The big news from HDanywhere at ISE 2017 is its integration of IP2IR within an HDMI/HDBT matrix. This technology means the third-party controller in whole-home AV projects can be eliminated from the equation, and instead users will be able to use devices such as the Amazon Echo or the company’s own uControl app to control any matrix-connected AV device via infrared.
IP2IR isn’t exactly a completely new technology, although most manufacturers have shied away from it. HDA’s adoption gives users the option to connect the HDMI matrix to the network and then utilise it’s IP2IR function to control AV devices from any control solution that suits them – without any additional hardware. That includes the Amazon Alexa AI, meaning this is just the latest example of the growing emergence of voice control in the custom installation sector.
While Amazon’s Alexa AI will be the big trend at ISE 2017, HDA will also be showcasing its own uControl app. Unlike Alexa, the uControl app promises enhanced control functionality and a programming-free, simple set-up. Once downloaded, users can choose which source they want to watch and where, with all the various functions of each device shown on screen, with familiar button layouts and gesture control. It can be personalised with user-settable zone background images, plus the option for light or dark themes.
In addition to its IP2IR offering, HDA will also launch its MAX series of Ultra HD Premium compatible products. This line-up includes support for 4K footage at 60fps, both 8-bit 4:4:4 or 10-bit 4:2:0, over a single Cat6 cable.
The first HDA MAX items are an 18G HDMI 2.0 spec matrix switcher and a 18G-over-HDBaseT long-range HDMI extender with ‘Tipping Point Compression’ (TPC). TPC makes it possible to transmit 600MHz/18G content down HDBaseT’s constricted 10.2G pipe using very light compression. Uniquely, the compression only becomes active when the input data rate tips over the 10.2G threshold.
The last ISE announcement is HDA first-ever audio product, the MHub Audio matrix amplifier. This is being described as a ‘fusion of the best of analogue and digital audio technology in a hybrid device’. Amongst its features are audio routing, lip-sync delay, two-band HF and LP EQ, as well as 50W sound amplification. It also integrates immediately with uControl.