In June at InfoComm in Las Vegas and at CEDIA-UK in London Just Add Power will be demonstrating the second generation (2G) HDMI over IP solution. The first generation (1G) Just Add Power HDMI over IP devices were based on an off the shelf solution that we were able to customize to a certain extent to achieve some amazing results. However, there were some fundamental limitations in the 1G solution that prevented it from fulfilling the demands of certain markets for a more robust HDMI over IP solution. We decided that the best way to overcome these limitations was to develop our own 2G processor which will be at the heart of Just Add Power's ongoing development efforts. While the very stable and more economical 1G Transmitter/Receiver solution will continue to be manufactured and supported by Just Add Power, all of our efforts to deliver new HDMI over IP solutions are now focused on the Just Add Power 2G Processor platform. The focus is on refining the 2G HDMI over IP solution to meet the requirements of specific industries and unique regions across the globe. While the overall appearance is very similar between the 1G and 2G devices , it is important to realize that they will not communicate with each other. Customers with 1G systems installed cannot use the 2G devices to expand their HDMI over IP matrix.
The Just Add Power 2G Processor is a proprietary Silicon On Chip (SOC) design built with several patented features. The heart of the 2G Processor is an ARM9 CPU with a maximum running frequency of 275MHz. The CPU core includes 16KB I-cache, 16KB D-Cache, a Memory Management Unit (MMU), and two AHB system buses. The ARM9 family of processors has been embraced by hundreds of prominent companies (see the listing at http://www.arm.com/products/processors/licensees.php
). The same Just Add Power 2G Processor is used for both the HDMI over IP Transmitter and the HDMI over IP Receiver, allowing us to build a tightly coupled solution while keeping the bill of materials to a minimum.
The Just Add Power 2G Processor integrates a very powerful patented Video Compression engine providing a wide range of options to control the video quality level and the compression ratio. This gives the 2G solution the ability to deliver a visually lossless output. The compression algorithm is a proprietary one, specially developed to enhance both the video compression ratio and the graphics compression ratio that can be achieved. It should be noted that graphics compression is typically much more difficult to handle and consumes a great deal of network bandwidth. Basically, the visually lossless compression algorithm adopted by the Just Add Power 2G Processor is built on a block-based compression scheme. The block size is always 8 pixels by 8 pixels and the color format is YUV format. Before compression, the captured RGB-format video stream is automatically converted to a YUV format video stream. The Video Compression Engine automatically monitors any scene change block by block. Only the blocks with a scene change will be compressed again. This scheme significantly reduces the average network bandwidth requirement.
One of the primary goals of the 2G HDMI over IP solution was to significantly improve the video quality in comparison to the already popular and well received 1G solution. The objective is to deliver distributed HD video over the LAN that is visually identical to the source content. In order to achieve this visually lossless objective we were forced to move from a 100BT network architecture to a 1000BT platform. This 1000% increase in specified network speed gives us the necessary bandwidth to implement the patented visually lossless CODEC referenced above. Users of standard data compression utilities are already familiar and comfortable with the concept of lossless compression. Interested parties with a more technical perspective can get a better understanding of the nature of our proprietary compression algorithm by studying Steganography with an eye towards the role of the least significant bit (LSB) in identifying overhead bandwidth in a video signal. It should also be noted that we are achieving our visually lossless compression of 1080P content with a Maximum RGB Error equal to or less than 1 LSB. The end result is the ability to replicate stunning 1080p video that cannot be distinguished from the source content, allowing Custom Installers to satisfy the video quality demands of the most demanding clients. This is a claim that we could not make for the original "game changing" 1G solution (http://www.cepro.com/article/dealer_...game_changing/
), and is the most distinctive characteristic of the 2G HDMI over IP design.
Another key aspect of the 2G HDMI over IP solution is the transition from a totally fixed IP address on the Receivers to an IP address that can be set in the field. Specifically, the Receivers are now delivered with a DIP switch panel that can be used to set the last octet of the IP address to any of 250 supported settings (the 6 remaining possible addresses are reserved for current and future usage). This is a 25% increase in the number of Receivers that can be installed in a single zone (multi-zone 2G installations use the same architecture as the 1G solution). This addressability enhancement eliminates the possibility of accidentally shipping a duplicate Receiver IP address to a customer, while at the same time keeping the original benefit of a fundamentally plug-n-play solution. Professional installers can now keep spare Receivers on the shelf with the confidence that they can be used to expand any new or existing 2G installation.
The last significant difference between the 1G and 2G solution is the elimination of the scaler function in the HDMI over IP Receiver. While many customers have benefited from the scaler function in the 1G family, it has also been an occasional problem for some high end installations. This is due to a combination of factors such as undesirable EDID settings in some screens and double scaling. Furthermore, the scalers integrated into the high end monitors installed by professional installers often have a far superior range of features. The introductory 2G HDMI over IP Receivers will not provide any sort of scaling function at all. Instead, the original video signal that is connected to the 2G HDMI over IP Transmitter will be output at the source resolution. This change will make it necessary for the installer to ensure that the selected screens for a 2G HDMI over IP solution are able to support the video signal resolution settings of the distributed source devices.
Initially the 2G Just Add Power HDMI over IP devices will be offered in the same 4 form factors as the 1G family (Standard Transmitter, Convertible Rackmount 3X Transmitter, Standard Receiver, and PoE Receiver), with additional form factors being developed and expected to be available in the near future. The first customer shipments of 2G HDMI over IP devices are scheduled for July, 2010. Pricing details for this more expensive solution (compared to the 1G product) will be publicly released in June at the official product launch demonstrations. Dealers are strongly encouraged to contact their regional HDMI over IP distributor representatives with any product or pricing questions they may have.