AV Matrix switchers of various sizes, technologies, and brands represent nearly $2B in annual purchases by consumer and commercial customers. The job definition for these devices is easy – simply take a video and/or audio source and distribute it to as many displays as you need. While you can find inexpensive products such a simple 4x2 HDMI switcher on Monoprice for around $300 – the bulk of the revenue comes from higher end switchers that can distribute 32, 64, or even 128 different sources to a large number of displays. These switchers can cost over $100k – and is where the bulk of the revenue is generated in the AV industry.

 

What is often overlooked is the least expensive, and arguably the most reliable switch that exists today is already built into most television displays used for entertainment, education, and digital signage. If we view the coax digital QAM or DVB tuner in the language of a AV matrix switcher, most displays sold today have a built in switcher capable of instantly switching to over 130 different sources at a touch of a button.

 

Oh – and its practically free..

 

All that is left is to provide the sources to the television or display. Traditionally, we think broadcast television channels as the only source capable using the coax digital tuner. However, the ZeeVee ZvPro and HDbridge encoders work as the front end of the matrix switch, enabling you to take nearly any traditional SD or HD AV source and send it into the internal audio video matrix switcher on your television display via the QAM or DVB digital tuner. Place a two channel ZvPro 620 on a coax cable – and you now have two sources (channels). Place a four channel HDbridge – and you have four sources to as many displays as you want. These can be additional channels in addition to what is already provided into the display.

 

But how much does this cost? While the cost of an 8x8 HDMI Matrix switcher (maximum 8 sources and 8 displays) can cost high as $8K, the average cost for each source from a ZeeVee solution is about a thousand dollars– and can be sent to an unlimited number of displays. For a medium sized house of worship installation with 9 sources, 20 screens and 3 projectors, this approach eliminates the need for a 16x32 AV matrix switcher (which starts at $15K at B&H Photo), and it is simple add on as many additional sources or displays as needed through inexpensive coax combiners and splitters.

 

For a sports bar, fitness center, or entertainment facility, this makes it easy to simultaneously show multiple games over on 50 different screens and projectors. Plus, if you have displays that don’t have digital tuners (such as a projector), add on tuners such as ZvSync are simple and inexpensive –converting the signal from the ZeeVee encoder to standard HDMI output that is sent to the projector. This approach is simple, inexpensive, generates crystal clear HD video, and represents an very affordable solution for many traditional AV applications that deploy a large number of screens over long distances..