What Is an HDMI Matrix Switcher and How Does It Work?

 Mar 28, 2019   |    Black Box Corporation
An HDMI matrix switcher is a device that allows the central distribution and control of multiple digital and analog HDMI AV signals from one location. These devices simplify the routing of AV signals from a range of input sources, such as PCs, Blu-ray players and surveillance cameras, to one or more output sources, such as TVs, monitors and projectors.

HDMI matrix switchers are ideal for any application that requires customizable, high-speed AV signal routing from multiple sources to one or more destinations.

HDMI Matrix Switcher Applications

HDMI matrix switchers are used in radio and television, multimedia meeting rooms, education and command and control centers. These devices are also perfect for corporate, government and military markets where signal management and high-speed distribution of high-resolution video signals are crucial. 
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Types of HDMI Matrix Switchers

There is a wide range of HDMI matrix switchers on the market today. To choose the right one for your application, you need to consider the following:

  • Signal routing ability
  • Video signal type
  • Cabling type
  • and much more

Below are some of the most common types of HDMI matrix switchers.

By Connection/Distance:

HDMI Matrix Switchers over CAT5/CAT6

HDMI matrix switchers that run over CAT6 cabling are ideal if you're looking for an inexpensive, flexible, durable and easily field terminated connection. These switchers can extend video signals long distances, allowing technicians to install whatever length of cable they need for a specific application. This eliminates the technical and logistical problems associated with installing “long” HDMI cables.

IP HDMI Matrix Switchers

IP HDMI matrix switchers allow the conversion and transportation of HDMI signals up to 4K at 60 Hz 4:4:4 over a new or existing IP network without the need to run proprietary link cables between devices. IP control also lets you make ties or recall configuration presets and assign custom names for each input, output and preset pattern. Additionally, IP control supports simultaneous users from any device, including PC, smart phone or tablet.

By Video Setup/Layout:

4 x 4 HDMI Matrix Switchers

4 x 4 HDMI matrix switchers are ideal for many home and small enterprise uses. They have four HDMI inputs and four HDMI outputs. These switchers have features and functionality similar to larger industrial-use HDMI video matrix switchers, but at a more economical price.

8 x 8 HDMI Matrix Switchers

8 x 8 HDMI matrix switchers are the most popular type of HDMI matrix switchers. They have eight HDMI inputs and eight HDMI outputs. They are found in a variety of installations, ranging from home entertainment systems to small bars and restaurants.

16 x 16 HDMI Matrix Switchers

16 x 16 HDMI matrix switchers can switch between 16 sources and 16 displays. They have 16 HDMI inputs and 16 HDMI outputs. These switchers are ideal for applications that require multiple HDMI sources to be transmitted to multiple HDMI displays. 

By Signal Transmission:

Component HDMI Matrix Switchers

Component HDMI matrix switchers are a combination of a component splitter and a component switch in one device. They allow users to switch component video from multiple component sources to multiple displays with compatible outputs. Component video is video that has been split into two or more component channels. It refers to a type of component analog video (CAV) information that is transmitted or stored as three separate signals. This same input can be displayed on all the outputs or different inputs can be displayed on different outputs.

Composite HDMI Matrix Switchers

Composite matrix switchers transmit composite video and stereo audio from multiple video sources to multiple displays with compatible outputs. Composite video is an analog video transmission type that carries audio on a separate connection, unlike the higher-quality S-video (two channels) and the even higher-quality component video (three or more channels).

Modular HDMI Matrix Switchers

Modular matrix switchers are high-performance video and audio matrix switchers that support different video signals with cross switching. They independently switch and transmit every video or audio signal to decrease signal attenuation. Users can choose to insert different signal cards in these switchers for different applications.

Video Matrix Switcher Diagram

Find out more about our vast selection of HDMI matrix switchers on our website.

What Is the Best Matrix Switching Solution for My Application?

Discover how to configure a matrix switcher or extension setup in our white paper, HD Video Matrix Switching. Access now to learn how our video switchers add value to your network through:

Modular Design

Configurable chassis for any combination of input/output cards, including HDMI, RJ-45, DVI and VGA.

Ultra-Fast Cross-Point Switching

Seamless switching from any input to any output in milliseconds.

Scaling and Cross-Conversion

Any type of input signal can be routed to any type of output signal. Video can be up or downscaled for compatibility in reduced switching time.

Flexible Control Options

Front-panel and IR remote control, plus RS-232, web interface and TCP/IP control compatible with major control systems.

Built-In Extension

RJ-45 extension cards using HDBaseT technology make it easy to connect to remote sources or displays up to 230 feet (70 meters).

Future-Proof

Switch up to 4K UHD resolutions.

For more information, download our white paper below:
HD Video Matrix Switching

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