The MPS 409 out of the box abd put into full operation in just 15 minutes.
Visit the Extron MPS 409 product page. More Information...
Bridging The Analogue Digital Divide
By Marc Booth, RGB Integration
With digital video signal sources becoming more prevalent in today's AV Systems, bridging the divide between the different signal formats has become less of a specialty and more of an expectation for Audio Visual Professionals.
Extron's MPS 409 draws upon the Media Presentation Switcher product pedigree to deliver a hybrid switcher with the capability to integrate digital and analogue source signals with a few extra features.
The MPS 409 combines five separate switches into one enclosure, 3x1 HDMI with embedded audio, 2x1 DVI, 2x1 VGA/ HDTV component video, 2x1 composite video and 9x1 analogue stereo audio. Of course being separate switches means that they are able to work independently of each other, however there are a number of different modes that change the balance of operation.
Combine Switcher Mode - Allows all the digital video sources (HDMI, DVI) to switch together to a single HDMI output. Audio from the corresponding digital inputs is output through the local and program audio outputs.
Single Switcher Mode - All the various format switchers combine to create nine inputs. The signals and associated audio are switched to the outputs of that group. The audio is also switched to the program output. The inactive signal formats from each group are muted when in this mode.
Separate Switcher Mode - Each signal format group is able to switch independently to their own output, the MPS 409 effectively becomes four separate video switchers.
Keeping in mind that the MPS 409 is still only one rack unit high and a standard 19"width it has a lot of extra quality features to compliment its switching capabilities.
The Microphone and program audio outputs have front panel adjustment for ease of access to balance control. A cleverly integrated ducking processor reduces the program audio when a microphone signal is detected and a 48v phantom processor caters for the requirements of condenser microphones. All the audio inputs have independent gain and attenuation so that there are no noticeable differences between volume levels when switching inputs.
On the video side the incorporation of EDID Minder maintains continuous communications with DVI and VGA sources to ensure that the correct resolutions are output to the display. This can be especially useful when a computer powers-up so that it is putting out the expected resolution to output a picture. Aside from the time saving call for technical support, the implementation of EDID on the MPS 409 is simple, an automatic mode that captures and stores the EDID information from the display, then communicates this information to all the input sources.
We all know that today's AV Integrators are challenged with DVI and HDMI over even the most minor distances. Compared to analogue, digital signals are very susceptible to collapse. There are also a lot of other variables to consider, losses in signal performance due to poor quality cable are more commonly the cause of artefacts on the screen. Regardless of format, it is always preferable to start with the best quality audio and video signals then maintain this throughout your system. The MPS 409 has automatic cable equalisation on all digital inputs which actively processes the incoming digital signals. By applying equalization to restore RGB Channels to their proper levels and regenerating the clock channel a collapsed digital signal can be restored.
Considering the restrictions coming into place starting on the 31st of December 2010 a HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) capability in your A/V system is worth giving strong consideration if you are likely to be integrating a Blu-ray player. If your a little unsure of the relevance you can download Extron's white paper, "Analogue Sunset Demystified" here. Of course having HDCP compliance the MPS 409 will ensure the display of content protected media.
Chances are that if you have made it here to the last paragraph you are probably considering if the MPS 409 can provide the right balance between analogue and digital sources in your system. When you are standing on the crossroads of your next AV investment every element is worth careful scrutiny but in the end peace of mind is only a phone call way, we would be happy to help.