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Just Add Power 2G devices are shipping with 2-way RS232 ports


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http://www.cepro.com/article/just_add_power_adds_rs-232_pass-through_for_hdmi_over_ip/

In a nutshell, a single C4 controller like an HC300 can use one serial port to send commands to every zone in the house and control the attached displays and/or devices. The RS232 automation layer is a secondary independent control matrix on top of the HDMI over IP matrix. This function will be on display with a live Control4 system in the Blackwire Designs booth # 5337 at CEDIA next month.

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We are going to be publishing some detailed manuals and a Software Developers Kit to fully support the double matrix. Essentially the control of the HDMI Matrix is independent of the Automation Matrix.

The HDMI Matrix can be controlled via RS232 connection to the master switch OR via IP connection to the master switch. Most C4 drivers are RS232 based, but an IP driver is certainly possible.

The Automation Matrix is controlled through the switch the same way (RS232 or IP connection to the mater switch) but can be configured independently of the HDMI Matrix.

For example, you could have Zones 1,2, and 3 wanting to watch a Blu-Ray player hosted in the main theater room. At the same time zones 4 and 5 are wanting to watch a DirecTV DVR installed in the rackroom. Now we decide that we want to use the Automation Matrix with one HC300 (has 2 serial ports) to first turn on all of the TV's in the five zones, then the HDMI Matrix directs the 2 sources to the correct zones, then the Automation Matrix is called upon to adjust the volume level in selected zones or perhaps all 5 zones need to be muted when the doorbell rings or the intercom is activated. The single point of control can be directed to every Receiver zone as desired. Practically anything with an RS232 (or IR) control option can now be accessed from a single point of control. However, it doesn't have to be a single point of control. Multiple controllers can be attached to the Automation simultaneously and operate independently or collaboratively.

Yeah, this is gonna needs some nice pictures to fully explain the depth of functionality possible. It's practically unlimited.

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The 2G will initally be available next month in the same 4 form factors as the 1G, which includes the 3X Convertible Rackmount Transmitter (Standard Transmitter, Standard Receiver, and PoE Receiver are the other 3 versions). There are plans for a more robust Rackmount Transmitter and a variety of additional Receiver styles in the works.

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Ed,

My regional JAP distributors keep telling me about the video improvements on your 2G platform (they are great salesmen and distributors by the way, the RS Pro Sales/Davis Dist. guys). Anyway, I can't find anything about audio improvements. What is the ceiling on sending audio over the lines?

The RS232 addition is brilliant.

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Both the 1G and 2G devices distribute 2.0 audio natively over the IP network.

Can you keep a secret? What's coming next from Just Add Power Labs is our surround sound module, which will be compatible with both 1G and 2G installations. The surround sound module will be rack mounted, and allow you to send an uncompressed multi-channel digital audio signal to the AVR for selected zones. This will let the owner use surround sound in some zones while the bathroom and kitchen TV keep pumping out 2.0. We expect to be shipping the surround sound module before Christmas, and plan to be exhibiting the surround sound module at CES in January.

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Both the 1G and 2G devices distribute 2.0 audio natively over the IP network.

Can you keep a secret? What's coming next from Just Add Power Labs is our surround sound module, which will be compatible with both 1G and 2G installations. The surround sound module will be rack mounted, and allow you to send an uncompressed multi-channel digital audio signal to the AVR for selected zones. This will let the owner use surround sound in some zones while the bathroom and kitchen TV keep pumping out 2.0. We expect to be shipping the surround sound module before Christmas, and plan to be exhibiting the surround sound module at CES in January.

Ed-

What cabling will be required for the 'new' (shhhhh...its a secret I know!) box? Another cat-6 or will it utilize the matrix?

Thanks!

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A seperate cable directly to the audio amplifier for that zone. CATx cable among other options will be supported. You'll just have to wait until Christmas to find out all the details....

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Here is just a random suggestion Ed: Why not make the rackmountable transmitter have a local HDMI output as well as a cat5/6 output to the switch? Other manufacturers have made HDMI matrix switches with this local HDMI output option. It makes sense because the main rack is usually where the dedicated theater components are stored (where you would really want 7.1 audio and uncompressed video). This revised rack mounted transmitter would just pass through the local HDMI output in a native, unaltered state, allowing the main theater to have 100% unaltered video/audio. But it could also send the source over IP through the switch to any other zone where only 2.0 audio is likely needed. It would also clean up the install significantly. This would kill three birds (audio, video, and clean up) with one fix.

Just a thought.

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Here is just a random suggestion Ed: Why not make the rackmountable transmitter have a local HDMI output as well as a cat5/6 output to the switch? Other manufacturers have made HDMI matrix switches with this local HDMI output option. It makes sense because the main rack is usually where the dedicated theater components are stored (where you would really want 7.1 audio and uncompressed video). This revised rack mounted transmitter would just pass through the local HDMI output in a native, unaltered state, allowing the main theater to have 100% unaltered video/audio. But it could also send the source over IP through the switch to any other zone where only 2.0 audio is likely needed. It would also clean up the install significantly. This would kill three birds (audio, video, and clean up) with one fix.

Just a thought.

That might happen some day with the 2G series, but it's not likely to happen this year.

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We will be offering a training class at CEDIA on Saturday, September 25 at 4:00. At this class we will go into detailed examples of how to use the RS232 matrix to support popular requests like turning on/off TV's and controlling the volume on the AVR in a zone. This will include direct RS232 control examples, and RS232>IR examples. We also plan to make the RS232 over IP Software Developers Kit available to interested programmers at that time. In a nutshell, you can have as many RS232 controllers as you want simutaneously talking to any port on the Automation Matrix, independent of the HDMI over IP A/V Matrix.

Please send me a PM or an email if you want to guarantee a reserved spot in the class.

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Ed,

Can the HDMI be distributed with different resolutions and audio? That is one thing I dont like about HDMI matrix switches. For instance if there are 8 displays with 6 at 1080p and 2 at 720p, can JAP send 1080 to the 6 and 720 to the 2?

That is a feature of our 1G devices. You can set all your sources to 1080p and the integrated scaler in the 1G Receiver scales the output down to 720p for the lower resolution displays (or "up" when sending a lower resolution source to a higher resolution screen). If you are working with a customer with mixed resolution screens the 1G is probably your best choice.

The 2G solution does not include a scaler in the first Receiver models being shipped. We do want to revisit the integrated scaler as an option for 2G in the future. The feedback we received from the custom installers was that they were installing TV's with better scalers than the chip in the JAP Receiver. For new installations it should not be an issue requiring 1080p screens be installed at all points.

If you can make it to the class at CEDIA next month we will go into more details about the differences between 1G and 2G. If you can't make it, we will make the training material available for download after the show.

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Just to clarify the "mixed resolution" topic I'd like to offer a little more detail on the 2G performance characteristics. The 2G system lets you set the resolution of the source, regardless of the attached displays. In my lab we have a dirt cheap 19" Memorex HDTV from Target that is rated for 720p. However, it has an internal scaler that will accept a 1080p signal, and down convert it to 720p. Therefore, I can have my Blu-Ray running at 1080p for my big screen theater, while still being able to watch it on a tiny 720p TV. With the 2G solution it's up to the installer to make sure that the attached displays are able to process the source signal.

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When you say "uncompressed multi-channel digital audio", your not speaking speaking about Dolby TrueHD, etc. are you?

You are just going to have to wait until Christmas to find out .... (my kids always loved that line). :)

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One of our favorite parenting memories is the time our 4 year daughter stood up in the shopping cart at Target and declared "I am sick and tired of 'wait till Christmas'!". Moms and dads 3 aisles over were falling down laughing...

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