Technically recognized as an HDMI multi-input / multi-output switch or a Video / Audio Router. An HDMI matrix switch makes it possible to connect our Sources (AKA – Cable BOX/DVD Players) for Video/Audio Distribution to Displays. HDMI matrix switchers are ideal for sports bars, home theaters, retail spaces, restaurants, commercial applications like stadiums, and much more. How does it all work?
The video below is a quick explainer on what an HDMI matrix switcher and how it works. You can keep reading for the extended version.
An HDMI matrix switcher allows you to watch HDMI Source devices, for example, Blu ray players on any one or all Display’s connected to the Matrix Switch. Most Common Matrix Switch options are 4×4, 8×8, 16×16 and 32×32. This numeric combination represents Sources X Displays. Example (4×4, 8×8, 16×16 Diagram)
So what are some of the different features when it comes to Matrix Switchers?
There is a vast selection of Configurations available. There is 1080P, 4K and 4K/HDR10 options. Some other Performance Specs to consider are Audio Formats supported, HDMI Bandwidth Speeds, 10.2 Gbps, 18 Gbps, and Chroma Sampling, 4:0:0, 4:2:0 or 4:4:4 for example.
Three Levels of Matrix Switches
Basic HDMI Matrix Switch – The basic Matrix Switch that has HDMI inputs and outputs, plus, some type of connection for control such as Infra-Red (IR), typically a LAN port and many will offer RS232 control.
Next Level HDMI Matrix Switch – This HDMI Matrix Switch will offer the same Control features as the Basic Switch, but also, it provides Audio functionality such as; Audio De-Embedding either SPDIF and or Analog connections. These connections are useful for House Music Amplifiers and Surround Sound Receivers.
HDBaseT Matrix Switch – This version will offer HDBaseT Outputs, and some units will even provide HDBaseT Inputs for remote devices like a computer or media player. You will have the same options available for I/O’s as the previous switches we discussed. But some Switchers provide HDMI mirroring for additional Display’s. This means, one source plays to 2-Displays simultaneously.
What is HDBaseT?
HDBaseT delivers uncompressed ultra-HD video (up to 4K) to a network of devices or can be connected as a point-to-point Audio/Video Extender by using a Category cable to transmit Video, Audio and Control Signals over long distances typically up to 328ft. Note – Some specialty switchers will transmit over 328ft.
So why would you use this technology instead of HDMI Extenders? Check out our video for a detailed explanation regarding HDMI Extenders.
HdBaseT Matrix Switchers eliminate the need for individual HDMI HDBaseT external Transmitters since these Matrix switchers have built-in Transmitters. You will still be required to purchase the HDBaseT Receivers for displays connected to the Switcher. This helps consolidate costs as well as the clutter in the rack.
The Two Primary Types of HDBaseT Matrix Switchers
You can buy a Pre-built or a Modular Matrix Switcher Chassis which is customizable. This means you decide what types of I/O’s you require, Choose the style of I/O Cards for your application and the manufacturer will assemble it for you, ready to go! Kind of like building a computer. Optionally, you can just order the parts and build it on site.
It is also essential to know you will need to select the proper HDBaseT receiver to match. There are usually 2-4 different types of HDBaseT Receivers to choose from depending on Brand. Each model will have, as well as a variety of I/O’s for Video/Audio/Control as well as limitations in Distances they will transmit. One other important note is that some Receivers Models can be Cascaded or Daisy chained.
Final Note, Most Matrix Switchers do not include any type of Control Program. They usually have controls on the front panel, maybe a remote. There are many Control System Program options to choose from between the manufacturer’s options and 3rd party systems like Control 4, Elan, Total Control by URC, Crestron, Etc. I recommend contacting your local AV Dealer for a recommendation based on your requirements.
We hope this video gives you a better understanding about what an HDMI Matrix Switch actually does and the different type of HDMI Matrix Switchers available.
If you have any questions or are interested in a particular Matrix Switch, please give our Sales Team a call or browse through our wide selection of HDMI matrix switchers on our site, bzbexpress.com.