The Multi-Room Company simplifies HD distribution and control with neo from Pulse-Eight
The Multi-Room Company, as exclusive UK distributor for the custom installation channel, introduces the state-of-the-art Pulse-Eight neo range of HD matrix switchers, to bring robust, seamless and simple routing and control of multiple HD and Ultra HD video sources.
Pulse-Eight has invested its considerable expertise in developing a "just works" solution to make the installer’s and end-user’s interaction with the products painless. With dynamically generated EDIDs (to ensure the best video quality for every TV), CEC based control, right through to handling software updates for the HDBaseT link, the goal was simple: to provide the best possible video distribution system available.
Simplicity of operation was at the core of the designers’ thinking as they felt existing matrix switchers were far too complicated for end-users and installers to operate. Historically switchers have required either a programmed control system, which is inflexible if equipment changes are made, or a remote control with up to 16 buttons for a 4x4 matrix to cover the 16 combinations of source and room. The end-user focused approach from Pulse-Eight reduces the number of buttons to four, one for each input, as the matrix features Contextual IR to identify from which room the remote is being used.
The ease of operation has been taken a stage further by enabling source selection and control to be managed using a standard TV remote control, a device all consumers are thoroughly familiar with. Through intelligent use of the CEC (Consumer Electronics Control), inherent within modern HDMI equipped products, the neo range of matrix switchers provides source selection at the push of the ‘source’ button and control of its functions using the TV remote. If the source itself does not support CEC, the matrix will still route the video as required and pass back IR signals to the source. The intelligent use of CEC also enables the TV remote to control the volume on the AV amplifier, with a graphical representation on the TV screen.
For Sky users “Instant On” is another simplicity feature, pressing the Sky button in any room will turn the TV on and switch the video path to the Sky+ HD box. If there is more than one Sky box connected to the neo it will intelligently detect which Sky+ HD box is not in use and route this to the TV in the room. Instant On and the routing feature can also be configured to work with other media receivers.
Again in keeping with the mission to make things simple, the neo web interface provides very simple drag and drop selection of sources to TVs. This responsive web app automatically resizes and configures itself whether used on a phone, tablet or laptop. Of course it is also possible to control the neo matrix switchers via many of the popular third party control systems, such as Control 4, Elan g!, Crestron or RTI.
For the installer, one of the most costly and frustrating occurrences is being called back to site to problem solve. All neo Professional matrix switchers automatically stay in contact with a cloud based system management service. A LED on the front of the matrix shows that the monitoring process is functioning and, if necessary, the installer can login to the device and see helpful diagnosis information and fix many problems remotely. This service is provided free of charge and if the system senses the neo has a problem, The Multi-Room Company and/or Pulse-Eight is alerted so a fix or hardware replacement can be arranged.
All neo matrix switchers are compatible with Ultra HD 4K, 1080p and 3D content.The fixed format neo:4 Professional 4x4 matrix features four HDMI inputs and four HDBaseT Class B outputs with two mirrored HDMI outputs. Four power over Ethernet HDBaseT receivers are included, as is bi-directional IR and bi-directional CEC control. The neo:6 Modular and neo:8 Modular are solutions which enable up to 8 input and 8 output modules to be used in a variety of configurations such as HDMI 2.0a and both HDBaseT Lite (Class B) and full HDBaseT (Class A) capability for 70m and 100m cable runs respectively. The larger products also feature the latest HDCP 2.2 specification, support bi-directional RS232/serial for routing/sending control signals to displays or AV Receivers (via the Pro Rx receivers) and, being full HDBaseT, natively support Ethernet connectivity (10/100 Ethernet pass through).
Mike Bonnette, product director for The Multi-Room Company, comments, “Pulse-Eight has worked hard to overcome many of the issues that make HD matrix switchers overly complicated and difficult to use. The company’s very clever harnessing of the powerful control features of CEC and the fact that end-users don’t need to use anything other than their TV remote control, is a beautifully simple solution.” He continues, “For installers, the web based management for off-site monitoring and troubleshooting makes perfect sense, reducing the need for call outs and therefore loss of profit on installs.”