Matrix switches, sometimes called crosspoint switches or crossbar switches, are a special category of switches that allow many different inputs to be routed independently to any of a number of outputs. Each input can go to one output or be split to multiple outputs simultaneously.
Video matrix switches, as the name implies, switch video signals between several sources (such as cameras, computers, DVD players, and cable boxes) and displays (monitors, TVs, or projectors). This type of switch is used almost anywhere multiple video feeds are shown – auditoriums, trade shows, military command centers, airport terminals, sports bars, security surveillance control rooms, etc.
There are many different video signal formats – composite video, S-video, YPbPr component video, VGA, etc. – that are not directly compatible with each other. While there are some very expensive matrix switches on the market today that use proprietary modules to translate between these different formats, most customer applications use only a single format and do not require this added complexity and cost. A well-designed, inexpensive matrix switch that supports multiple video formats, but will not convert them is a cost-effective yet versatile solution for switching inputs and outputs with the same video format.
For more extensive installations requiring a large number of inputs and outputs, keeping all of the sources and displays in close proximity to the switch becomes less practical. The most common and cost-efficient method of long distance video transmission is over twisted pair cable, such as CAT5. In this configuration, a specialized video extender is connected to each video source, which transmits the video (and optionally audio and other signals) up to 1000’ away. Likewise, a mating receiver is connected at every display device to reconvert the signal back into a standard format. Using a compatible video matrix switch in between, the components of the system can be spread out and tailored to the installation site.
There are several advantages for using a switch with CAT5 cable over coaxial cable like RG-6: the cable itself is less expensive; it is thinner and more flexible, hence easier to install; and the jacks for the modular RJ45 connectors can be more tightly spaced, reducing the necessary enclosure height for a given size matrix switch.
NTI’s SM-nXm-C5AV-1000 VEEMUX® Audio/Video Matrix Switch via CAT5 is designed to route A/V signals distributed by our 600′ and 1000′ video extenders. The switch allows connections from VGA, S-Video or HDTV transmitters to any receiver of compatible type (e.g. VGA to VGA). The unit supports as many as 32 video sources and 64 video displays. Due to innovative design, each NTI switch uses the least amount of rack space for its matrix size compared to other switches in the industry, thus saving costs when rack space is at a premium. Multiple control methods such as the front panel keypad, optional infrared remote control, RS232, 10/100 Ethernet and USB provide much versatility. Cost-effective and space-saving, the VEEMUX SM-nXm-C5AV-1000 proves to be invaluable in most extensive installations.