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Friday, September 28, 2012

image With the HDMI format maturing and both the residential and commercial markets now using the technology more than ever the matrix switcher category has grown exponentially over the past couple of years.

HydraConnect recently introduced a new matrix switcher called the HSS-3 and this 8x8 solution is capable of distributing eight sources to eight zones, and it incorporates HDBaseT to transmit HDMI signals as far as 330 feet. HydraConnect also incorporates its Dynamic 2D/3D technology that is engineered to resolve EDID issues between 2D/3D sources and displays. The company also includes its FlashConnect switching technology that ensures the HSS-3 switches between sources instantaneously without picture loss. Through its inclusion of the CEC protocol the HSS-3 also eliminates the need for IR blasters and other external hardware, and because of its built-in Control4 Composer support, the unit easily integrates into Control4 installations.

Other features offered by the HSS-3 include HDMI 1.4a pass-thru, 36-, 30- and 24-bit Deep Color compatibility, and the matrix switch also works with the lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio surround sound formats.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

image The HDMI format has been around for a number of years now and just about every cable and signal transmission product manufacturer in the consumer and commercial electronics market offers some type of HDMI cable. For the longest time the Holy Grail for these HDMI manufacturers has been the launch of an American-made HDMI product.

Nordost, a Mass.-based manufacturer of cables for the high-performance audio and video markets has just launched a new line of made in the U.S.A. HDMI cables that it says are the first U.S.-made cables to hit the market. Nordost says the cables incorporate its proprietary Micro Mono-Filmament, air-space, silver-plated oxygen free, solid-core conductor materials and engineering designs, as well as its twin-axial construction design to ensure consistent performance and reliability. To further ensure the cable's performance, Nordost has also submitted the line of products to DPL Labs and the HDMI cables has received DPL certification for its products up to five meters in length.

Nordost adds the Blue Heaven HDMI cables are compatible with 3D video and all of the products are terminated with gold-plated HDMI connectors to ensure longevity.

Monday, September 10, 2012

image Over the years HDMI cable manufacturers have developed many ways to maximize the HDMI format to allow electronics professionals to use cabling products that perform well beyond the digital format's stated specifications.

Atlona's latest HDMI cable products are a good example of how cable manufacturers are finding creative ways to develop products that exceed the limitations of the HDMI format. The company's new AT-PRO-LCS HDMI cables incorporate RedMere's active signal transmission technologies to eliminate the need for hybrid-based balun solutions to save time and money. Atlona says the line of cables feature integrated circuits that are designed to pass multimedia data at the same rate as the company's traditional flat, high-speed cable products.

The CL2-rated cables are engineered to reliably handle 1080p content, and Atlona says the cables are available in lengths ranging from 20 feet to 50 feet.

Friday, August 10, 2012

image Between the failings of the new housing market, the expense of long-distance HDMI cabling and other factors, the continued development of wireless HDMI systems couldn't have come at a better time for electronics professionals.

The latest wireless HD transmission solution to enter the market is the newly revamped Knoll Systems' WHD3. Building upon previous versions of its No-Wire HDMI transmission products, the company updated the product with new technologies such as 3D video support and an on-screen display that is said to enable installers to fine tune the performance of the system.

Knoll says the product also supports 1080p and IR control. The company adds the product can be used in retrofit environments and it can also be used in new construction housing.

Monday, August 06, 2012

image It doesn't matter whether it's a Cat-5 problem, HDMI or coax cabling problem; tracking down an issue with any cabling infrastructure system usually means a big headache for electronics professionals.

Platinum Tools' newly announced Coax Clarifier can alleviate the headache of troubling shooting a coax cable network by providing CE Pros with a simple-to-use device that is cost friendly. The Coax Clarifier is designed to qualify and quantify "dark" coax systems by determining the quality of individual coax cable runs by testing its ability to reliably handle high bandwidth A/V signals. Platinum says the testing tool measures cables up to 1,500 feet (457 meters) and it incorporates four unique tones that are designed to distinguish between respective outlets.

The Camarillo, Calif.-based company adds the unit maps out as many as 12 locations and its LCD screen displays quality level ratings and bar graphs that indicate the quality of the cable run.

Friday, July 06, 2012

image HDMI can be one of the trickiest technologies in all of consumer electronics and it can be difficult to deal with in simple installations, as well as complex installations.

HydraConnect says that its latest product, the newly announced HSS-2 HDMI Matrix Processor solves many of the issues installers encounter in the field through its ability to seamlessly integrate into a Control4-based system. HydraConnect says the HSS-2 enables electronics professionals to distribute as many as eight HD sources to as many as eight displays or it can be set up to distribute a total of 16 zones of audio. The 8x8 matrix switcher supports the HDMI 1.4a protocol to enable it to work with HD and 3D video, and the Deep Color specification.

Other features built into the HSS-2 include its A/V remix option that allows homeowners to watch a video source while listening to a separate audio source (a football game and music for example), and with its proprietary FlashConnect technology, the matrix switcher is able to switch from one video source to another at almost instantaneous speeds without experiencing dropouts or delays.

Friday, June 22, 2012

image For years people have either loved or hated the idea of using premium cable products. One company that's tried to take the mysticism out of the cable category to allow people to make educated product decisions is the Hollywood, Fla.-based manufacturer Straight Wire.

The latest speaker cable from the decades-old company is its new Expressivo product. The bi-wireable Expressivo speaker cable incorporates the company's Compressed Conductor Technology (CCT) that utilizes four positive air-suspended 15AWG OFHC copper conductors and multiple low-dielectric insulators that are said to optimize the cable's mechanical and electrical performance. Straight Wire explains the cable's low-resistance design also includes two opposing spiral shields for the negative conductor paths and the company's traditional anti-static micro-fiber braid. Building upon the company's existing Symmetrical Helix design, the Fla.-based manufacturer also points out the speaker cable also combines its CCT technology with the Helix design to give dealer a solution that combines the best attributes of its solid-core and stranded-core conductor products.

In addition, Straight Wire is stepping outside of the speaker cable category's aesthetic limitations and following the lead of the speaker market by offering the cables in a choice of colors to help custom installers meet the color demands of homeowners and interior designers.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

image The Lincolnshire, Ill.-based manufacturer Klein Tools has been producing tools and accessories for professionals since 1857 and the company has become a reliable supplier for many within the electronics market.

Recently the Midwestern company introduced its latest connectivity products, and Klein Tools says these new products are designed to provide electronics professionals with an easy to use choice of connectors that terminate coax and twisted pair cables. Klein's new coax and twisted pair connectors are the latest addition to the company's Voice/Data/Video (VDV) line of products and with the release of these accessories Klein says it can now provide dealers with a one-stop shopping experience that helps to simplify their inventory processes while saving them time.

The coax connectors utilize a universal sleeve design that fits onto a variety of coax cable sizes, including multi-shield and plenum cables. The fittings also include a viewing window to allow a technician to see if the cable is properly seated to ensure a reliable fit. The twisted pair connectors feature 50 micro-inch gold plating on the contact points to aid in durability and connectivity.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

image Dealing with the inconsistencies of the HDMI format can induce the biggest headaches a professional installer has to deal with on a job site. Ethereal's latest HDMI product solution can't solve all of the problems that dog the HDMI format, but it can provide a solution that eliminates the problems associated with the long-distance issues of transmitting HDMI signals.

The Holly Hill, Fla.-based company's latest HDMI product is the HDM-CAT6SC and the HDMI over Cat-6/7 transmission solution is designed to provide the bandwidth and support technologies to minimize the problems associated with the HDMI format. According to Ethereal, the product incorporates TMDS re-clockng correction on both the Tx and Rx to allow electronics professionals to monitor TMDS digital video at the receiver and transmitter ends of the product. Ethereal says this enables installers to easily trouble shoot any potential system problems, and with the product's DDC Diagnostics, the signal-transmission product also provides easy ways to trouble shoot HDCP and EDID issues.

In addition, the product also supports 340MHz/3.4Gbps HDMI 1.4 (without Ethernet) bandwidth and transmission speeds, and because of its HDMI 1.4 compatibility, the HDM-CAT6SC works with 3D and 4K video, Reverse Audio (AEC), Deep Color, and IR from the display to the source. Aside from its diagnostic and compatibility features, Ethereal also builds in as much as 39dB of total gain into the system with built-in control and intelligence to automatically correct signal loss over the entire length of Cat-6/7.

Friday, June 01, 2012

image There's no question that Apple has redefined how people listen to music and now with iTunes as the preeminent music management software and Apple's iTunes Music Store the top music retailer, many consumers are looking for simple ways to improve the way their Apple products playback music.

AudioQuest, a California-based manufacturer of cabling products and accessories is now offering Apple iOS product users five new USB cables that are engineered to improve the audio performance of their iOS devices. According to AudioQuest, the cables are designed to minimize distortion by using specific cable construction techniques, as well as higher grade materials and attention to construction quality. AudioQuest explains that its use of solid conductors eliminates strand interaction distortion, and like other types of audio cables, digital USB cables are sensitive to metal's drawing direction and because of this its iOS USB cables feature directionality control designs for improved sound quality.

The company offers a choice of five product levels: Forest, Cinnamon, Carbon, Coffee and Diamond, and the company says the Coffee and Diamond products also employs AudioQuest's proprietary Dielectric -Bias System (DBS) which it says eliminates insulation-induced timing errors. AudioQuest also offers the cabling products in a choice of sizes ranging from just under a meter (0.7) to five meters to allow for a variety of application scenarios.

Monday, May 21, 2012

image The Meadville, Pa.-based manufacturer Channel Lock is one of the most famous brands in the entire world of tools.

In fact the company is so well known that its name like that of Coca Cola, Kleenex and TiVo is synonymous with the respective category it offers products in, and products like its newly introduced 7.5-inch 758 Flush Cutter are designed to reenforce its reputation as a premiere tool manufacturer. The new 7.5-inch 758 Flush Cutter is specifically designed to cut everything from plastic tie wraps and copper wire ranging in size from 10AWG to 20AWG.

Channel Lock adds the 7.5-inch 758 Flush Cutter is designed to complement its 728 long-reach pliers, and it points out the tool is made in its Meadville, Pa. factory with drop-forged, high-carbon C1080 North American steel and its signature blue comfort grips.

Monday, May 14, 2012

image Throughout the commercial and residential A/V industries, if there's one common thread that electronics professionals share, it is a disdain for the HDMI format.

The Bromfield, Colo.-based manufacturer AVocation Systems can't do anything about the market perception of HDMI, but it can provide its authorized dealer base with a new range of solutions that can ease the pain of working with the HDMI protocol. AVocation Systems' new Mountain Series 8x8 HDMI Matrix Switch (HX-0808H) is the first of several new products the company plans on releasing on in 2012.

AVocation Systems says the 8x8 Matrix Switch distributes as many as eight sources to eight displays and its built-in EDID/Key managment features are designed to eliminate latency between inputs and its switching functions. The company adds the unit is HDMI 1.4 compatible so it supports advanced technologies like 4K video and 3D, and it also provides 12-bit Deep Color with resolutions up to 1080p at 60Hz (225MHz). In addition, it includes control options for IP, RS-232, USB and IR, as well as provisions for rack mounting to allow installers to utilize the product in a number of varying A/V environments.

Friday, May 11, 2012

image With the economy picking up and forecasts that homeowners and commercial property owners are going to spend more money on remodeling jobs there are more opportunities for electronics professionals to work within the walls of today's homes and commercial properties.

Vanco's latest product announcement should add the finishing touch to many of these residential and commercial electronic installation jobs. The newly announced Vanco Stainless Steel Wall Plates are engineered to provide electronics professionals in the residential and commercial markets a choice of six products that offer an easy way to finish off long cabling runs with a safe and secure termination solution. The line includes the HDMI Wall Plate, the HDMI + S-VGA Wall Plate, the HDMI+ 3.5mm Wall Plate, the HDMI, S-VGA, 3.5mm Wall Plate, the S-VGA Wall Plate and the S-VGA + 3.5mm Wall Plate, and Vanco says the products ship with matching hardware screws to maintain a consistent aesthetic.

Vanco adds the wall plates are also designed to install quickly and easily, and with their stainless steel finishes, the products will blend into a variety of interior environments.

Monday, April 16, 2012

image When the HDMI format was first introduced into the consumer electronics market several years ago it was a solution designed to transmit digital data over short lengths.

Collectively since the format's introduction however, manufacturers have worked diligently to improve the capabilities of the technology, including its ability to transmit high resolution, data intensive signals over long distances. Validating the work the cabling industry has put into the development of the HDMI format Metra Home Theater has recently rolled out its new 8-meter HDMI cable that carries DPL certification.

To achieve DPL Labs certification the cable must pass tests such as the eye pattern mask margin and inter-pair skew test, as well as tests for jitter, bandwidth, impedance, noise, five-volt reliability and current. Metra says the cable is able to pass a 1080p signal and 24-bit color depths to provide electronics professionals with a cabling product that can be used for installations that involved rack-mounted electronics and projectors.

Monday, April 02, 2012

image Typically when the word retrofit is used to describe an electronics installation property owners cringe. The word suggests a lot of hidden installation costs that sometimes can make an upgrade in technology cost prohibitive.

Channel Vision's new B-204 IP Camera Balun Over Coax Cable Converter Kit however helps to redefine this stereotypical sales presentation scenario. According to the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based company, the converter kit can actually save up to 40 percent of the costs of a typical retrofit surveillance system upgrade. The kit is designed to allow electronics professionals to utilize a building's existing coax cabling infrastructure to help save labor expenses and additional materials, and once installed it facilitates the use of state-of-the-art IP surveillance cameras such as Channel Vision's HD Dome (6521), Bullet (6522), and flush-mount (6524) IP cameras.

The kit enables video from IP surveillance cameras to transmit as far as 300 feet over standard RG-59/6 cable and it supports up to 10Mbps of bandwidth.

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