, Crestron, Elan, Savant and more. Perhaps highest in importance, the first link in your supply chain begins in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The AC-AEX-RC-HUB configuration features 12 audio inputs and 12 audio outputs with I/O connections using Toslink or analog RCA, with eight of the inputs uniquely designed for retrieving audio from sources located remotely from core system distribution components, via Power over Cable (PoC) category wire. Distances up to 100m are possible with Unshielded Twisted Pair, extending to 130m when using Shielded Twisted Pair. An AVPro Edge AC-AEX-T Digital/Analog Audio Extender Transmitter (not included with the AC-AEX-RC-HUB) must be paired to each of these eight inputs for complete operation. All Toslink signals are 2 CH PCM stereo (there is no multichannel downmixing) and analog signals are Left/Right stereo via RCA connectors.
The AC-AEX-T transmitter may be discretely placed behind the thinnest OLED, sending audio from TV-led apps or ATSC tuners back to the AC-AEX-RC-HUB for routing to the system, then passing on to architectural speakers at the TV location through system distribution components. It may also be placed in the system rack, using a short RJ-45 jumper for connecting to the AC-AEX-RC-HUB for rack-based sources such as multi-output music streamers.
System designs often consist of more audio-oriented areas than video destinations. Another interesting application for AC-AEX-RC-HUB is expansion of the audio outputs from a video matrix, such as the AVPro Edge Axion series, to 12 additional zones. 7 onboard pre-set EQ curves shape the sound as desired, and output volume may be tailored to meet your installation needs.
However you may choose to incorporate the new AC-AEX-RC-HUB into your next installation, be assured it is built with the same rigid standards and reliability you expect from any AVPro Edge product, fully backed by our no-nonsense, 10 year warranty. The AC-AEX-RC-HUB and the AC-AEX-T are shipping soon, order yours today.
Show of hands: Who can’t wait for college football to start? Ah yes…Okay, good.
Now, who has a NextGen TV and can watch games in 4K, uncompressed 4:4:4 color with HLG, plus Dolby AC-4 Atmos or DTS:X immersive sound? (This would be where I would insert the icon for PUZZLED, indicating a rapid disappearance of those hands).
While displays sold thus far with an ATSC 3.0 onboard tuner only number about 5 million units, Next-Gen TV is taking off in a big way and this fall may perhaps signify the long-awaited turning point.
Many in our industry feel we’ve been hearing about 4K broadcasting for so long, it seems like the idea originated before Tom Brady won his first Superbowl. During CES each year for nearly this past decade, talk abounded NextGen TV was around the next corner. Realistically, the system genuinely was conceived, designed and implemented in a compacted timeframe, compared to the primordial pace of previous broadcast television upgrades.
The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) issued a call for proposals outlining a new standard to supersede ATSC 1.0, the current HDTV Over The Air (OTA) broadcast standard on April 4th, 2013. On November 16th, 2017, the FCC adopted the rules outlining ATSC 3.0, allowing broadcasters to use the Next Generation Broadcast Standard on a voluntary, market-driven basis. In the announcement, the FCC anticipated broadcasters would provide consumers “with more vivid pictures and sound, including Ultra High Definition television and superior reception, mobile viewing capabilities, advanced emergency alerts, better accessibility features, localized content, and interactive educational children’s content”.
This summer, currently 68 markets encompassing nearly 50% of US homes have access to ATSC 3.0 OTA transmission. 54 designated market areas have at least one full-power station providing ATSC 3.0 services, with coverage projected to expand to 80% of US homes by the end of 2022. Many medium markets have leap-frogged ahead of the largest media centers.
Manufacturers LG, Sony, Samsung and now Hisense market ATSC 3.0-enabled sets, typically medium-featured through top-tier models, most of which fall into the wheel house for the majority of televisions buying group-affiliated integrators specify and install. How many of your customers are aware they may already own a television capable of ATSC 3.0 reception? Do their system capabilities allow ATSC 3.0 use? Is the ATSC 3.0 tuner an accessible option from the iPad-based system remote you’ve provided them with? Was the audio system designed to monitor sound output directly from the TV?
Often I hear one of our superb AVPro Tech Support team members gathering problem-solving information. As expected, a vast number of systems are traditionally designed with a centrally located automation / distribution system hosting a mixture of Apple TV, Roku, DirecTV/Dish and cable box source devices. While most if not all are capable of delivering 4K HDR serial and dramatic content, live events are overwhelmingly 720p / 1080i stereo pass-thru broadcasts, depending on provider (everybody say ‘HULU’).
Integrators should consider incorporating ATSC 3.0 playback into systems you presently have in your D-Tools/Portal.io design queues and when upgrading clients to new displays, almost assuredly with ATSC 3.0 tuners, make control system and audio playback provisions for ATSC 3.0 tuner content. Forecasts for 2023 call for as many as 10,000 ATSC 3.0 enabled sets sold each day. Be in the best position to deliver sports and live action programming to your clients with all the advantages UHD 4K offers and take note that an antenna is required for OTA acquisition. ATSC 3.0 has engineered out many of the reception issues that plagued early ATSC 1.0 adopters, using a different method than ATSC 1.0’s 8-Vestigal Side Band (8-VSB) transmission scheme. OTA signals are designed to be easily received in areas previously found difficult with OTA HDTV. During pre-wiring, it might be to your advantage to run a coaxial cable into an attic or accessible space for an ATSC 3.0 antenna, though most sets will suffice with an easily concealed indoor antenna similar to that for an FM audio tuner. You’re clever integrators! You can find the perfect spot. And look to many of the tools AVPro Edge has, such as HDMI switching devices and Bullet Train AOC cables, for HDMI 2.1a eARC.
Other capabilities with ATSC 3.0 implementation are data streaming of interactive content, relative to the program or live broadcast (think of sports statics), and more effective public alerting during emergencies, particularly dangerous weather situations. The standard has a feature to “wake up” enabled sleeping devices when warnings are prevalent.
AVPro Southern command is within (an eagle’s) eyesight of the ATSC 3.0 Tampa stations, an across-the-bay view from our offices. Nebraska takes on Northwestern in Dublin, Ireland on August 27th at 12:30 p.m. ET on Fox. I’ll be ready with a new calibrated ATSC 3.0 OLED.
Recently, AVPro Edge was chosen by the TVS Pro team of Salt Lake City, UT as the backbone of the distribution system for Community Ambulance's new conference room in Henderson, NV. The team used the AVPro Edge AC-MX-88HDBT, AC-EX70-444-RNE, AC-EX100-UHD-R3 and the AC-CXWP-HDMO-T
The installation also included 2 Newline 86″ displays and an Epson interactive projector and screen. PTZ cameras were mounted in 3 separate rooms and Extron was used to control the systems.
TVS Pros had this to say about the project:
A big thanks goes out to TVS Pro for using AVPro Edge in this unique installation! To learn more about our conference room solutions and more, give us a call at 877-886-5112.
Check out the gallery below to see the finished product!
Big changes are coming to the AC-MX-42 this July. Through a new, OTA-available firmware update, this switch is gaining a ton of new features.
Our best-selling 4X2 matrix switcher will gain priority switching. This will simplify the client user experience by enabling auto-switching when an input is connected (or even disconnected). Check out all these new features:
Priority Switching (Auto-Switch Mode)
Fallback Input (Auto-Switch Mode)
EDID Blend (Web GUI/EDID Management)
MXNet 1G AV over IP Ecosystem
AVPro Edge's 1G MXNet AV over IP Ecosystem is one of our most popular product lines. It supports 3rd party control systems like Crestron, is fast switching, supports unlimited video walls, and so much more. In addition, all system components, including our network switches, are designed, engineered, and manufactured by us, which allows for unique features not found with other AV over IP systems. Learn more...
MXNet 10G AV over IP Ecoystem
The next generation of MXNet is just around the corner. MXNet 10G, AVPro Edge’s premium AV over IP system, provides crystal clear uncompressed 4K video with versatile AV distribution application support. Applications and features include point-to-point signal extension, seamless HDMI matrixing, 4K multi-view, multi-window video walls, KVM, and 1Gb Ethernet. The MXNet 10G Ecosystem is currently in production and will be shipping August 2022 with network switches launching even sooner. Learn more...
USB 2.0 & 3.0 Extension
Extend USB 2.0 & 3.0 with AVPro Edge extenders and Bullet Train USB extension cables and Hub. The AC-EXUSB-2-KIT extends USB 2.0 100M via HDBaseT and supports Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and USB cameras. KVM is a piece of cake with the AC-CXWP-KVM-KIT sends bi-directional HDMI and USB signals in convenient wall plate design. Finally, you can trust Bullet Train for a variety of USB extension cable and hub lengths.
Axion Chassis Based Custom Video Distribution
AVPro Edge's AXION X gives the integrator the power of customization with card options for up to 16 inputs and 16 outputs. This 16x16 matrix becomes the backbone of your entire installation delivering 4K signals from the source to display. The integrator's choices make AXION stand out; selecting between HDMI, HDMI with scaling, or HDBaseT for long video runs lets the integrator decide what type of infrastructure will work best for them. Learn more...
We are here to make your installs easier, let us know how we can help. Give us a call at 877-886-5112 or +1 605-274-6055!
We're teaming up with our friends at Cleerline and hosting trainings across the US this summer. From California to New York, you will have the opportunity for hands-on access with Cleerline Fiber and AVPro Edge products.
Cleerline will cover fiber basics, media converters, plus host a termination demonstration.
AVPro will be discussing what's ahead for HDMI 2.1 and our current products featuring 8K. We will also touch on our all-new MXNet 10G platform!
See dates and locations below. We will have more details coming soon!
Someday, perhaps...however, Dolby MAT is not a final Jeopardy! answer. And no, you won’t need a roll of quarters and liquid Tide, either. In an acronym-obsessed industry, MAT, as in Dolby MAT, stands for Metadata-enhanced Audio Transmission (fortunately, someone in Dolby’s marketing department avoided the obvious).
Just as Kleenex and Jacuzzi represent brand names which have evolved into generalized references for their respective product categories, in the early days of digital home theaters, novices and enthusiasts alike commonly used Dolby Digital as the moniker for 5.1 surround sound, though more accurately, it describes the digital audio encode/decode system developed by Dolby Laboratories. From the advent (a pun for all the audio old timers, explained at the bottom) of Ray Dolby’s engineering endeavors in 1965 with Dolby A-type Noise Reduction, Dolby’s “double D” symbol has evolved to embody professional audio/video recording and playback technologies we all experience on a daily basis, in a myriad of ways. For the purpose of answering what is Dolby MAT?, let’s define a few things for context…
In the digital domain, Dolby bit-rate reduction technologies include encoded metadata, which in turn, describes encoded multichannel audio with instructions for precise control of downstream encoders and decoders. Encoded, compressed audio and metadata are transported together as a data stream via two digital audio channels, either professional AES/EBU, or consumer S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface). This process is utilized by Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby AC-4, Dolby E and Dolby ED2 codecs. Dolby TrueHD is compressed in transport (on a Blu-ray or UHD Blu-ray disc) but is unpacked as a lossless, multi-channel codec.
Formally known as AC-3, Dolby Digital was the worldwide audio standard for DVD, and for HD broadcasting in the United States. As the basis from which professional Dolby E evolved, Dolby AC-3 is a lossy audio compression algorithm, an ingenious adaptation of the Discrete Cosine Transform. Originally conceived for use with video images, DCT made the concept of “lossy” images such as J-PEG and MPEG acceptable by rounding the values used to express 8x8 blocks of pixels into a smaller number of values, grouped together to avoid redundant bits, and discarding bits deemed perceptually non-essential. An update of the DCT, called the Modified Digital Cosine Transform (MCDT), featured a data “overlap”, rather than an abrupt boundary block to undesirable pixels, which worked to avoid artifacts. Dolby adapted the MDCT algorithm, augmenting it with perceptual coding, a psychoacoustic principle that discards what is determined inaudible in a digital audio recording, but remains present in the recording consuming data space. Sounds typically selected to be discarded were those masked by louder events, making them overtly inaudible. With development completed in 1991, Dolby Laboratories is credited with creating the earliest audio compression standard, fully two years prior to the introduction of MP3.
No stranger to tape hiss from research with analog Type-A, Type-B and Type-C Noise Reductions, Dolby turned their attention to film, considering alternatives to the analog, magnetic strip on 35mm film for improvements to cinema sound, and arriving at an optical retrieval system. Encoded patterns, superficially similar to today’s QR codes, were placed within the space between the sprocket holes that pulled the film through the projector. To economize space and the total number of bits required, the AC-3 process performed analysis during post-production, removing inaudible data at a rate of approximately 13 to 1. On the film physically, the data representing the six discrete channels was retrieved as one channel and sent to the AC-3 processor for decoding where it was restored to 18 bit data words, then separated into the individual left, center, right, subwoofer, and surround channels. Each 18 bit channel was converted into analog audio for playback. Dolby Digital provided Hollywood with content creation tools to steer sound to specific channels, introducing a new experience to theatrical presentations. Suspension of belief, the goal for any director, had the added dimension of audio “moving” in tandem with events on the screen, such as a locomotive traveling from left to right. The LFE channel contributed to sensorily underscore screen sequences, while the ambient rear channels destined the sensation be called “surround sound”.
The 1992 film, Batman Returns was the first theatrical release in Dolby Spectral Recording-Digital (SR-D) or Dolby Digital/AC-3, heralding a turning point in cinema history. Movie-goers clamored to bring the experience into their homes, and Dolby was all too eager to oblige.
Debuting in 1999, Dolby E was the professional evolution of the Dolby Digital system for theatrical content and multichannel audio creation with HDTV, designed into the ATSC 1.0 standard (in existence today but recommended to “twilight” in 2023 as ATSC 3.0 gains momentum). Dolby E was a lossy compression algorithm containing Professional Metadata (PMD) that also included SMPTE timecodes, plus configuration information for use by downstream decoders. Consumer metadata was also included as the bitstream contained multi-format information, from simple Lt/Rt stereo up to Dolby Digital surround encoding or Dolby Digital Plus encoding (note italics). Dolby E accepted up to 8 channels (7.1, or 5.1 with Lt/Rt stereo) of baseband PCM audio with metadata, compressed onto a 20-bit, 48kHz AES channel pair, or 6 channels plus metadata fit into a 16-bit, 48kHz AES pair. The goal for Dolby E was development of a production algorithm capable of maintaining high audio quality while enduring multiple encode/decode cycles, for a minimum of ten generational passes. Dolby E was distributed by or embedded into Serial Digital Interface (SDI) when content was passed around within, and between production facilities.
Dolby E never directly reached the consumer as it was decoded downstream into PCM. Instead, Dolby E resided in what the broadcast and production community refer to as “Mezzanine” level. Mezzanine uses low level video compression for storage (Dolby E represented the embedded, accompanying soundtrack), capable of multiple use passes with minimal degradation, and used exclusively in cinema workflow applications or live HD/UHDTV production. Mezzanine level restrains aggressive compression, with ratios ranging from 2:1 to 8:1. The term “mezzanine” is a reference to its positioning in the production workflow, just below uncompressed signals but remaining above consumer level, while also an industry-inside homage to classic theater design.
Dolby E played a fundamental role in the trajectory of Dolby Laboratories technologies by serving as bedrock for content production worldwide and key to long-term aspirations.
Dolby ED2 was the next generation extension to the production-level Dolby E mezzanine audio codec, designed for HD-SDI infrastructure transport of immersive audio with companion metadata. As mentioned above, Dolby E supported surround-sound audio as multiple streams however, it lacked the extension provisions necessary for Dolby Atmos audio and key metadata, such as loudness information. Dolby ED2 introduced a revised and expanded bitstream supporting up to 16 audio channels, with 8 channels (each with two substreams) carried on a single AES3/ SDI audio pair.
The new bitstream topology manages immersive audio plus rendering for existing formats. Functionality is expanded for higher channel count audio to be transported over bandwidth-constrained mediums like satellite or terrestrial fiber links, implemented into a compressed format that retains sample-accurate alignment at the reception point. As an example, Dolby Atmos may be delivered in 5.1.4 or 5.1.2 channel-based audio, as multiple audio “objects” with three-dimensional positions, or combinations of both channels and objects. Channel configuration combines channel pairs such as Ch 1/2 representing the Stereo Mix, with Ch 5/6 carrying Center and LFE information, plus music and effects. Those with Meridian Audio experience recognize similar channel parsing, though with Dolby ED2 the carriage is HD-SDI, not PCM. Dolby ED2 is backward compatible with Dolby E, such as downstream pass-through, and also decodes Dolby E-compatible metadata within an ED2 stream. ED2 transformed Dolby’s evolution into a revolution, with the creation of the 2012 Pixar/Walt Disney release, Brave, in Dolby Atmos and the most significant quantum leap forward in the audience cinematic experience since 1992’s Batman Returns.
DOLBY DIGITAL PLUS
Introduced at the 2005 Consumer Electronic Show, Dolby Digital Plus (also known as E-AC-3, or Enhanced AC-3) represented a superset of effective codec updates rather than any significant departure away from Dolby Digital. Forward-looking transmission and decoding improvements propelled Dolby Digital into Dolby Digital Plus. It was the first Dolby codec with HDMI capability, and while pre-dating high definition disc formats and multichannel sound for HDTV by a few years, Dolby Digital Plus represented the forefront for Dolby’s roadmap and incremental march toward the future of consumer surround sound.
Implemented into Blu-ray Disc media, Dolby Digital Plus supported up to 7.1 discrete channels, using a 5.1 “core” plus expansion design, with future support for up to 15.1 discrete, full-bandwidth channels. While the bitstream itself was not backward compatible to legacy Dolby Digital devices, a mandatory 5.1 conversion compatibility was designed into the codec. Dolby Digital Plus upped the data rate range from an original 32kbps - 640kbps to a robust 32 kbps - 6Mbps, as the new codec used less compression. While still a lossy codec, a key substantial difference for Dolby Digital Plus was the delivery capability of the Dolby Atmos format to AVRs and Pre-Processors equipped with the Atmos feature. Optimized for digital transmission with a lower bit rate than Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus compresses Atmos content to a 48kHz sampling rate, making it ideally suited for cable broadcast and online streaming.
DOLBY DIGITAL PLUS with ATMOS, also referred to as Dolby Digital JOC (Joint Object Coding) renders the spatially coded objects to a backward compatible 5.1 or 7.1 core mix, with side metadata generated to extract individual objects from the mix. Bit rate of the encoding determines the number of elements; 384kbps uses 12 elements while bit rates at 448kbps and above use 16 elements.
Dolby Digital Plus is the primary codec for streaming Dolby Atmos. This is the codec Apple has used since tvOS12 and the introduction of the Apple TV 4K device.
Like other Dolby Digital multichannel codecs, Dolby TrueHD uses compression for efficiency in signal transmission. Unlike other Dolby Digital multichannel codecs, Dolby TrueHD is a lossless compression, with decoding restoring the signal bit-for-bit to the master recording. Meridian Lossless Packing (MLP) is the mathematical basis Dolby TrueHD uses for compressing audio samples, originally conceived by digital pioneer Bob Stuart, co-founder of United Kingdom’s Meridian Audio. Dolby TrueHD provides for 16 discrete, 24-bit/192kHz audio channels, with flexibility allowing for transmission and storage up to 32 channels, with up to 24-bit precision from three sampling rates: 44.1 kHz, 96kHz, and 192 kHz. Dolby TrueHD outputs stereo, 6-channel 5.1, 8-channel 7.1, and “piggy-backed” Atmos metadata bitstreams. Always check, but Blu-ray players with a build date of 2013 or later should support Dolby Atmos if it supports Dolby TrueHD, (with Dolby Atmos encoded discs). Always verify through product descriptions or specifications if Dolby Atmos is supported. Some current players, odd as it might seem, do not.
Though Dolby TrueHD was only an optional codec for Blu-ray discs, it was developed exclusively for Blu-ray, preparing for and being re-energized when UHD Blu-ray with Atmos debuted. DTS-Master Audio, a direct competitor to Dolby TrueHD, has not garnered much presence in the professional community. Dolby Atmos is the audio companion to Dolby Vision, and professionally the unified workflow is overwhelmingly favored by content creators and the post-production community worldwide. DTS, acquired in 2016 by Xperi, has a partnership with IMAX theatrical, and is the audio technology for the IMAX Enhanced consumer format.
Development for Dolby AC-4 was initiated in 2011 as successor to AC-3 with a focus on compression efficiency as an economical means to offset growing bandwidth consumption by enhanced video in UHD 4K streaming delivery. The intent was to emulate uncompressed audio performance, comparable to lossless Dolby TrueHD. Dolby states ‘AC-4 is an audio delivery system designed from a clean sheet’. Adopted by ATSC 3.0 in 2017 as the audio codec for terrestrial UHD 4K broadcasting, Dolby AC-4 has wide-ranging goals for streaming and mobile devices. To date, Dolby AC-4 has not revealed much of a presence industry-wide, likely due to a lack of backward compatibility to AC-3 technologies. As described above, Dolby Digital Plus with an AC-3, 5.1 core provided a means for the codec to fall back upon, for decoding compatibility with legacy Dolby Digital devices. Dolby AC-4 content may only be decoded by compatible AC-4 devices. This limits options for streaming services and broadcasters in comparison to Dolby Digital Plus which can be streamed, with or without Atmos metadata, and containing Dolby Digital 5.1/2.0 fallback in the same package. Now at the five-year mark from introduction, applications for AC-4 appear limited to ATSC 3.0 broadcasting, itself slow to take hold. It remains to be seen if content creators, content providers, and hardware manufacturers wholly embrace the codec outside of terrestrial broadcasting, though Dolby AC-4 shows some traction and is growing with Dolby Atmos Music and portable devices.
SO, WHAT ABOUT DOLBY MAT, JUST WHAT IS IT?
We see now what form content takes, from the former to the current paths by which it is processed for distribution. And now it appears folks are just starting to hear about Dolby MAT, Metadata-enhanced Audio Transmission. Depicted as otherwise elsewhere, Dolby MAT is neither a codec nor a format. While Dolby MAT utilizes an encode/decode algorithm, it is constrained within a closed environment, devoid a final analog stage. Dolby MAT might be defined as an encode/conversion/transport/conversion/decode process, a “bridge” created between compatible Dolby MAT devices for any of the three codecs Dolby has designated to deliver Dolby Atmos content to the home, Dolby Digital Plus/JOC, Dolby TrueHD, and with ATSC 3.0 tuners, Dolby AC-4. Dolby MAT takes advantage of the high-capacity lanes provided by the eight, 16bit, 192kHz audio carrier lanes in the HDMI standard, starting with HDMI 1.3, and aggregates the bandwidth of multiple lanes to establish a data transport layer.
The explanations above for each Dolby codec depicted Dolby Lab’s expansion ambitions at each stage, unrealized when the technologies first made inroads into the marketplace. We now see how they unfolded to dramatically enhance the theatrical experience and why that technology was intended for and has made it into the home – including Dolby Vision.
Let’s illustrate Dolby MAT using an UHD Blu-ray player as an example. A Dolby MAT encoder is resident onboard the player and packs the variable bit-rate, Dolby TrueHD bitstreams for output. Within the MAT encode process, the bitstreams are encoded into encapsulated MAT frames, converted to LPCM and ferried over HDMI 1.3 or later using a fixed bit-rate, into a compatible AVR/processor with a Dolby MAT decoder that unpacks and converts the MAT frames into the original Dolby TrueHD bitstreams. The set-up configuration of the AVR/processor determines which bitstream is selected for decoding into analog and routes signals to assigned channels.
At the introduction of Dolby Atmos, Dolby MAT technology was expanded to support encoding and decoding of Dolby Atmos metadata incorporated in lossless pulse-code modulation (PCM) audio. Dubbed Dolby MAT 2.0, an essential key benefit is object-based audio information is dynamically encoded in real time by the source device, limiting latency and reducing processing complexity.
Due to bandwidth constraints and limited processing power, Atmos in consumer home theaters differs greatly from cinema. For the home, spatially-coded panning metadata is present in Dolby MAT 2.0 and is an efficient representation of the original object-based mastering mix. To reduce bit-rate, Atmos “objects” considered to be nearby to speakers intended to localize their acoustic presence are clustered together to form aggregate objects, which are then dynamically panned by the spatial coding. Content creators control object placement and clustering strength during the mastering process with the Dolby Atmos Production Suite tools.
Nearly identical to the example above, now let’s use a 7.1 Dolby Atmos disc to describe the process with Dolby MAT 2.0. To recreate the entire Atmos mix for the downstream Atmos-capable decoder, object elements must be removed to reveal the 7.1 “bed” channels. The Dolby MAT 2.0 Atmos-to-7.1 fold down process in the encoder packages the metadata separately from the bed channels and attaches it to the LPCM audio signal. After transport and the metadata activates the Atmos decoder, the elements carried in the bitstream (from 12 to 16) are fully unpacked and routed to the Atmos rendering engine in the AVR/processor, for acoustic positioning per the speaker configuration during AVR/processor setup.
Current available sources with Dolby MAT encoders are streaming devices Apple TV 4K with tvOS12 up through current, Roku Ultra 4K, Amazon Fire TV Cube, Nvidia Shield (2019 and later), and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (through TVs with Dolby Atmos certification). Content providers supporting Dolby Atmos include Vudu, Netflix (the Netflix Premium tier is required), HBO Max, and Disney Plus. Game consoles include XBOX One X/S and Sony PS4 (PS4 for Blu-ray Disc playback only). Televisions with ATSC 3.0 tuners in markets with broadcasting use the Dolby AC-4 codec to receive Atmos 7.1.4, plus a dialog enhancement feature called Voice Plus. Volume-leveling is included with the codec, called Real Time Loudness Leveler.
Dolby is rather declarative in emphasizing the last Dolby MAT 2.0 capable device in the signal chain perform conversion into analog.
DOLBY MAT AND AVPRO EDGE PRODUCTS
On the input configuration page for the newly introduced AVPro Edge switcher GUI, at the bottom, are two Dolby Labs technology-related checkboxes.
One is for allowing Low Latency Dolby Vision (also known as L5, Device-Led, or in HDMI 2.1, Source-Based Tone Mapping) to pass through to displays. Our engineering team recommends this be selected as some display manufacturers, such as Sony, use the Device-Led approach instead of using onboard Dolby Vision processing. The second checkbox, Support Dolby MAT, allows for Dolby MAT pass-through when selected or when unchecked, puts a metadata block in place. As described above with Blu-ray or UHD Blu-ray Disc content, Dolby TrueHD is the only Dolby codec to transport Dolby Atmos, via Dolby MAT, to a compatible AVR/processor. This codec will pass-through any AVPro Edge switcher with the box unchecked.
For streaming devices supporting content providers that offer Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus uses Dolby MAT 2.0, and for these sources you will need the box checked to enable pass-through.
Dolby MAT encoded content will pass-through all AVPro Edge extender kits and Bullet Train cables however, at this time Dolby MAT will not pass-through MXNET. Our forthcoming MXNET-10G products, slated to debut later this summer, will be compatible with Dolby MAT/Dolby MAT 2.0.
Current Televisions supporting Dolby Atmos are selected series from LG, Philips, and TCL however, check the manufacturers’ documentation for compliant models. TVs built from 2018 and newer supporting eARC are designed to support Dolby Atmos pass-through to a compatible AVR/processor (or compatible soundbar) for Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus. Only Dolby Digital Plus may be passed-through via ARC, depending on capability of the ARC port and the TV manufacturer. The HDMI ARC Standard can support 1-3 Mbps of data, whereas HDMI eARC can support up to 37 Mbps.
We used our Murideo 8K SEVEN generator to pull EDID information from LG and Sony OLEDs that are approximately two years old. Audio formats supported included 2-ch LPCM, 16-24bit from 32kHz -192kHz, Dolby AC-3 for 5.1 Dolby Digital 32kHz-48kHz, 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus 16bit 32kHz-48kHz, and 7.1 MAT (MPL) 16-20bit at 48kHz. Both displays are capable of taking signals from the birth of consumer digital sound through present day and beyond (Dolby MAT is capable of decoding ATSC 3.0, Dolby Digital AC-4, 7.1.4 audio information).
In the HDMI age, especially during the over-lapping twilight period from one version through the dawn of the successor, configuration is immensely critical for reliably transporting signals from all platforms to and through every intended product. AVPro Edge would love to provide easy-to-follow connection guides, freeing our customers and their clients legions of unnecessary anguish however, in an era where so many technology caveats intersect, it is invariably impossible due to potential version conflicts with the crossroads of products in the consumer home. Reading the fine print in all manufacturer’s instructions and specifications becomes more important than ever before.
Dolby is often unfairly criticized as having an unmatched level of influence over technology in the entertainment content creation and consumer playback industries. One response might be, nothing Dolby conceives proceeds forward without SMPTE and ITU consent and implementation. At one point in time, the Dolby name was synonymous with surround sound, either at the cinema or in the home. While the media we consume today is seldom held in our hands, like a cassette tape, or a shiny movie disc, siding with the consensus that Dolby Laboratories and its technologies have enriched all our lives beyond measure in all likelihood aligns you with the majority.
While there is no door prize for knowing the subject of the pun near the top, it’s a reference, if not homage, to Henry Kloss and his Advent Corporation, which was the first consumer audio cassette recorder manufacturer to incorporate Dolby Noise Reduction technology (Type-B). It was considered the first “hi-fi” cassette recorder, combining Dolby B Noise Reduction and chromium dioxide tape with a commercial-grade tape transport mechanism.
AVPro Edge's latest addition to the 8k line-up of products is our 8k 40Gbps down scaler, EDID manager and audio de-embedder. The AC-SC-1X is engineered to process 40 Gbps high-speed HDMI signaling, allowing integrators to reduce 8K signals to 4K or even to 1080p where required. Scaling is but only one of the arrows in the AC-SC-1X quiver. Dual HDMI outputs, audio de-embedding, EDID management, and support for a suite of features introduced into the HDMI 2.1 specification provide the unique architecture for a product answering the demands from today’s AV signals.
Check out our recent Product Training to get all the inside scoop on the AC-SC-1X!
8K, 40Gbps Support (FRL 5): High bandwidth signaling supplies plenty of headroom for current sources and is fully prepared to handle 8K signals from any devices using the AC-SC-1X as a bridge.
EDID Management and EDID Blend: 16 different EDID settings, including User Copy to retrieve the EDID from the connected display, enables systems with mixed era technologies to display the same content wherever desired. EDID Blend customization mixes audio and video EDIDs from two different signals for full flexibility and system compatibility.
Audio Extraction: Through the Digital Toslink output, 7CH PCM, Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital +, and DTS can be extracted and sent to an alternate location.
Ultra-Low-Profile Design: In the rack or nestled behind a display, the compact form factor of the AC-SC-1X allows for an easy fit where required.
Full HDR Support: As Hollywood becomes more adept at using HDR to augment storytelling, dynamic metadata in HDR content is pushing the color boundaries for compatible displays. AVPro Edge 8K devices repeat and passthrough HDR content retaining 100% of the fidelity in the signal. HDR, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision and IMAX Enhanced are no challenge for AVPro Edge image-handling circuitry, delivering full color volume and accurate tone mapping metadata to connected displays.
High Frame Rate Compatibility: The AC-SC-1X supports 120fps with 4K or 1080p signals.
Additional HDMI 2.1a Features: Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) Quick Media Switching (QMS), Quick Frame Transport (QFT) Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) and Source Based Tone Mapping (SBTM) are supported by the AC-SC-1X. Display Stream Compression 1.2, another feature in HDMI 2.1a is not supported, as AVPro Edge uses our proprietary Invisible Compression Technology (ICT) which provides for signal transport and processing with minimal, lossless compression and hyper-precise image fidelity.
Make sure you have a few of these products on hand for your next 8k installation! Give us a call with any questions or learn more here!
ISE 2022 was back this year in Barcelona, Spain. AVPro Edge had a great time sharing a booth with Murideo and showing our European customers a live MXNet Ecosystem, including the Switch, Encoders, Decoders, and the Control Box. We also showed off some new technology with the HDBaseT V3000 chipset we are starting to use in our point-to-point extenders.
Overall it was great to talk with old friends and colleagues, sharing stories about the unique installations where AVPro Edge was used. Here are some pictures from the event, and thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth!
AVPro Edge is gearing up to change the game again. The next generation of MXNet is just around the corner. Get ready for a superior solution set designed for the high end commercial segment. MXNet 10G, AVPro Edge’s premium AV over IP system, provides crystal clear uncompressed 4K video with versatile AV distribution applications support, including point-to-point signal extension, seamless HDMI matrix, 4K multi-viewers, multi-window video walls, KVM, control signals routing from any input to any output through 10GbE network, like CEC, IR, RS232, USB 2.0 and Ethernet.
This ecosystem is an ultra-low latency HDMI 2.0 4K60 4:4:4 video, multi-channel audio and control signal distribution system over 10G Ethernet network based on SDVoE standard and SEMTECH ASIC technologies. The core features of MXNet haven’t changed. We built this system on the same pillars of stability of the entire system, interoperability with any HDMI source, display, USB device, or control system, and easy deployment of the entire system.
The ecosystem concept provides the integrator access to all necessary components from end-points to network switchers and everything in between.
This iteration of MXNet features the same modular approach to allow for truly custom installations. Everything starts with the Transceiver and the Network Switch. Each Transceiver has a built in SFP+ port, and can be used with fiber optic or copper. They also include versatile module cards including ICRON USB 2.0 (480Mbps) over IP, and audio downmixing.
The AVPro Edge custom network switches are built for SFP+ adapter modules which allow for a flexible mix of fiber or copper runs. The switches will be available with 12, 24, or 48 ports. We will also be introducing the our first 10G copper POE switches.
Then comes the Control Box which is the brain of your MXNet system, and runs MXNet Mentor. With unmatched featues like input source previewing, the Mentor software will help you set up the entire system easier and faster than you ever thought possible.
AC-MXNET-10G-SW24Q: 24X 10G SFP+ Stackable Managed Switch with Two 40G QSFP+
The Control box
AC-MXNET-10G-CBOX: MXNet 10G Control Box is the brain of your MXNet system and runs our now unmatched MXNet Mentor setup, configuration, and testing software. The CBOX will help system integrators troubleshoot which network switch port connects to which encoder or decoder using our AVPro Edge exclusive switch management feature. This includes Real-time bandwidth data which shows the amount of multicast IP traffic each encoder generates. A new useful tool for SDVoE systems is our exclusive input source previewing on the Web GUI.
SFP ports are 10G versions of a slot on a network switch or MXNet 10G Transceiver where small form-factor pluggable (SFP) transceivers are inserted.
DAC cables are high speed cables with Small Form Factor Pluggable (SFP) Transceivers on either end. They are used for stacking MXNet network switches.
QSFP breakout cables (also known as MTP to LC breakout cables, harness cables, or fanout cables) provide multiple connections for expanding the number of ports on the network switch.
the Poe Switch
This 24 port PoE “dumb” switch provides a power only (non-data) CAT cable connection for PoE-enabled IP devices like the MXNet 10G Transceiver.
We couldn't be more excited to bring this system to market. The MXNet 10G Ecosystem is currently in production and will be shipping Summer 2022.
Click the button below to download the full introductory flyer.
AVPro Edge is ready InfoComm 2022 and we’re so excited to see everyone. We will have some brand new solutions as well as our most popular products on display. The show runs from June 8-10 in Las Vegas, NV. Check us out in booth #W1555 and the HDBaseT booth, #W1337. You can also register for free with our VIP code, AVP365!
Check out what products and demos we'll be showing below, we can't wait to see you!
MXNet is the AV over IP video distribution ecosystem from AVPro Edge. With the MXNet Ecosystem, integrators finally have an end-to-end solution developed with them in mind. Our engineering team focused on three things, stability of the entire system, interoperability with any HDMI source, display, USB device, or control system, and easy deployment of the entire system.
DEMO: Check out our Mosaic Video Wall showing off the customization abilities of MXNet
The next generation of MXNet is looming and you can expect a luxurious upgrade. MXNet 10G, AVPro Edge’s premium AV over IP system, provides crystal clear uncompressed 4K video with versatile AV distribution applications support, including point-to-point signal extension, seamless HDMI matrix, 4K multi-viewers, multi-window video walls, KVM, control signals routing from any input to any output through 10GbE network, like CEC, IR, RS232, USB 2.0 and Ethernet.
DEMO: Don't miss our 3x2 video wall showing off the multi-view, video wall, and switching capabilities of this powerful 10G SDVOE technology
USB 3.1 Extension from Bullet Train
USB Extension is simplified with Bullet Train. Our all new USB extension cables and hub are able to manage both USB 3.1, 3.0 & 2.0 connections at the same time. Made to work with video conferencing software like Zoom and Teams, this device can connect 4 USB cameras to your conferencing software through one single USB connection.
DEMO: We'll have a Teams/Zoom meeting set up extending a 4k camera with our USB Hub
The Troubleshooting Bench
Visit our troubleshooting bench where we showcase the Fox & Hound Test and Troubleshooting Kit as well as video wall calibration with Murideo products.
Come see us at the HDBaseT booth (#W1337) where we'll be using our KVM wall plate to control a Smart Board with a remote laptop, sending 4k HDMI audio/video signals bi-directionally with USB signals.
As a manufacturer of video distribution products sold internationally, at AVPro Edge we are hyper-confident our affiliations with HDMI, HDCP, HDBaseT and the Imaging Science Foundation enable our engineers to design best-in-class products containing HDMI inputs, outputs and without-a-doubt-puts. Yet at times in our Sioux Falls headquarters, walking past the tech assistance offices that monitor our phone support lines, and pausing to hear integrators calling from project sites with a myriad of aural puzzles, I become re-amazed (sure, feel free to use that one...). Has our industry become so devoid of training it is taking for granted all products with HDMI ins / outs / ups and downs now simply work, regardless of their born-on date? In one sense that is true, as HDMI was designed for licensed products to produce an image when connected together.
As a major update, HDMI 2.1, was announced on January 4th, 2017, and while for some that may have passed unheralded, the industry is now on the cusp for 8K resolution and other significant enhancements to become mainstream.
Inattention to HDMI designations with legacy devices, particularly cabling, produces unanticipated compatibility issues for consumers and integrators alike, as next generation products attempt to mesh within existing systems. And adding to that, HDMI LA (HDMI Licensing Administrator, Inc.) announced prior to the opening of CES 2022 a minor revision, but a change in designation nonetheless, to HDMI 2.1a.
AVPro Edge sponsors AVPro Academy regional trainings and presentations at CEDIA Tech Summits, affording the integration community opportunities for keeping pace with new technology convergence. HDMI 2.1a crosses the HDMI 2.0 series Rubicon, ushering forward a profound collection of advancements to enhance the viewing experience; it is still not, however, sans pitfalls.
Below I detail these features and the effect they impart on the future of video distribution and playback.
The previous major leap forward with HDMI was the step up from the 1.3/1.4 versions maximum data rate of 8.16 Gbit/s and maximum transmission bit rate of 10.2 Gbit/s to version 2.0 with a data rate of 14.4 Gbit/s and a maximum transmission bit rate of 18.0 Gbit/s, suitably positioning HDMI 2.0 into the UHD era. While teasing BT. 2020 color space, no consumer products emerged for that advantage. The audio sample frequency doubled to 1536kHz, and the format made provisions for 32 audio channels.
HDMI 2.0 retained TMDS encoding (Transition-Minimized Differential Signaling) for video signal transmission as in previous versions, relying on powerful clock recovery in the receiver for high skew tolerance to accommodate longer cable lengths.
Version 2.0a, released in April of 2015, added HDR10 support, while version 2.0b in December 2016 added capabilities for hybrid log-gamma (HLG). Worthy of mentioning is the establishment of the HDMI Forum, by HDMI founding members, in October of 2011. From October 25, 2011, forward, additions and changes to the HDMI specification are the responsibility of the HDMI Forum, with more on that to follow.
HDMI 2.1/HDMI 2.1a
By the numbers, data capacity for HDMI2.1 catapults to a maximum data rate of 42.6Gbit/s and maximum transmission bit rate of 48.0 Gbit/s, and how this is accomplished within the constraint of using the same 19 pin form factor is remarkable.
As with previous version updates initiating substantial changes, implementation often trails press day fanfare by years. HDMI 2.1’s entry delay was hampered by chip availability prior, and unrelated to, the pandemic.
A quantitatively significant leap in bandwidth is made possible in HDMI 2.1, in part attributable by shifting from three data channels of 6 Gbps (the 18Gbps total for HDMI 2.0) into three data channels each doubling the signal rate to 12 Gbps. How the data is structured also changed, using a packet-based model embedding the TMDS clock signal into the data 3 lane, and converting the TMDS clocking channel (which in previous HDMI versions never transmitted audio, video, or data), into a fourth data channel of 12Gbps. Encoding efficiency gained in the packet-based format allotted more bandwidth to data transfer compared to TMDS, enabling the four channels an aggregate maximum data rate of 42.6 Gbps, nearly three times that of HDMI 2.0 with a maximum transmission bit rate of 48.0Gbps.
Fixed Rate Link
This rearrangement to the physical layer architecture, increasing HDMI data transfer, is referred to as Fixed Rate Link. Ranked from FRL1 through FRL6, it is broken out to define the number of “lanes” (using paired wires contained in the HDMI cable) and the lane rate bandwidth of each, expressed in Gbps. Combinations range from a minimum of three channels of 3Gbps with FRL1, to a maximum of four channels of 12Gbps for FRL6.
Embedding the TMDS clock signal within FRL signal packets enables the bandwidth density necessary for HDMI 2.1 to host features like Dynamic HDR, Variable Refresh Rate, Link Training, and more. Despite the transmission mode of AC-coupled FRL replacing DC-coupled TMDS, HDMI 2.1 is not exclusively free of using TMDS. FRL maintains backward compatibility were data rates to fall under FRL minimum support range. TMDS fallback encompasses FRL1 and FRL2, although a particular device may not support all possible signals in those rates.
AVPro Edge introduced the world's first 8K matrix switcher, the AC-MX-42X, which operates within Fixed Rate Link 5 parameters.
Link Training, enmeshed in FRL for HDMI, is a protocol for switching between TMDS and FRL and is intended to create reliable and stabilized communication between a Source and a Sink. Six Link Training states exist in HDMI ultimately governing the quality level of the image to be displayed. Link Training plays no direct part in image fidelity parameters rather, it parses EDID information from the sink on behalf of the source, verifying FRL support and confirming the maximum compatible rate of data that can be exchanged (and other display criteria such as timing, color depth, etc.). Link Training can assess HDCP status but that is optional. The source initiates Link Training, with the Sink negotiating for a specific FRL rate. If the Sink requests a new Link Rate, LTS: 4 (Link Training State) can be used to change FRL rates. Upon agreement, FRL transmission commences with LTS: P (Passed). If Link Training fails (LTS: L) TMDS is initiated, with an image of some construct designed to appear.
It is at this juncture where integrators should pay heed and consider test equipment capable of verification for system signals.
As an example, say you have an enthusiast gaming client, and your design comprises of a leading game console, next Gen 8K display, switchgear for multiple locations in the dwelling, and Ultra High Speed cabling. At 4k/100/120fps, 12-bit 4:4:4 RGB, it’s a toe-tip over the 48Gbps threshold by a scant .11Gbps. Link training suppresses the signal to a still fantastic 40.1 Gbps. But with HDMI 2.1 and HDMI 2.1a, additional features can further reduce bandwidth, with the “Info” button on the display remote control alerting your client to less than state-of-the-art performance. While testing prior to deployment has always been a best practices strategy and manufacturers such as AVPro Edge sister company, Murideo, engineer and build affordable, field portable test instrumentation, design verification before large-scale, duplicate purchases could prove to be a hidden miracle.
And as I mentioned at the start regarding tech support…test gear can mitigate company downtime, isolate issues to their origin and even prevent them from arising.
High Frame Rate
The quantum uptick in bandwidth supported by HDMI 2.1 gives manufacturers freedom to develop new devices outputting or receiving resolutions as high as 10420 x 4320…10K. While unlikely the market will see ultra-high resolutions eclipsing 8K any time soon, 100/120fps is supported with HDMI 2.1, and game consoles available now are capable of outputting 4K/120fps.
As an entertainment medium, HFR movies have been met with a fair amount of skepticism. The series of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit movies were critically received but largely commercial disappointments. Ang Lee’s two 120fps movies, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and Gemini Man exhibited a hyperrealism which most people found disconcerting. The lack of content from Hollywood for this domain suggests that it isn’t commercially viable, though James Cameron is said to be shooting the Avitar sequels in HFR so perhaps as the consumer side of things is catching up with theatrical technology, we may see more in the future. High Frame Rate should not be confused with High Refresh Rates.
Frames per Second vs. Refresh Rate
There is an element of confusion circling around high frame rates and “high refresh rates”, so much so the terms are often used interchangeably. Each term refers to a similar visual concept, but different tasks performed by different hardware devices.
Movement depicted on a display refers to the number of consecutive still images or frames and the rate at which new frames appear per a SMPTE time-coded increment, which is one second of clock time expressed as frames per second, or fps. The greater the number of frames, the higher the frame rate.
Refresh rate refers to the number of times per second the display creates a new viewable image and is expressed in Hertz (Hz.).
To illustrate the difference between frame rate and refresh rate, merely pause active content. Frame rate halts, however, refresh continues. Simply put: Frame rate is in content, refresh rate is in hardware.
Though widely known, for context I will briefly make the addition that a manufacturer’s marketing information pertaining to refresh rate may not (read: rarely, if ever) match the engineering specifications of a television. Sadly, “biggest numberitis” is a malady that still persists in the marketing world and the cure eludes television manufacturers. Motion Rate, MotionFlow, and TruMotion refer to the jargon chicanery TV makers use to describe features such as black frame insertion or framerate interpolation, and the associated numbers inflate the actual refresh rate of the display. It’s a minefield rife with danger in today's HDMI 2.1 world, as the 120Hz goes-faster-model description on the box may refer to an actual 60Hz operating panel inside.
HDMI Forum Variable Refresh Rate
It will probably enter the lexicon as VRR, but the HDMI Forum prefix is key for HDMI 2.1 products. Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) is nothing new to the PC-based gaming community, having begun life – and eternal conquest – as graphics card maker AMD with FreeSync battles Nvidia and G-Sync for format domination. PC users found the VRR format available to them was dependent on who manufactured the graphics card inside their PC. As such, a wide belief extends this to TV support for either FreeSync or G-Sync to properly support VRR game consoles. Just throwing this out as a free life lesson, never make something thought to be proprietary into a tattoo. HDMI Forum VRR (or if you prefer, HDMI VRR) is the consequential standardization of this process, with the HDMI group establishing their own version of the VESA Adaptive Sync protocol. Next Gen consoles Xbox Series X supports HDMI VRR in conjunction with FreeSync VRR, and April 25th Sony announced VRR support for HDMI 2.1 VRR compatible TVs for PS5, a presumed alignment with HDMI Forum VRR.
For ardent gamers, VRR is a critical feature to image clarity. Next Gen consoles can send 120fps information to a Television that is capable of displaying that frame rate (see Refresh Rate above…trust, but verify!), so crucially for gaming, the match-up seems idyllic: the gaming device will send video frames to the display at a rate it can efficiently process them. In reality, the in-game frame rate fluctuates perpetually as plot scenarios evolve. In an F1 driving simulation, a sequence with the car being prepared in the garage parses out frames less frantically than a 320kph (biggest numberitis shamefully in use) pass in the Belgian countryside.
An HDMI VRR-featured television allows the frames to be displayed at the rate they are sent, not at a fixed rate, adjusting the display’s refresh rate in real-time. Sudden changes in frame rate cause image tearing on displays with static refresh rates. HDMI VRR dynamically adjusts refresh rates to match rapidly changing frame rates for a consistent, smoothly transitioning image.
A VRR-capable display will vary refresh rates anywhere from 40-120Hz.
Xbox Series X and PS5 both are HDMI VRR capable, so the display will require this feature designation as will any device the signal traffics through, such as an AVR. Ultra High Speed cables are necessary at all device connection points.
While an exciting feature aimed at gamers, be it known VRR technologies are yet to be deemed perfected. In some instances, they can affect input lag and may not completely eliminate all screen tearing artifacts.
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
With some display manufacturers, getting into game mode was like trying to get into Studio 54 back in the day…you had to know somebody. Deep dives into normally bypassed parts of the TV menu were necessary to access and activate Game mode, often temporarily disabling settings directly relative to image fidelity on non-gaming sources. For HDMI 2.1 feature set televisions, ALLM signals the display to switch into Game mode as well as activate all the necessary settings to reduce delay and lag. It essentially optimizes pixel processing for best latency or best pixel processing. It won’t contribute to your gaming experience, only properly prepare for it. ALLM isn’t activated every time a game console is powered up, as it is capable of detecting game play, media streaming, or disc use. Not all televisions with HDMI 2.1 ports necessarily have the feature, as some Sony models launched required updates to enable ALLM.
Quick Frame Transport
Quick Frame Transport (QFT) is designed to improve the transfer rate of video game data from console output to display input. Display latency is measured as the time necessary for a frame of data at the source GPU to be displayed on the television screen. The data path is longer than simply the HDMI cable, as it includes output circuitry in the source device, TV processing, and screen refresh. QFT accelerates the transport time between the source HDMI 2.1 output port to the display’s HDMI 2.1 input port at a higher rate than normal. In gaming terms, the delay between pressing a controller button and discernible movement on the screen is reduced, with any incremental reduction in latency considered quantitative in the gaming world.
HDMI Quick Media Switching (QMS)
Using HDMI VRR, HDMI 2.1a Quick Media Switching eliminates the momentary screen blackout when HDMI sources are switched.
The black interval comes into play when refresh rates differ between video sources making employ of the HDMI VRR feature an elegant solution. One caveat, however, is the black screen will still occur if resolutions are different between sources.
Display Stream Compression 1.2
Companion to higher bandwidth requirements at the as-yet, fringe side of HDMI 2.1, specifically 8K and beyond, are new compression methods for data transport. Most common is Display Stream Compression (DSC). AVPro Edge carefully examined DSC when designing our first products and determined the criteria for DSC relied too heavily upon declaration that tangible differences to static images were negligible, heavily skewing the conclusion that it was an artifact free platform. As a result, AVPro Edge’s in-house engineering team designed ICT, our Invisible Compression Technology algorithm.
At first glance, DSC 1.2 appears to be very similar in concept to Software Defined Video-over-Ethernet (SDVoE) in especially using the approach of splitting a video frame into equally-sized slices along horizontal and vertical, and then processing these slices in parallel. Theoretically, it can be considered similar to interlaced analog video and scanning lines. In another facet, DSC 1.2 is said to be able to increase maximum color bit depth to 16-bit with YCbCr 4:2:0 and YCbCr 4:2:2 without the need for conversion to RGB first, taking on the persona of Color Space Conversion.
With bandwidths and resolutions to be addressed by this compression technology at 64Gbps and 10K respectively, much can change prior to implementation and many years may pass before it is needed.
HDMI Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)
HDMI 2.1a features Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) as the follow-up generation to ARC. The primary benefit with eARC is a robust boost in audio bandwidth and speed, from approximately 1Mbps to 38Mbps, supporting up to 32 audio channels including eight-channel, 24-bit / 192kHz uncompressed data streams. High bitrate audio formats from Blu-ray, 4K Blu-ray and streaming providers including Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio plus object-based formats Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are compatible with eARC. Simplified connectivity with reliable HDCP negotiation were design goals with the actual audio path clear of CEC pathways, avoiding unwanted control protocols. Audio to a Television originating from DBS, CATV, connected source devices, or internal streaming apps can be routed back via eARC to a surround system or to a sound bar through a single HDMI cable.
While connected devices are not specifically required to be HDMI 2.1a certified, certification practically assures eARC support. Manufacturers can produce devices compatible with both ARC and eARC however, eARC is not defined as backwards compatible with ARC.
While HDMI 2.1 standardized the transport of dynamic HDR metadata over HDMI, it only formalized dynamic metadata interfaces already in use with HDMI 2.0 by Dolby Vision and HDR10+. Both formats function properly with HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 2.1a does not provide any additional capabilities. Standardization incorporates compliance testing to ensure Static and Dynamic HDR metadata can be exchanged through the HDMI interface.
All the benefits of static HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision remain unchanged in the HDMI 2.1 ecosystem.
Source-Based Tone Mapping
The “a” in HDMI 2.1a refers to the inclusion of Source Based Tone Mapping to the HDMI 2.1 specification, introduced on January 5th of this year, prior to the start of CES 2022. The HDMI Forum members, recognized that some streaming services were combining SDR, HDR, Dynamic HDR and graphics overlays simultaneously on one screen. In that mixed-bag environment, metadata is absent as it cannot be generated for a composite image. The source device optimizes the image suspending metadata, preventing the display device from attempting to tone map. SBTM is not a new HDR standard, rather, it is designed to partner with HDR10 and HLG and adjust luminance and color range per display capabilities when presented with this scenario.
Frame by frame, the source signals the display it is tone mapping the composite content to characteristics outlined by the display’s EDID. Signaling stops when the composite image ceases.
Another instance where SBTM is unique and beneficial is the enabling of “plug and play” HDR gaming without the need for pre-play calibration. From reading the EDID, the gaming device knows the display’s preferred color volume, and the gaming engine can appropriately tone map the content. No dynamic range in the display needs to be reserved for pixel values outside the specified color volume, applying full capability of the display to the content being played,
So, there can’t be a downside, correct? As with other unique HDMI 2.1 features, SBTM is a manufacturer-optional feature with no requirement to provide support. The same options apply to HDMI VRR, ALLM, and extended resolutions, bandwidths or 120Hz refresh support. Perhaps this is fodder for a future article, but rescinding listing of the HDMI version numerically and resorting to a provided feature list is a tedious imposition upon the consumer, and perhaps that might be the HDMI Forum’s ultimate intent.
Every square inch of carton real estate will be required to list ALL supported features. The HDMI Forum’s return argument, weak as it appears, is that this is always how its standards have worked and features that are optional give manufacturers flexibility in the functionality they offer.
Without question, the features scheduled to become active with HDMI 2.1 provides the consumer with beneficial, ease-of-use image enhancements in lockstep with a massive boost to the format’s bandwidth signal handling capabilities, when all devices and cabling are within the 2.1 ecosystem. HDMI 2.1a is considered a minor upgrade, adding source-based tone mapping to the HDMI 2.1 specification, yet significant of itself to warrant a designation change.
In the Link Training section, I commented upon the value of test gear and procedures designed to verify if specified products deliver their expected performance when installed into a new or existing system. That sentiment interleaves with the notion expressed at the end of Source-Based Tone Mapping that deciphering what features are on-board particular products by list only, sans any inclusive, governing numerical designation, will at times seem and ultimately prove futile, contributing to a collision of confusion we haven’t seen as an industry in quite some time.
As end-users yourselves, enjoy the new features of HDMI 2.1a, but as integrators, buckle up!
By Matt Murray, Chief Technology Officer
With this new partnership, clients of ISM West will benefit from full access to AVPro Edge products and support.
AVPro Edge, a manufacturer of video distribution products, is proud to announce a partnership with ISM West to expand representation of the AVPro Edge brand across the Western United States, including California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska, and Hawaii. ISM West will provide professional, insightful marketing services with an innovative approach to systems applications and technical support. ISM West’s commitment to establishing and maintaining trusted relationships and delivering superior customer service to its clients aligns perfectly with AVPro Edge’s core values. In addition, this relationship further solidifies AVPro Edge’s commitment to integrators, assuring accessibility to products and product knowledge.
“ISM West is excited to represent AVPro Edge’s comprehensive line of problem-solving AV products,” says ISM West founder Cary Bernam. Control of both the design and manufacturing process makes AVPro Edge a natural fit with our other professional AV lines. We see great opportunities to serve our commercial AV integrator customer base.”
AVPro Edge specializes in developing future-proof, value-engineered audio/video distribution products with an industry-leading 10-year warranty. The complete product line includes a range of extenders, AV over IP, distribution amplifiers, matrix switchers, multi-viewers, audio equipment, and test gear, all engineered with military-grade quality to ensure long component life.
Jared Kantack of AVPro Edge stated, “With our new relationship with ISM West, AVPro Edge can deepen its relationships with integrators in the Commercial A/V space by providing cutting edge, practical solutions!”
For more information on ISM West, please visit http://ismwest.com.
To learn more about AVPro Edge and view the complete product line, please visit www.AVProEdge.com or call (877) 886-5112.
About AVPro Edge:
AVPro Edge was founded and is headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. An AVPro Global Holdings company, AVPro Edge diligently develops and manufactures connectivity products designed to provide integrators with the tools they need to get their jobs done. As a full adopter of HDMI, HDBaseT and HDCP, AVPro Edge delivers the quality products integrators deserve. Our engineers regularly work with these organizations and chip manufacturers to ensure the very best and capable products come to market. For more information, visit www.AVProEdge.com or call (877) 886-5112.
Press Contact: Tom Devine, firstname.lastname@example.org, 605-782-2471
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