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Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now. To all but the installer and the AV tech who get the trouble calls, the control system consists of nothing more than a few panel buttons or maybe a handheld remote, and […]. As in all good stories, there is in every AV room control system a beginning, middle, and end.

As is usually the case with such gear, the central and most essential component is hidden away in a locked rack, and once installed and programmed, it just anonymously does its thing.

One of the primary comparative assets in such a system is in its beginning — the user interface customization. At the other end of the chain, the range of AV device control protocols — and how well they are suited to the devices at hand — will also determine the degree of success. In between these processes, the quality of the hardware installation and the environment in which it lives will also figure prominently in how well the AV control system works.

After all, there is no use putting a space age, multi-page touchpanel with oodles of manual options into a system that will be operated daily by a variety of people, some of whom may have serious button and switch phobias.

In smaller environments, such as corporate boardrooms that tend to see only occasional use and normally by the same participants, a more advanced and visually impressive user interface may be perfect, while a panel with a few hardware buttons running set event sequences might be needed for a university campus where dozens of classrooms are in daily use by a host of different faculty members. These facts have driven a market trend toward customization in user interface hardware.

The end of the system consists of the AV devices and the protocols used to control them. If timed events are planned, the use of only IR control with only a generic power command can be self-defeating. This is particularly true with data projectors.

If they are already off, they will turn on at the timed command event instead of turning off, so the timed command puts more — rather than fewer — hours on the lamp. Operators who use their own IR remotes can also throw off such control schemes. With discrete on and off commands available on RS and RS controls, any slip-ups with timed power events are avoided. There are also no stick-on emitter buds to come loose or get knocked off, but there are AV devices, such as consumer DVD players, that have only IR remote control.

Aesthetic concerns often override good installation practice, and processors are crammed into closets and credenzas not intended for heat-generating electronic gear.

Adequate ventilation, proper spacing above power amplifiers, and security are axioms that are unfortunately easy to compromise in the rush to finish an installation on time and on budget. With the right match of controls and users, operation protocols and devices, and the proper installation technique, the AV system can achieve its full potential for users and the techs who keep it running. The MultiTasker even offers a no-button panel — the MT with RS control — to operate with existing third-party controllers.

At the heavier end, the button MT provides a slot card cage. Once the hardware is selected and assembled, the configuration is performed with the MTSetup Windows software application, which only needs to be downloaded and run — without installation — on the PC. The price on the MultiTasker will vary considerably with individual configuration.

A status light shows that the unit is programmed and communicating, while red output and yellow input LEDs show command signals being sent and received. The new version supports conditional actions, Telnet activation, Ethernet or UDP event triggers, and other options. Configurable by Telnet or serial console port with password protection, the LS allows a local computer or networked controller to send commands to AV devices via Ethernet for RS control at a serial data transfer rate up to Kb.

The unit is configured and administered with the free LS Microsoft Windows-based management software. The chassis has ports for 10BaseT Ethernet, 7.

No certification training is required for programming and configuration. The internal database can store events and actions in a tiny hardware case less than 6in. Designed for theater automation, the ACT from Christie Digital Systems can run one or a chain of such venues through custom user programming with a web browser-based configuration interface.

These capabilities are also expandable on a nine-pin D-sub port. Through predefined scripts, the unit can communicate with third-party control devices and perform automated routines. Crestron offers a solution to the need for maximum equipment in a minimal space with its MPS Multimedia Presentation System. This 2RU device houses control system, multimedia switcher, audio processor, and amplifier, and in doing so, eliminates all of the interconnection and mounting problems with those components.

Through Ethernet, RS or IR control, four video inputs of various types, and four RGB computer sources can be switched into the matching inputs of the room display device, while a separate source, preview display is delivered to a local touchpanel.

Using easy front-panel controls, eight stereo sound inputs may be routed to three audio outputs with separate level, bass, treble, and mute. The unit also integrates a 40W amplifier pushing through 8, 70V, or V speaker systems. Cue markets the ipCUE-alpha for AV control in both home and commercial markets, but its capabilities are not lightweight. The unit contains its own internal realtime clock, and the front panel presents LED indicators for viewing activity on the various ports.

Hardware button panels may also be used for device control. The ConVA media control system from Dukane is a software product that provides a unified control application for AV devices using various control protocols.

These hardware items come in three sizes with graduated capability. The unit accepts reporting codes from projectors for centralized monitoring of usage hours, equipment faults, maintenance messages, and alerts. Stereo audio may be switched to accompany any of the video signals. IR codes may be learned from device remotes using the front-panel mounted sensor. The unit may be controlled via RS from wall plates, or on Ethernet using an internal web server.

The front panel also features room control, source select, audio muting, and volume controls. Featuring Ethernet-based communication and programming, the RC-8IR presents eight backlit buttons, each of which can issue 15 commands through four IR emitters, one RJ Ethernet port, two relay contact closures, two bidirectional RS ports on terminal blocks, and one bidirectional RS on a terminal block.

The unit includes IR learning, unauthorized user lockout, and with a Java-based GUI, can use Ethernet connectivity for remote programming of functions or macros and for room control of projectors, screens, lighting, and other AV resources.

With screen control and lighting control ports, projection screens and four lighting zones may be controlled. The unit can be controlled through the Genesis interface, standalone software, or hardware keypad. Front-panel LEDs also indicate activity and operational status.

Control scenarios include mixed, multiple command sequences, programmable delays, toggling command functions, and time-elapsed auto-execute functions such as auto-shutdown. Expansion capabilities include software-assignable unit addresses.

Capable of a much wider role than the name might imply, the PAN video distribution center from NetStreams not only switches and distributes up to four HDTV i sources to as many as six locations, it also distributes four composite, four S-Video, or four component sources to Panorama video ports up to 1,ft. Using its IR inputs and outputs, the unit can also control the sources and displays, and it can interface by RS with other control systems. Up to PANs can be cascaded for distribution and control of much larger systems.

For easy local confirmation of source selection, there is also a monitor output. Among the many AV control devices and system components from ProCon Technology , the and control units provide bidirectional monitoring, along with control and management of serial-controlled devices on an Ethernet network interface using the ProCon Site Manager software. Pre-built local control GUI selections are available for either remote or local computer control with timed events and monitoring of lamp time and other system parameters.

With the Site Manager license included with the hardware product, multiple units may be accessed with building and room views. Activity and link status indicators are included, and the unit can interface easily with the ProCon hardware control button panels. Front-panel controls include mic volume, master volume, and treble and bass controls.

Operation can be handled through either a desktop control panel or a computer interface. The rackmountable Mini-Monopro II from Vity is designed for mid-size to smaller venues with control capability including six IR ports, two RS connects on DB-9 female connectors, six relay contacts on Phoenix blocks, one X port with RJ connector inputs for four feedback sources on Phoenix blocks, and two infrared RC5 controls with an IR learner built-in.

Up to 16 of the units are expandable through RS loop-through ports. The processor can be controlled by computer on the Cat-5 port with Vity Fastoch programming software, or by RS with a touchpanel.

Aurora Multimedia www. Calypso Control Systems www. Christie Digital www. Kramer Electronics www. Linguatronics www. For more stories like this, and to keep up to date with all our market leading news, features and analysis, sign up to our newsletter here. Your browser is out-of-date! Subscribe For more stories like this, and to keep up to date with all our market leading news, features and analysis, sign up to our newsletter here.

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This product has been discontinued. The MPS is a complete presentation control and signal routing solution for boardrooms and classrooms. Integrating the control system, multimedia switcher, audio processor, and amplifier into a single 2-space rackmount package, the MPS eliminates the need for separate components without forfeiting performance or flexibility. System Switcher Right out of the box, the MPS provides high-performance switching of 4 video and 4 RGB computer sources to a single projector or flat-panel display. Input signal sensing is provided on every video and RGB input to enable auto-switching functionality and provide device power status information to the control system. Selectable sync impedance on the RGB inputs helps accommodate cable runs of varying lengths. Touchpanel Output A second discrete output is provided on the MPS to feed a preview signal to the system touchpanel or other monitor.


Crestron Mps-200 Multimedia Presentation System 36ey



MediaPort 200



Technology Showcase: AV Room Control Systems


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