Key Digital enables third-party network control of external hardware

Digital control, processing and signal distribution networks have revolutionised the AV systems industry for the better. Yet, many AV networking systems do not have the ability to control disparate external hardware components that lack network interface capabilities.

“There is a simple, affordable solution to extending the control capabilities of such systems,” says Jonathon Ferry, VP of Product Education and Experience at Key Digital.

“Key Digital offers a standalone controller, and video encoders and decoders with built-in controller functionality,” Jonathon continues. “By means of our KeyCode Open API architecture, our hardware can control any device that accepts RS-232 or IR commands, such as video displays, projectors, motorised screens, cameras, cable/satellite TV boxes, lighting controllers, music players and thermostats, as well as our own hardware. The proprietary networked system simply sends a device command to a flexibly designated port as an ASCII text string via TCP/IP.”

Key Digital hardware sharing the TCP/IP network can be configured to monitor a defined port, intercept and translate the text stream and deliver it to the target device via IR or RS-232. The bi-directional ports can also receive data, such as a command acknowledgement or status report, and return it to the source network.

This control capability is native to Key Digital’s KD-CX800 Controller and 4K AV over IP system encoders and decoders, all PoE-ready for ease of installation. The KD-CX800 Controller is a dedicated control-over-TCP/IP device with dual TCP/IP ports and three bi-directional control ports – one supporting IR out (emitter) and IR in (sensor or hardwire) and two multi-function ports supporting IR, RS-232, voltage trigger or voltage sensor operation. The flexible KD-CX800 can serve as a control gateway for Key Digital 4K AV Over IP systems, “enabling more third-party control options than other HD over IP systems,” says Johnathon. What’s more, he adds, “Through support of generic RS-232 and IR command strings delivered via TCP/IP, “the KeyCode Open API brings cost-effective bi-directional control expansion to advanced third-party control systems and adds a reliable hardware interface to network-based control apps.” As a CAT-connected network device, the KD-CX800 by default can extend control signals up to 400ft / 121m.

Further, the robust API allows for bi-directional communication with third-party networked hardware implementing the Compass Control Pro fully integrated iOS-based control system (developed by Key Digital and supported in hardware from more than 60 Compass Alliance partner brands) and also allows direct TCP/IP device control from iOS controllers with no ports used.

The CX800 Controller functionality is also available in Key Digital’s family of 4K UHD AV over IP HDMI-to-IP encoders and decoders. The KD-822ENC/DEC is equipped with a single TCP/IP port and one bi-directional IR port and one multi-function port. The KD-922ENC/DEC devices have the full CX800 feature set while adding audio de-embedding with Lip Sync control, audio pre-amp and video wall processing. The advanced-featured KD-1022ENC/DEC devices add independent video, audio and USB switching, audio control, video mosaic wall processing and KVM/USB extension and routing to the feature set. “These devices let users create matrixed 4K AV over AV systems of any size and level of sophistication with the benefit of third-party control of the system and external devices via the KeyCode Open API,” says Jonathon.

“Audio-only networks can expand into video with Key Digital 4K AV over IP hardware and retain centralised control,” he elaborates. “Or, where a networked system simply needs to add control of a few external devices, one of our control-capable devices employing the KeyCode Open API provides an elegant solution that’s very simply implemented.”

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