Thursday, August 14, 2008

Aurora Multimedia: Is It True!?

Faithful readers who are in the CE and custom channels will know that switching between multiple HDMI sources to multiple displays is not easy. So much for the promise that the "digital age" would simplify our business. Ha!

For those of you not intimately involved in the business of trying to route HDMI sources , let's just say that it's complicated. Running an HDMI connection from Point A to Point B is simple enough. The challenges arise when you try to send the signal from Point A to Points B, C, D, and E.

When switching between multiple sources and displays the problem is the HDCP, or High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. In simple terms, the HDCP protocol gets flumoxed by multiple handshake requests from different displays, so it locks, giving you a black screen.

HDCP has been a major headache for vendors working on manufacturing a reliable HDMI matrix switcher capable of handling 6, 8 or more sources and outputs.

Which is why I was surprised to see a banner ad from an outfit called Aurora Multimedia who claim to have a 100% reliable, fully HDCP-compliant HDMI 8x8 matrix switcher. According to their website:

With the HS-88M HDMI Matrix Router, high definition audio and video signals from any of up to 8 sources can be sent to as many as 8 displays. While complying with HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection), a signal from a single source can be sent simultaneously to several displays. Its sources include HD-DVD players, TiVo systems, satellite set top boxes, and blue-rays. It can be controlled by RS-232C, LAN (TCP/IP), Infrared or front panel keys. The HS-88M compliant HDMI version 1.3 and supports resolutions up to 1080p@60Hz with 36-bit color depth, Dolby® True HD, DTS-HD.

From a custom installation perspective, this is, as they say, all that and a bag of chips. So, you'll have to pardon my ignorance when I ask "Who the hell are these guys?"

It's doubly ironic that they come to my attention now, as I just handed a feature-length magazine article about HD distribution for residential installations. I wish I had been aware of Aurora Multimedia's existence a week ago.

I can assure you, their promises pique my interest, and I will endeavor to do some more homework, and report back.

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