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Matrix Switches and RGBHV
Howdy all,

Could someone provide a quick primer on how matrix switches work? Lets take the Extron 100 RGBHV as a quick example.

My understanding is that this will switch HD quality video. Was this their initial purpose, or are they just powerful enough to keep up with current technology?

It will also switch audio. Does it switch these together? Can a matrix switch provide the switching functionality of a Nuvo Concerto?

What is the difference between RGBHV, VGA, and standard component (the red, green, and blue cable that is generally used on TVs).

What does the sync mean?

How much work are these to set up?

I found this thread, but it doesn't really answer my questions.

I also did quite a bit of internet searching, but I couldn't really find a primer on exactly how these things work.


The Extron Matrix switchers were originally manufactured to switch professional video setups. Because RGB by its inherent nature required large bandwidths to support the color depth, they are perfect for carrying today's Component (YPbPr) signals. 1080i only needs about 90Mhz unless you feel its important to carry it out to the 3rd Harmonic (I don't...You can't prove to me you can see that level of difference) in which case you need closer to 200 Mhz. The original RGB setups often used Horizontal and/or Vertical Sync signals which are TTL level signals. If it used both, then you have RGBHV. If it combined the H&V syncs then you have RGBs. You can't pass video signals through H&V ports unless the switch was designed as a pure buffer switcher or mechanical switcher. However, most were designed with the intent of passing 5V TTL signals, so they won't work for the lower voltage composite or component signals. BUT, they often work for digital audio.

For a good primer on the diff's between RGB and Component, see:

As far as your other questions:

They are easy to setup. The hardest part is getting the connections together since RGB was often connected via BNC and Component is via RCA. But you can buy inexpensive BNC to RCA adapters (get bags of them on Ebay). The other hard part is working through the myriad of part #'s to know exactly what you are getting. These were hardware designed for specific applications and aren't readily configurable (boards are hard to come by), so you have to pay attention to what's in the unit.

As for switching Video and/or Audio, most will switch independently. The Extron 100/200 series will actually switch the R, G, B, H, V and Audio all separately. Six switches in one. Although, I wrote the driver to link R-G-B to make it easier for CQC component switching applications. The Crosspoints will separately switch audio, but the RGBHV are tied together. So, yes, you could very easily use them to replace a Nuvo type system, however, with the following caveats:

You'll need your own amplifiers
You'll need some means of remote control (no keypads like with a Nuvo unit)
For the keypads, can you just put aftermarket keypads in the walls, and use CQC to control distribution on the software side?
Absolutely. I'm using CQC to control mine. The actual device, as long as it supports CQC is not an issue other than size of the templates.

Target Wrote:For the keypads, can you just put aftermarket keypads in the walls, and use CQC to control distribution on the software side?

The issue is how do you interface a keypad to CQC? There are really no 'generic' keypads to speak of. Certainly no IP aware devices. You could put some Samsung Q1s around but that gets prohibitively expensive. If you want to go the keypad in each zone route, you are far better off with a Nuvo/Russound type solution. If you are satisfied with a couple of strategically placed touchscreens providing all the control with no keypads, then using a switch + amplifier would be a possibility. However, it really is hard to beat the functionality and price point of a pre-engineered system from Russound and Nuvo when you consider the switch, the amplifiers, the heat, space and possible noise associated with a bunch of amps, and then your custom interface. Talk to IVB as he ditched a similar solution in favor of a Nuvo Concerto.

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