The Extron booth #IC1301 this year had a distinctly science fair feel as the company presented some of their most important underlying technologies such as SpeedSwitch, EDID Minder, Key Minder, and some key scaling technology. They were handing out stopwatches on the booth to demonstrate the effective zero delay in their HDCP key exchange that allows them to claim the fastest HDMI switching on the market. It is an impressive display, and just one of several feature and technology displays designed to remind us of Extron’s digital experience with market-proven technologies.
There’s good reason for Extron to be showing off their technical chops: The debut of XTP CrossPoint, Extron’s answer to the question of how to best send everything over Cat5. This new signal switching and distribution system is a crucial play for Extron in the digital world. It brings together Extron’s existing work in digital with new development and engineering done to take advantage of newly available chip technology, no doubt the Valens chip, though that is not explicitly said.
Extron is emphasizing reliability, ease of installation, accommodation to legacy analog devices–all the reassuring things people need to hear–though I can’t in good conscience make digital sound as easy as all that. In fact, digital is not always easy, but it is going to be necessary so we need to get on with it and put all our best minds to work on mastering it.
Extron’s Joe da Silva picks an example to make his point about Extron’s approach to digital: “We’re finding people aren’t building enough EQ and gain structure in the inupts and outputs to accommodate longer distances.” Extron has designed for inputs and outputs as far as 100 feet away, something that has been the SMX line and is now incorporated in the XTP platform. This type of pullthrough is just one part of da Silva’s overall emphasis that Extron has implemented digital AV over Cat5 in unique ways.
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