Routers get larger at NAB 2008

Thanks to new advanced chip designs and increased processing speeds, digital video routing switchers are being configured in larger matrix sizes — ones that in the recent past necessitated several frames put together — in a single or field-expandable dual frame installation. These new designs maximize the use of available rack space, greatly simplify installation and allow systems to be expanded in the field.

All of the major routing vendors showed increased size I/O frames, but NVISION, with its NV8576 large-matrix digital multiformat router, and Utah-Scientific, with its UTAH-400/XL, were two of the largest at the show. The NV8576 router supports a 576 x 1152 matrix in a single 32RU frame (two frames gets it to 1152x1152), while Utah’s router offers a 1056 x 1056 matrix in a single equipment rack.

Pro-Bel showed its Cygnus router, Harris its Platinum router, QuStream, its Cheetah XR router and Thomson Grass Valley its Trinix router, which are all field-expandable systems that can scale from 128 x 128 to 1024 x 1024 I/O (including a mix of SD and HD video signals and stereo audio). QuStream (formerly the PESA brand), in particular, was one of the first to offer large-scale routing, and at the show, the company displayed its Cheetah XR router (actually two of them), capable of being configured (from 64 x) as a 1024 x 1024, in two racks, or 1024 x 512 I/O in one 41RU frame.

All of these large routers use industry-standard 75-ohm BNC connectors for I/O, high connector density, redundant power supplies, low power consumption for cooler and more reliable operation, and signal format flexibility — including the ability to handle the new 3Gb/s progressive-scan HD signal formats.

Another emerging trend at this year’s NAB show was the new ability to tightly control multi-image display systems, like Miranda’s Kaleido-X and Evertz’s MVP for accurate input monitoring via a single multicore cable. This has become critical in today’s file-based, multichannel world and enables stations to use less people.

Evertz also showed an integrated system, called VIP, which combines multiview monitoring and routing in a single system. The VIP series of multi-input display and signal monitoring products is based on MVP technology and accepts up to 12 inputs. It fits into the Evertz 7700FR-C 3RU frame (or a 1RU option).

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