|Teaser post showing new devices,|
not yet tested or even wired neatly.
|My test rig. HDCP protected content from the tablet,|
non-HDCP from a laptop. And I'd not be the pixel-and-ink
stained wretch without an actual bottle of ink!
I was able to get started and have a functional matrix within probably less than a half hour, using SVSI's Conductor Netlite software. It auto-dected all four units (plus a controller - more on that later) without a hitch, and easily populated them into a 2x2 matrix with reasonably intuitive mouseclicks to select crosspoints and then "take" to transfer. Separate matrices are created for N2000 and the forthcoming N3000 series devices. Sadly, I didn't have any of those to evaluate as of yet, although I'm working at acquiring an N2000 kit.
|Front and rear views of encoder with network switch|
|Decoder and control processor|
Concerns? There are a few. While the devices switch very quickly, they boot up very slowly. From a cold reboot of one of the encoders or decoders, it took a solid two minutes between plugging in the cable and having the unit recognized on the network. What's worse, it didn't always get the video stream back or sync with the display without re-sending the control command. There's also an odd delay and, on some displays a loss of sync, when switching from "live play" to "local play". Sync was re-established, but it took several seconds and some odd color-artifacts and vertical roll. This was odd.
Secondly, and not unexpectedly, is the issue of bandwidth. Each stream is 880Mbps. I have no idea how this would be able to scale up to 4K; it doesn't seem that there's be enough bandwidth available. Will we need to start deploying 10 Gigabit switches? Will this spell the end of uncompressed video over the network? Will we need to send multiple streams and stitch them together? The drawbacks to all of these solutions is obvious.
All told, it's an intriguing set of options. Pricing - especially for a large-scale system - would be far less than a similar HDBaseT solution with fewer proprietary parts, less rack space, less power draw.