John Luff /
07.01.2008
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Technology Seminar - Routing systems
No matter the size, NAB showcased new options.

Notable advances shown at NAB were plentiful. Utah Scientific introduced the UTAH-400/XL series, which includes a massive 1056 × 1056 matrix in a single equipment rack (40RU). The frame will also spawn smaller versions using the same cards, including a 528 × 528 system in 20RU. The new system is fully 3GHz 1080p60 capable (SMPTE 424). The frame is 48V powered and uses multiple power input pins to reduce the risk of high current through a small number of connections to the external 48V power supplies. Its architecture offers crosspoint cards with 576 inputs and 288 outputs.

Sierra Video showed an expanded line of routing switchers based on the Ponderosa series of multiformat routing switchers introduced last year. New at NAB were I/O sizes up to 128 × 128, D-to-A conversion boards, and analog and digital audio options. Ponderosa offers a fully modular design and line of HD-SDI/SDI routing switchers that can be built up to 128 × 128 in 8RU. The frame can be equipped with D-to-A conversion boards on the frames' outputs. The company also introduced TyLinx router control software with RS-232 and RS-422 serial interfaces, and standard TCP/IP control via Mac or PC.

Gefen brought DVI multimedia interface routing to NAB. The 4×4 DVI DL Matrix and 8×8 DVI Matrix connect up to eight computers or video sources to four or eight DVI displays with complete KVM access and control. The units support dual-link DVI resolutions up to 3840 × 2400.

QuStream showcased the 3Gig enhancement to its Cheetah series of routers. The unit ships with 3Gb/s in single-frame sizes from 64 × 64 to 864 × 864 and multiframe configurations such as the two-frame 1024 × 1024.

The company also introduced input A-to-D converters and output downconverters for routing, allowing analog signals to be used in the digital routers. The A/D input card uses 12-bit processing and the company's QuadraComb filter.

QuStream is also shipping MADI and time code interfaces for its distributed audio routing switcher — the Cheetah DRS. MADI allows up to 64 audio channels on a single cable, providing for up to 1024 × 1024 AES pairs in only 6RU.

Thomson showed 10 new panels for Jupiter control systems, with the promise that they will be compatible with Encore in the future. The LD16 panel has eight color displays, and a new XY panel was shown. Apex offers new fiber outputs capable of 5km. Trinix with 3Gig capability is now shipping. A new release of the Encore control system was announced with 50 enhancements. Other Encore support included a new UCP-XY panel. A fully photonic router in the Acapella line was on display. It offers 32 × 32 photonic switching.

Evertz's new panel interfaces with its EQX system, offering more than just routing control. The CP-2200E features two 480 × 272 LCD displays, allowing many features to be displayed on the fully programmable panel. New in the EQX line is a 32 × 32 matrix with hot swappable backup source by source.

Harris delivered SMPTE 424 support on all of its routing products without a change in pricing for the extra bandwidth. The company now delivers a 16 × 4 version in its Panacea line for the price of a 16 × 1. New in the Platinum line is the MX series with a 72 × 64 system in 5RU and up to 288 × 256 AES in a flat matrix TDM capability. TDM cards can fit in more than one of its frames, including a 512 × 512 video plus 288 × 256 audio in 28RU. The unit offers significant control over audio, including swap and combine. In addition to copper interfaces, Harris provides fiber for long- distance 3Gig signal paths.

Considerable attention was paid to the tight integration of the Miranda Kaleido-X multi-image display system and NVISION's line of routing switchers. They showed integration of signal and control interconnection, passing video direct from NVISION crosspoints over a high-speed interconnect to Kaleido-X, along with tally and crosspoint naming information. The control system can make crosspoint selections in the router, effectively expanding the Kaleido-X to 1152 inputs and 128 multi-image outputs.

NVISION also showed tallies and naming displayed on Marshall LCDs without external tally control systems. In addition, NVISION introduced a new large router, the NV8576 with up to 576 × 1152. The system uses high-density connectors on the rear plane, and features 3Gig capability and comprehensive hot backup crosspoints.

Pro-Bel introduced the Pyxis family of routers this year. Available in a choice of 1RU or 3RU frames, Pyxis can be configured in sizes from 72 × 72 down to 17 × 17. Frames can be configured with dual redundant power supplies, and signal cards for all common broadcast formats. The SDI and analog video cards are also suitable for routing a wide range of telco signals as well as XVGA signals. The audio router cards offer mix and match between analog, AES and MADI I/O.


John Luff is a broadcast technology consultant.



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