Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Happy 1st Anniversary!!!!

Today marks the one year anniversary of our blog.  Here is to another year of great education and commentary from Metra Home Theater Group.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Education Is Very Important

Education is more important than ever due to the hot button feature everyone is talking about:  High
Dynamic Resolution or HDR for short.  With all the hyperbole about this new technology being thrown around, along with the talk about new cable certifications- one can get confused quickly.  An example of how this confusion can spread happen in our office last week in the form of an email from China.  It read as follows:

“Dear friend,
    Good day. Hope you enjoyed your weekend^_^
Attached is our HDMI 2.0 HDCP 2.2 100m extender (HDBaseT) quotation to you. Please check for your reference.”

Whoa, wait a minute! HDBaseT has upgraded to HDMI 2.0 and can therefore now support 4k/60, HDR and 4:4:4 color?  Without a clear understanding of HDMI 2.0, 2.0A, 4K and HDR one would think this HDBaseT was something to consider purchasing to use with the new 4K, HDR components because of “HDMI 2.0” listed spec.  This email could cost your business money if you do not fully understand the HDMI 2.0A spec.  HDMI 2.0 (and HDMI 2.0A) has a range of performance capabilities and if a product falls within this range, companies can say it is HDMI 2.0 compliant.   Yet if this product does not support the FULL RANGE of HDMI 2.0A spec, the product will not support 4K/60, HDR and 4:4:4 color.  The specs of this product will tell the full story of just how much of the HDMI 2.0 spec this extender supports.

After reading the header, a laymen’s translation of the above email from China is “Our HDBaseT extenders will support anything that you can throw at it”. Unfortunately this is not the case, HDBaseT will only work with in the older HDMI 1.4 spec, meaning this product will not support the full range of HDMI 2.0 spec up to 18 Gpbs and this full range is important because of HDR. HDR is without question the biggest change to picture quality since the introduction of High Definition. HDR itself is a technique used in imaging to reproduce a greater dynamic range of luminosity than is possible with standard digital imaging techniques, this means that you and your client will see much greater definition in the depth of the picture and its shading.

To validate my comments look at the data listed below that were part of the afore mentioned email, the specs listed is not the full range of HDMI 2.0A you will not see 18 Gbps listed anywhere:

  In conclusion, read the specs when you see HDMI 2.0 on any products to see if you are using the correct products for installations.  If full HDMI 2.0A spec is what you need – make sure that is what you are purchasing.

Have any questions regarding this topic?  Leave a comment.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Back Story of the M3B

Our Metra Multi-Media Broadcast System (M3B) caused quite the stir at CEDIA this past October.  While discussing the back story with one of our product developers on how Metra Home got the idea for this product, I found it extremely interesting.  I thought others might find it intriguing as well.   Please let me know
your thoughts.

How did the idea of M3B come about?

Product Developer:     I was standing in a train station noticing how clear the information signage panels looked. Not being one to pass up a learning opportunity, I looked at the video cables and I realized that there was only a single coax running from each display to the next (at one point going through a splitter). This got my attention.  Like most old school guys I am familiar with “RF” modulation products, but I had never seen one look this good.  Armed with this knowledge we were able find and modify the technology for CI needs.

Explain how one would set up this system, how it works and why it is exciting to the CI community.
The new M3B Multi-Source, Multi-Display Coax Based HD Video Distribution System is exciting because it is a great way for the integrator to compete with any central hardware based Matrix system.  It is a simple solution for CI to broadcast HDMI over coax without rewiring the entire house.  Most houses built in the last 20 or so years are already pre-wired with RG6 coax. This was of course done to provide cable TV, however it does give us what we need to build Multi-Source, Multi-Zone HDMI Distribution systems.  With the introduction of our new M3B, HDMI over “RF” technology it is now possible the same coax infra-structure that has been in our houses since the 1980s.

Here is how you set it up:  (1) take any (or all) HDMI 1080P source(s) with or without HDCP and plug it or them each into an M3B TX1 encoder(s), (2) on the front of the M3B TX1 your select the RF-ID for the source, (3) you will then connect that unit(s) into your house wide coax system.  Here is the really exciting part, this system will share the same coax as your off air antenna or CATV system. Once connected to your coax, the encoded source(s) can been seen on ANY coax connected display in your home that has one of the M3B RX1R decoders connected to it. The M3B RX1R decoder comes with an IR receiver that when plugged in it will allow you to select which of the M3B TX1 RF-ID’s that you want to watch. It is that simple.

This sounds almost too good to be true.  Is there a down side to this M3B system?

I can only think of two things that some might consider as a down side to this product.                                                                                                                                                       
1.   It will take about 6.5 seconds to change RF-ID codes on the RX1R (on par with any AVR).                                                                                                
2.   Audio is PCM 2 channel (this is done because a lot of common displays will not accept 5.1 audio on HDMI inputs).

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Why You Need Our HDM-GA1

In previous posts, we discussed our HDM-GA1 and the three awards it won during CEDIA 2015 in Dallas.  Awards are great but if our customers do not understand WHY this product is winning awards, then Metra Home is not educating our customers.  Education is key to staying on top of the CI game and here at Metra Home we want to be the go-to resource for CI questions. 
We made our name in the early days of HDMI by providing the first “Made in America” long distance HDMI cable solution, and we have continued to develop and refine these capability with our latest (and still) “Made in America” extender the HDM-GA1.
4K and HDR are real, products will be shipping this Christmas and in the hands of your clients by the first of the year. How will this affect you and more importantly how do you plan your installs to accommodate this expanded bandwidth requirement? 
Well… if your jobs are based around category cable extenders or current Redmere enabled cables, you will be in a world of hurt as neither of these technologies truly support 4K/60 4:4:4 or HDR content.  If instead you use the older style passive HDMI cables (up to 15 meters in length) you can take your jobs forward and include ANY capability that HDMI 2.0A by using our HDM-GA1.
The HDM-GA1 allows the installer to utilize existing in-wall passive HDMI cables up to 15 meters in length to upgrade and support the full 4K/60, 4:4:4, HDR signal soon to be available in many video products.  We know that there are a lot of systems already installed in the real world that have quality passive HDMI cables in them and we also know that as an integrator you must build into the job the best possible avenue for future technology expansion.  Again the HDM-GA1 is the solution, why beat your head against the wall with worry about will a given format support what is coming when we already have the answer.
Here is what the HDM-GA1 will do for you.
1: It will take an existing passive HDMI cable up to 15 meters in length and allow it to support every single option that HDMI 2.0A can provide. That means 4/60, 4:4:4 Color, 3D, all available Multi-Channel Audio Codecs and (most importantly) High Dynamic Resolution [HDR].
2: When (not if) technology exceeds the HDMI 2.0A bandwidth all that you will need to do is replace the HDM-GA1 with the newer, higher bandwidth model.
3: My favorite, “ESD” damage, if you have an active that becomes damaged by “ESD” (electro static discharge) you can just write it off, there is no way to repair this damage and you must replace the cable. However if you are using a passive cable with our HDM-GA1, when this type of damage occurs you need only replace the HSM-GA1 and leave the cable alone.
An easy 4K/HDR upgrade solution.  It. Just. Works.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

CEDIA 2015 Wrap Up

In the craziness of returning from Dallas last week - this post was not posted on the blog.  We apologize.  

Whew!  What a whirlwind CEDIA 2105 was in Dallas.  It was the best show Metra Home has had to date and it is largely due to the combination of great products and staff.  Seriously, our staff is the hardest working staff I know and no other company can touch our products.  My co-workers are a great group of people.  As I sat in the front desk during the show, I overheard things being said by staff and attendees and I made up a list:
  • ·         WOW nice booth!
  • ·         My feet hurt.
  • ·         Don’t lean on the front desk.
  • ·         Who left coffee on the front desk
  • ·         Where is my coffee?
  • ·         My feet hurt.
  • ·         You sure that is the correct price?
  • ·         Are you seriously taking an order on a trashcan?
  • ·         I have not eaten all day
  • ·         My feet hurt.

I also heard from Attendees the phrase “That’s a problem solver right there” after they saw the demo of the M3B.  This could explain why this product is flying out of the warehouse.  Good problem to have from where I am sitting.  The HDM-GA1 was awarded three awards

 and our first run is all sold out.

The show never slowed down for us and even though we are home – the pace has continued.  Here’s to hoping CES is just a wonderful show.