NAB Perspectives: Utah Scientific’s Rich Hajdu on Routing 4K in an HD World

The guts of a mobile production truck is changing as the industry shifts to 3G and 4K technologies. That means big opportunities for those in the routing business.

Rich Hajdu, senior vice president at Utah Scientific

Rich Hajdu, senior vice president at Utah Scientific

This week, Utah Scientific is showing off a major extension of the UTAH-100/UDS routing switcher family with a new range of routing switchers offering 6 Gbps UHD-SDI signal capabilities to support new 4K signal formats (both single- and multi-link) used in ultra-high-definition (UHD) TV production.

“It’s probably the only 4K router at the [NAB Show] that is a single coax because it uses a 6-gig cross point,” says Rich Hajdu, senior vice president at Utah Scientific. “Not that people are going to do it today, especially in sports, but there’s still a lot of interest in that.”

Despite not yet requiring transmitting in 4K, the technology is certainly being used within the HD production truck environment. That provides both challenges and prospects for 4K routing systems. Routers in the new series are available in 32 x 32, 64 x 64, and 144 x 144 matrix sizes, and they offer the same control options as the UTAH-100/UDS routers introduced in 2012.

“Basically you have an island of 4K and that’s probably the way its going to be used because you don’t need 4K for everything, but certainly for some functionality,” says Hajdu. “And it seems like 4K has more traction than 3D and of course, let’s fact it, the monitor manufacturers love it because than people have to buy new TVs and we love it because you have to buy new routers. So we’re all for it!”

Complementing the new 4K routers will be a 4K signal-processing module that provides multiplexing and demultiplexing of 1.5 Gbps and 3 Gbps streams to and from the 6 Gbps format.

This modular system is based on I/O modules with 16 ports, interconnected by a crosspoint fabric that allows any input signal to feed any number of output ports. For mixed-signal applications, the new 4K routers can also be fitted with 3G cards from the UTAH-100/UDS family, providing connectivity options including coax, fiber, IP-video, and DVI/HDMI interfaces.

In regards to the sports marketplace, Hajdu also added that Utah is doing significantly more audio processing, shuffling, and manipulating within the video router than the company has in the past.

Router Control on Your Mobile Device
Also this week, Utah Scientific debuted a mobile router control apps for the iPad and Android tablets. The new apps give users yet another control solution for their Utah Scientific routing systems.

The apps connect directly to the system controller and automatically download router configuration, labels, and status for operation wherever a Wi-Fi connection to the controller is available.

Like all Utah Scientific control panels, panel layout, button assignments, button colors, and even button icons are user-configurable for creating virtual control panels to suit specific applications or locations. 

Using the RCP-3a Ethernet protocol, the apps connect to a router controller to download the router’s source and destination lists, then places the sources and destinations on buttons on the GUI. The application will work with any single-level router up to 144 x 144 in size as long as the system controller is able to support RCP-3a communications (“E” model controllers).

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