By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Denver – Four new HydraConnect HDMI matrix switchers include two models with proprietary DSP technology that enables different zones to simultaneously play stereo or multichannel Dolby Digital audio from the same source via the switchers’ HDMI and HDBaseT outputs.
HydraConnect said it is the only matrix-switcher brand that Dolby has licensed to offer this capability.
Previously, HDMI matrix switchers were able to carry only stereo or only surround from the same source through multiple HDMI and HDBaseT outputs at one time to multiple zones.
The switchers also send analog stereo signals to a distributed audio system, solving an issue created by many new source devices that have only an HDMI port and no analog-audio output, the company said.
"For the first time, you will be able to feed Dolby Digital 5.1 into a switch, and it will automatically send 5.1 or stereo output separately to each HDMI or HDBaseT output,” said David Schanin, president. “This means stereo in the kitchen from the TV via the HDMI/HDBaseT cable while simultaneously sending a surround feed to your theater from any other output port, and all with a single HDMI connection to the source."
The DSP technology provides an HDMI Dolby Digital-to-stereo downmixing capability that extracts audio from an HDMI signal and converts multichannel Dolby Digital audio to stereo.
The new matrixes consist of one 16 by 16, one 8 by 4, and two 8 by 8 models. They and a new third-generation HDMI extender use HDBaseT technology to extend HDMI audio and video 330 feet over category cable.
One of two switchers with the new DSP technology is the HMA-16x16BT with 16 HDMI inputs, 16 HDBaseT outputs, four HDMI outputs, 16 analog stereo outputs and 16 SPDIF outputs. The second switcher with DSP is the HMA-8x8BT, which offers eight HDMI inputs, six analog stereo inputs, and two S/PDIF inputs plus eight 8 HDBaseT outputs, two HDMI outputs, and 16 analog stereo outputs.
New matrix switchers lacking the DSP technology include the HS-8x4BT, which features eight HDMI inputs and four HDBaseT outputs, one of which can be configured as a single HDMI output. The other switcher without DSP is the HS-8x8HD, which offers straight 8x8 HDMI switching.
All of the products feature CEC control, automatic setup and dynamic EDID management.
The HMA-16x16BT ships in October. The HMA-8x8BT ships in December, and the HS-8x4BT was expected to ship in time for CEDIA Expo next week.
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