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HDMI Switchers. Success or Failure?

Spire_JeffSpire_Jeff Formerly Caffeinated ProgrammerPosts: 1,917
I am wondering if anyone has any opinions on the multitude of HDMI switching options currently available. I really like the new switchers by AMX, but they are not currently available and I need something to handle 8x10. I decided to share the information I have gathered in hopes that others can add to the list and together we can figure out what is viable and what is hype.

Autopatch UTPRO:
PROs
- Found it to be extremely reliable in testing at any distance (even a little longer than 100M) even at 1080p resolution.
- Distribution over CAT5e.
- Allows control of display through the end point on same CAT5e wire. (IR and SERIAL)
- Reasonably priced with included End Point adapters.
CONs
- fixed at 8x8.
- Does not help display sources with a limited number of keys on all displays.
Concerns
- Customer will not be happy when a source will not display on all of the TVs desired.

Just Add Power:
PROs
- Very Scalable
CONs
- Firmware takes a LONG time to apply.
- Signal is not as good as direct connection.
- Depending on firmware, artifacts can be introduced in video. Supposedly fixed with current firmware.
Concerns
- Video quality will not be as good as it could be.
- Quirky control of network switch that enables switching functionality.

Autopatch ENOVA DGX 16x16
PROs
- Seems to have resolved most of the issues with HDMI distribution.
CONs
- Still not ready for delivery.
Concerns
- New product with an uncertain history. Potential for unexpected issues is high.

Has anyone had any real-world experience with any HDMI solutions? Is there a piece you can recommend? How about anything you would avoid at all costs?

Thanks,
Jeff
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Comments

  • jjamesjjames Just another dude Posts: 2,906
    My question would be - who actually uses HDMI switchers? Typically HDMI in general is spotty (in our experience), and who's going to run HDMI from a piece that's right next to the display down to the rack, and then back up to the display, not to mention the cost of these switchers. For me, HDMI switches are a ripoff much like Monster cables.

    I'd be interested in success stories just because I find hard to believe that these are even viable solutions in the first place.
  • Thomas HayesThomas Hayes Junior Member Posts: 1,164
    Like it or not HDMI is here for awhile. We are currently testing the Extron MLS-608D and the kramer VT-728. I would myself like to see display port over HDMI any day but it's the Beta/VHS thing all over again. We are running HDMI to our projectors that are about 50' away. Now are you talking HDMI switchers or HDMI matrix ?
  • Thomas HayesThomas Hayes Junior Member Posts: 1,164
    BTW, I am looking forward to the AMX units being released. ** the Extron MLS-608 D that we are testing converts to CAT5 and then back to HDMI, the Kramer is HDMI all the way.
  • the8thstthe8thst Junior Member Posts: 470
    jjames wrote: »
    My question would be - who actually uses HDMI switchers? Typically HDMI in general is spotty (in our experience), and who's going to run HDMI from a piece that's right next to the display down to the rack, and then back up to the display, not to mention the cost of these switchers. For me, HDMI switches are a ripoff much like Monster cables.

    I'd be interested in success stories just because I find hard to believe that these are even viable solutions in the first place.

    HDMI is here and now. It's high time to accept it, test it, and decide on a solution for switching it. We have tested the UTPro 8x8 in the office with 7 displays hooked up and a variety of source components. The only one that we had a problem with was a Motorola Cable Box for Comcast. The boxes that worked without issue to all 7 TVs were: DirecTV H24, Cisco RNG200, AppleTV gen2, Sony Bluray, Tivo Premier.

    We have 4 jobs slated to be completed this year that are all based around the UTPro HDMI matrix units. I am anxiously awaiting the release of the Enova switchers so we have a robust solution for more than 8 TV (albeit at twice the price), but right now we do not have a solution for a bigger matrix.

    I know the Enova HDMI is based on the Epica DGX, so we at least know that the chassis and back plane switch engineering has been successfully deployed and running in the field. I am still going to test and roll the big switchers out very cautiously at first.
  • jjamesjjames Just another dude Posts: 2,906
    the8thst wrote: »
    HDMI is here and now. It's high time to accept it, test it, and decide on a solution for switching it.
    Maybe I'm just confused, but what do you do in the scenario when there's a TV in the room, has a cable box (or blu-ray player) next to it, and in-ceiling speakers. Do you still run the HDMI down to the rack and then run it back to the display along with the audio down to a Precis (or other audio switcher)? I guess we try to keep things simple: HDMI straight the TV, audio to the Precis. If i needs to be shared, since the audio is being run to a Precis, we'll use a component switcher. I'm just not seeing the advantage of using an HDMI switch over a component switch in some situations considering both do 1080i & p. Then again, I'm behind a computer the entire time and never on-site and have very little to do with the design process.
    the8thst wrote: »
    We have tested the UTPro 8x8 in the office with 7 displays hooked up and a variety of source components. The only one that we had a problem with was a Motorola Cable Box for Comcast. The boxes that worked without issue to all 7 TVs were: DirecTV H24, Cisco RNG200, AppleTV gen2, Sony Bluray, Tivo Premier.
    Excellent info to have, thanks!
  • the8thstthe8thst Junior Member Posts: 470
    jjames wrote: »
    Maybe I'm just confused, but what do you do in the scenario when there's a TV in the room, has a cable box (or blu-ray player) next to it, and in-ceiling speakers. Do you still run the HDMI down to the rack and then run it back to the display along with the audio down to a Precis (or other audio switcher)? I guess we try to keep things simple: HDMI straight the TV, audio to the Precis. If i needs to be shared, since the audio is being run to a Precis, we'll use a component switcher. I'm just not seeing the advantage of using an HDMI switch over a component switch in some situations considering both do 1080i & p. Then again, I'm behind a computer the entire time and never on-site and have very little to do with the design process.

    The simple answer is: we don't have sources local to displays, so we distribute everything.
    All sources are generally in the main rack and have HDMI feeding a UTPro and analog feeding one or two 18x18 DSPs.
    The exception is when we put a local bluray in a theater or a global bluray on the main level. In either instance the BDP will send HDMI (and analog audio if needed) back to the rack to either feed a Matrix or an AV Receiver.

    We pretty much never change TV inputs or use the TVs internal tuners or internet apps. We have found that AppleTV and Bluray players have the streaming apps covered and everyone of our customers has cable or DirecTV for DVR or live TV.
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Old Timer Posts: 4,584
    jjames wrote: »
    Maybe I'm just confused, but what do you do in the scenario when there's a TV in the room, has a cable box (or blu-ray player) next to it, and in-ceiling speakers. Do you still run the HDMI down to the rack and then run it back to the display along with the audio down to a Precis (or other audio switcher)? I guess we try to keep things simple: HDMI straight the TV, audio to the Precis. If i needs to be shared, since the audio is being run to a Precis, we'll use a component switcher. I'm just not seeing the advantage of using an HDMI switch over a component switch in some situations considering both do 1080i & p. Then again, I'm behind a computer the entire time and never on-site and have very little to do with the design process.

    I've had pretty good success in that kind of scenario in making sure the TV has an audio out. Let the TV handle all the local HDMI switching itself, and run the audio back to my speaker amp or multi-room system. Then you only need one input on the audio system for that room ... it's not like you can use those sources elsewhere anyway. If it's a shared source, well, then you are stuck using a switcher of some sort, and for the most part we've just stuck with component ... not a solution that's going to stand the test of time, I don't think. As mentioned, we are going to have to find reliable HDMI switching. I'd love to see them just give up already on HDCP. It's worthless as digital rights enforcement, and just keeps stuff from working properly more than not.
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,368
    I too am hoping the Enova 16x16 will live up to our expectations but it seems lately that not too many new products do. It's usually quite the opposite.

    Was your experience with J.A.P. the 1G or the new 2G devices? Supoosedly with the new 2G stuff you can inject messages into the video display. That would be kinda cool. I've used the 1G and there are quircks and very little documentation or support. I submitted a query once just to see what the recommended ports setting would be for a Cisco 2960 and never got a response. The 1G system worked for the most part but every once in a while a receiver would lock up and require a reboot. These weren't the POE ones which was a mistake on my part. I'd like to try the 2G and see how they perform but would probably rather wait for the Enova. I did write a module for Cisco switches if you're ever in need of one.

    It just sucks that there isn't an easy reliable way to distribute 1080P content to multiple end points. I agree with Dave that these HDCP requirements cause more grief than good, well unless you're a Hollywood exec and they obviously don't care about our grief.
  • Thomas HayesThomas Hayes Junior Member Posts: 1,164
    HDCP is the biggest pain at the moment and EDID. We just ran into an EDID issue that caused a few days grief .My personal opinion is that the digital world interfaces just aren't to the level of flexibility as analog is. I also think the HDMI connector is consumer level trash, in the broadcast world all connectors lock into place.
  • ColzieColzie Senior Member Posts: 470
    I've done a number of jobs (4 I think?) using AMX's UTPro 8x8. It works very well. I love having an IR and 232 port at the receive end. Control is simple since the UTPro is a native device - just use the web server to configure the device number and master, and not only does the switcher show up, but so do all of the HDMI receivers.

    I'm very excited about the Enova DGX. Expand past 8x8, slots to add what is needed, and a built in Netlinx processor.
  • TurnipTruckTurnipTruck Junior Member Posts: 1,485
    I used UTPRO with good success. A had a few of the receive end boxes fail though.
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,368
    Enova 16 $38k ?

    Am I missing something or is the Enova DGX 16 fitted out with 4 HDMI input boards (16 in), 4 DX link output boards (16 cat5 out) and 16 DXlink HDMI over cat 5 receivers over $38,000.00 list?

    Sure it has a built in master but I can't tell if it has serial, IO or relay port but I'm not sure I like them in the same box anyway. Maybe if it was an ME 260 so it could be pulled and replaced with out affecting everything but regardless $38,000.00. Holy crap! The base price doesn't include cards or receivers does it? Is my math wrong?
  • TurnipTruckTurnipTruck Junior Member Posts: 1,485
    You're right Vining. Big bucks. The market for products like this are not buying on price. If you have the opportunity to sell something like this.... don't sell with your wallet!

    Sent from my MB860 using Tapatalk
  • ProdigalProdigal Junior Member Posts: 90
    38k?!?
    Geez..

    Anyway we did used the J.A.P. 1G aswell and the 2G over a house network, however we used it with only 1 source being distributed.

    Caused me some problems due to audio lyp-sync, since video was going trhough the Just Add Power 1G and audio was being fed directly to a Precis DSP in the rack. Audio was, obviously getting to the room sooner then video.

    Audio lag and the 1G freezing were my 2 problems using JAP 1G.

    The 2G had the same audio vs video problem, but had no frozen box with those.
    It's a nice to have solution, using the pre-built giga-network, if your amps are being fed by the signal coming out of the JAP devices and not directly from the source.

    Have now a job where we'll be fitting a AMX's UTPro 8x8, hope Colzie is right on this one. The fact it has IR and RS-232 as a native device is such a huge plus as well!

    Anyway, we want to slowly step in to HDMI world, it is indeed here to stay and should be a great asset if only HDCP could fly away and EDID worked better.
    Though we fixed EDID problems before, by simply changing HDMI cables, some (even some expensive ones) have poor shielding around the EDID cabling.
  • TurnipTruckTurnipTruck Junior Member Posts: 1,485
    You'll do fine with the UTPRO. Works as advertsied. Read the section in the manual about keys and the instigate send_commands.
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,368
    B&K (ATI) just announced they're releasing an 8x8 over CAT5/6 w/ 232and Bi-Di IR. No $$ on the switcher yet but the Rx hdmi/232IR boxes list for 999.00.
  • sonnysonny Junior Member Posts: 208
    I looked at DVI Gear at Cedia, looks pretty similar to the new AMX stuff. Anyone have any experience with it. If you have the right client, the new Enova product does look bad-a$$.
  • GSLogicGSLogic Original Member Posts: 562
    First, I hate HDMI. The audio is the big issue.

    I have done around 10-12 UT-Pro projects with GSLogic Home. The one at the Chicago Museum Smart Home gets beat-up everyday, it is a testament to the switcher. These people push more buttons in a day then a home owner does in a lifetime. :)

    I have seen some of the receivers died, but over all it seem very solid and they are fast.
    I would really like to be able to use both of the IRs for sending, when you have additional local sources.
  • tombadgertombadger Member Posts: 13
    For my last project' I've used Purelink MX-1800 modular matrix switcher in 12x6 HDMI configuration.
    It's been three months since it was installed and it is working without any problems.

    In the same project I've used Extron 8x4 HDMI matrix switcher for another room.
    This one was causing problems with HDCP and it is switching signals much slower than Purelink.

    Other brand I could recommend is Lightware (lightware.eu).
    I have very good experience with their DVI modular matrix switchers.
    It's been around three years since I installed first two 16x16 in government project and those are still working without any problems.
  • HARMAN_lasthumanHARMAN_lasthuman Junior Member Posts: 11
    vining wrote: »
    Am I missing something or is the Enova DGX 16 fitted out with 4 HDMI input boards (16 in), 4 DX link output boards (16 cat5 out) and 16 DXlink HDMI over cat 5 receivers over $38,000.00 list?

    Sure it has a built in master but I can't tell if it has serial, IO or relay port but I'm not sure I like them in the same box anyway. Maybe if it was an ME 260 so it could be pulled and replaced with out affecting everything but regardless $38,000.00. Holy crap! The base price doesn't include cards or receivers does it? Is my math wrong?

    The built in master is an internal card much like an ME-260/64 but is based on the NI-3101-SIG. There are no external ports on the back plane of the matrix (so no RS-232, IR, relays, or I/Os). All ports are added by either using the new EXB IP boxes or DXLink Tx/Rx boxes. If a 32x32 matrix was fitted with all DXLink cards, and all ins and outs had Tx/Rx boxes, the master would have 64 bi-directional serial ports, 64 IR Tx ports, and 64 IR Rx ports.

    Keep in mind too that you will also have 64 10/100 BaseT ethernet ports, 64 USB hub ports, 32 video scalers, power supply for all of the boxes (provided over the DXLinx), redundant power supplies, and a partridge in a pear tree (not really).
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,368
    lasthuman wrote: »
    The built in master is an internal card much like an ME-260/64 but is based on the NI-3101-SIG. There are no external ports on the back plane of the matrix (so no RS-232, IR, relays, or I/Os). All ports are added by either using the new EXB IP boxes or DXLink Tx/Rx boxes. If a 32x32 matrix was fitted with all DXLink cards, and all ins and outs had Tx/Rx boxes, the master would have 64 bi-directional serial ports, 64 IR Tx ports, and 64 IR Rx ports.

    Keep in mind too that you will also have 64 10/100 BaseT ethernet ports, 64 USB hub ports, 32 video scalers, power supply for all of the boxes (provided over the DXLinx), redundant power supplies, and a partridge in a pear tree (not really).
    Ok, so you have a master only and if you want to use it on a job as the only master any 232, IR, relay or IO needs would be an additional expense Using EXB device boxes for anything other than your video end point devices.

    It looks like a wonderful piece of equipment but we're talking over $50k list for a 16x16 switcher and a few extra boxes to control your other essential devices. Obviously not a fit for most jobs.
  • HARMAN_lasthumanHARMAN_lasthuman Junior Member Posts: 11
    vining wrote: »
    Ok, so you have a master only and if you want to use it on a job as the only master any 232, IR, relay or IO needs would be an additional expense Using EXB device boxes for anything other than your video end point devices.

    It looks like a wonderful piece of equipment but we're talking over $50k list for a 16x16 switcher and a few extra boxes to control your other essential devices. Obviously not a fit for most jobs.

    The frame itself MSRP's for $9500. Each card ranges from $1500 to $2500 and the Tx/Rx boxes are about $1500. So a fully decked out 16x16 with all DXLink cards and Tx/Rx boxes at every endpoint would run upwards of $77k MSRP. A frame with all HDMI cards is only $22k so that's pretty much the upper and lower price points.
  • jenannettjenannett Junior Member Posts: 1
    dxlink hdmi receivers

    I have a dvx 2155hd-t and have 1 tx and 2 rx, the rx that is connected to the tx doesnt have any problem displaying the video, but the rx that is connected via dxlink wont display any video at all.
  • HARMAN_lasthumanHARMAN_lasthuman Junior Member Posts: 11
    jenannett wrote: »
    I have a dvx 2155hd-t and have 1 tx and 2 rx, the rx that is connected to the tx doesnt have any problem displaying the video, but the rx that is connected via dxlink wont display any video at all.

    I'm not sure I fully understand the question. The DVX-2155 has two DXLink inputs and one DXLink output so you won't be able to use 2 Rx boxes.

    If your issue is with DXLink then you will have to make sure your cable is wired correctly using TIA 568B standard, your cable is minimum Cat-5e 250MHz rated cable (Cat-6a shielded is preferred), if your cable is not shielded make sure it is not running parallel to high voltage wiring or any other EMI producer, make sure dip switch 2 is off, and test the boxes by connecting them to the DVX directly with short cables. If you still don't have video then it may be a defective box and you should call AMX TS to get an RMA.
  • mpullinmpullin Obvious Troll Account, Marked for Deletion Posts: 949
    There wasn't a question.

  • travistravis Junior Member Posts: 180
    Anyone tried the Gefen HDMI matrixes?

    Or any HDBaseT extenders?
  • Thomas HayesThomas Hayes Junior Member Posts: 1,164
    Yes, we have a gefin in our boardroom, works okay. I am always concerned with wifi radition, flash backs to johnny Mnemonic and NAS...
  • Duncan EllisDuncan Ellis Code Junkie Posts: 115
    HDMI Switching

    I used one of the DGX 32 units on a 46m Yacht project and it worked a treat. The only issues I had were fixed by a firmware upgrade.
    It isn't cheap, but what is thats any good? The inbuilt master wasn't really much good to me to be fair and takes a bit of an age to boot up.
    There is one glitch, if the DXLink transmitters detect that there MAY be an issue with supplying power to the transmitters/receivers, they just shut down and you need to reset to make it work....THATS a bit of a pain.

    I've heard a few horror stories regarding people's choices of HDMI switching, but to be honest I thought this was pretty much a breeze. I think there is no choice now, we have to be looking at HDMI switching and I look at it in the mindset that I would rather buy something for a customer, built by a company that I have confidence in - not someone who is going to disappear in a couple of years, leaving me to hold the hot cookie!

    ...just my opinion!

    Duncan
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Old Timer Posts: 4,584
    *It's alive!*

    Well, since the thread is back from the dead anyway, my original comment looks kinda funny. We've moved thoroughly into HDMI switching. I too have had good success with the Enova DGX. I've used both Gefen and Key Digital as well, and though they are adequate in a low-budget job, they sometimes fail with certain equipment combinations. But if you know their limits and design carefully around them, you should be OK.
  • rfletcherrfletcher Junior Member Posts: 217
    travis wrote: »
    Anyone tried the Gefen HDMI matrixes?

    Or any HDBaseT extenders?

    I've never tried any of the Gefen matrixes but I've now had so many bad experiences with various Gefen equipment I am extremely wary of pretty much everything they make.
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