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Just Add Power's second generation HDMI over IP with lossless video quality

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
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.
post #2 of 21
Sounds great Ed. Any word on when the iPhone app will be ready? I assume that the iPhone app will work on the iPad as well. It would be pretty slick to access the GUI from an iPad.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mobius View Post

Sounds great Ed. Any word on when the iPhone app will be ready? I assume that the iPhone app will work on the iPad as well. It would be pretty slick to access the GUI from an iPad.

The MediaSwitcher application already supports the iPhone, and a demonstration version can be downloaded from our website Just go to www.justadpower.com and select SUPPORT, DOWNLOADS. There you will find the MediaSwitcher appplication available for download.
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by nded View Post

The MediaSwitcher application already supports the iPhone, and a demonstration version can be downloaded from our website Just go to www.justadpower.com and select SUPPORT, DOWNLOADS. There you will find the MediaSwitcher appplication available for download.


Thanks, Ed. Just to clarify, your solution will 'switch' inputs and outputs; but it won't change 'channels' on say, a satellite receiver. For that, one would need a third-party solution using a third-party IR extender. Is that correct?
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mobius View Post

Thanks, Ed. Just to clarify, your solution will 'switch' inputs and outputs; but it won't change 'channels' on say, a satellite receiver. For that, one would need a third-party solution using a third-party IR extender. Is that correct?

That is correct for now.... The 2.0 release of MediaSwitcher is supposed to include support for hardware devices that will allow things like changing channels on a satellite receiver. I expect MS 2.0 to be ready for shipping before CEDIA in Atlanta.
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by nded View Post

That is correct for now.... The 2.0 release of MediaSwitcher is supposed to include support for hardware devices that will allow things like changing channels on a satellite receiver. I expect MS 2.0 to be ready for shipping before CEDIA in Atlanta.


Thanks Ed. Incidentally, does your company plan on posting an FAQ or CamStudio style demo up on your website? I think that would be helpful for those of us less knowledgeable folks who know how to program a Cisco router, but feel a bit lost when it comes to Crestron, AMX, etc.

Regards
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Update - the Just Add Power booth number for InfoComm next week is N2873. It's in the Digital Signage Pavilion, in the upper left hand corner of the map. The following week we'll be demonstrating the 2G solution at CEDIA-UK, booth # A2 (also in the upper left hand corner of the map). That's the first booth on your right when you enter the exhibit hall.

I look forward to meeting AVSFORUM members at these shows.
post #8 of 21
This looks like an exciting announcement.

As someone looking at it from a home distribution angle, I need to ask a question that I'm unclear on.

Can you network say 6 encoders and 6 receivers on the network and make a 6x6 matrix, where more than one receiver can watch the same source?

Or do I need to wait for a forthcoming matrix-enabled product?

Also are blu-ray players restricted by HDCP so that only one display can show their picture at a time? (I'm still learning about the HDCP item)

Thanks!
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brentj View Post

This looks like an exciting announcement.

As someone looking at it from a home distribution angle, I need to ask a question that I'm unclear on.

Can you network say 6 encoders and 6 receivers on the network and make a 6x6 matrix, where more than one receiver can watch the same source?

Or do I need to wait for a forthcoming matrix-enabled product?

Also are blu-ray players restricted by HDCP so that only one display can show their picture at a time? (I'm still learning about the HDCP item)

Thanks!

Sorry for the delayed response, I was at CEDIA in London last week, and the internet access was problematic.

In answer to your question - YES, you can use both the 1G and 2G models of the Just Add Power HD over IP devices to implement an "any size" matrix - no need to wait for a forthcoming matrix-enabled product. All of our HD over IP devices can be used to create matrix solutions.

The Just Add Power devices are HDCP compliant and are able to resolve the HDCP problems associated with some under powered players. You'll have no problem watching your blu-ray player on multiple screens simultaneously.
post #10 of 21
I'm following the release of the 2G product with a lot of interest the last few weeks. I'm fairly interested in implementing such a setup in my home, initially just a single receiver and transmitter, later to be expanded with more receivers.

Am I correct to understand that you don't need a managed switch as long as you're using just a single transmitter? so a single transmitter + an array of receivers, without a managed switch is possible? (this, to minimize startup costs)

Also, I'd like to know how much more expensive is the 2G series exactly?
if too much, I'd stick with the currently available 1G series.
could you please let me know what a 2G transmitter/receiver would cost me?

edit:

how much bandwidth does the 2G use on average? (at 1080p 60Hz)
the 1G series uses 50/60Mbit max, correct?
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Yes, you can implement a One-to-Many installation of the 1G or 2G devices with a basic unmanaged switch. The multicast traffic will probably make the network traffic for other devices on the same simple switch slow down. Given the relatively low cost of a Dell 35XX/54XX or a Netgear 7000, it is not a big investment to get started with a managed switch.

The MSRP for the 2G devices is $599 each (about 2 times the 1G devices).

The 1G devices are capped at 60mbps, and typically use about 30mbps.

The 2G devices will typically use about 300mbps.
post #12 of 21
thanks for getting back so quickly.

some more questions:

if there's a static image displayed (so no video, but a screen from a PC) is network bandwidth reduced to a bare minimum?

how much 'worse' is the 1G compared to the 2G? is there much noticeable difference?
does digital blocking occur rather quickly, or not much at all?

will the 1G's production will be continued in the foreseeable future? as I wouldn't like to buy one now, to find out later that I can't expand anymore.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heimiko View Post

thanks for getting back so quickly.

some more questions:

if there's a static image displayed (so no video, but a screen from a PC) is network bandwidth reduced to a bare minimum?

Your PC is still sending out X frames per second, so the bandwidth is not significantly reduced with a still image.
Quote:


how much 'worse' is the 1G compared to the 2G? is there much noticeable difference?
does digital blocking occur rather quickly, or not much at all?

The 1G devices use JPEG compression, so you see some artifacts around still text menus and some "crush" in large fields of the same color. The 1G output is very good and is more than acceptable for most users/applications. The 2G is designed to appeal to the demands of the very high end videophiles with the most demanding displays. I use the 1G devices to watch movies from my Vudu or Blu-Ray player on a 110" projector all the time and am very satisifed with the results.

Quote:


will the 1G's production will be continued in the foreseeable future? as I wouldn't like to buy one now, to find out later that I can't expand anymore.

We intend to keep the 1G's in production for a very long time (hopefully until the day they stop making HDMI screens and sources). They are a very economical solution that we have no reason to stop building and supporting.
post #14 of 21
So you would say, it's better to use the 1G for video distribution (motion video) than a PC screen with text on it, as it wouldn't be exactly 'sharp' text anymore due to the jpeg compression. correct?
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
It all depends on the nature of the text being displayed.

I would not want to use 1G to show an excel spreadsheet to an audience.

I would not hesitate to use 1G with a well designed powerpoint or digital signage server presenting eye catching text and graphics.
post #16 of 21
how about with a 2G? how would it fare with a spreadsheet?
is everything as sharp as it should be?
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heimiko View Post

how about with a 2G? how would it fare with a spreadsheet?
is everything as sharp as it should be?

Using the 2G with a spreadsheet at 1920x1080 was something we showcased at Infocomm last week - every pixel is perfect.

I think it is cruel and unusal punishment to subject a large audience to a spreadsheet....
post #18 of 21
Indeed

I'm just gathering info, trying to make a good and informed choice.
This has been most helpful, thank you for your input.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by nded View Post

Yes, you can implement a One-to-Many installation of the 1G or 2G devices with a basic unmanaged switch. The multicast traffic will probably make the network traffic for other devices on the same simple switch slow down. Given the relatively low cost of a Dell 35XX/54XX or a Netgear 7000, it is not a big investment to get started with a managed switch.

Another option you might look into for your switch would be to run your HD distribution on a separate network from the rest of the LAN. Simply co-locate two switches, and plug in your patch cords, accordingly. No real reason why your HD has to be on your home network. If you already have one or more switches or routers, this would be cheaper than replacing them with a single managed switch.
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geordon View Post

Another option you might look into for your switch would be to run your HD distribution on a separate network from the rest of the LAN. Simply co-locate two switches, and plug in your patch cords, accordingly. No real reason why your HD has to be on your home network. If you already have one or more switches or routers, this would be cheaper than replacing them with a single managed switch.

The most important reason to go with the more powerful switch is the ability to support multiple transmitters/sources simultaneously. A compatible Dlink 3226L switch only costs about $249, while the Dell and Netgear switches that work well with HDMI over IP are in the low $300 range.
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by nded View Post

The most important reason to go with the more powerful switch is the ability to support multiple transmitters/sources simultaneously. A compatible Dlink 3226L switch only costs about $249, while the Dell and Netgear switches that work well with HDMI over IP are in the low $300 range.

I understand, and don't disagree with you. I was just giving a lowerr cost option specifically for the case you mentioned of slowing down other devices on the same switch.
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