KVM & Multiviewer Systems At NAB 2024

We take a look at what to expect in the world of KVM & Multiviewer systems at the 2024 NAB Show. Expect plenty of innovation in KVM over IP and systems that facilitate remote production, distributed teams and cloud integration.

With an ever expanding number of sources to manage and monitor, broadcasters and production companies are increasingly relying on KVM and multiviewer systems to streamline their workflows and make their staff more productive.

Overall, KVM systems help broadcasters operate more effectively by improving control and flexibility, and supporting collaboration and teamwork. They allow operators to switch between multiple computers, servers and other devices with a single keyboard, mouse, and monitor. This way, less hardware and peripherals need to be used, saving time, and improving workflow efficiency.

Multiviewing solutions come in a variety of I/O versions that enable users (in a control room or master control suite) to display different sources in different configurations on a single screen. Thus, multiple processes can be observed and operated simultaneously. These systems also offer ultra-low latency access to remote systems and the ability to integrate virtual sources and enable remote access from anywhere in the world.

At the upcoming 2024 NAB Show, most makers of KVM switching systems will show new software that includes integrated multiviewer capabilities via software. This provides users immediate access to hundreds of computers or servers. Throughout the eco-system of broadcasting environments, the KVM-Multiviewer system offers instant access to shared sources from a single workstation. There is no need to create a dedicated workstation specific to editing tools or storage devices. In a studio and editing suites, multiple servers can be assigned to a specific workstation to create customized settings for different editors or graphic artists. Each station can be configured according to one user’s needs and instantly changed to a different configuration for another user.

Another trend is the growing popularity of KVM-over-IP solutions as they offer several advantages over classic KVM systems, including greater flexibility, scalability, and remote management capabilities. This is important to broadcasters with IP infrastructures as team collaboration locally and across the globe are becoming the norm. This is where the cloud and remote processing have become important to move signals to different destinations, sometimes simultaneously. This workflow also supports many different connected peripherals including touch screens, tablets, and microphones over USB.

Among the companies exhibiting at the NAB Show that support workflows that include KVM and multiviewers, here’s a few to see.

Apantac (Booth SU7014). At NAB the company will spotlight its KVM over IP family. It’s billed as a cost-effective, flexible, and expandable ecosystem that can run on a managed network with inexpensive COTS GigE managed switches. They can be used in point-to-point mode (unicast or multicast) or as a matrix (multicast) when attached to a 1Gps network.

Regarding multiviewer technology, Apantac will show a new 16-input NDI Multiviewer (Mi-16-NDI series) as well as their T# range with NDI inputs. The Mi-16-NDI Multiviewer series can display up to 16 NDI streams or sources (1080P) in a variety of layouts and supports up to HDMI 2.0, 12G, and 3G SDI outputs with supported output resolutions up to 2160P@60Hz.

Cobalt Digital (Booth SU4027) is expanding its line of multiviewers with the addition of the UltraBlue IP-MV series of IP multiviewers, a series that can grow with the customer’s needs. The UltraBlue IP-MV multiviewer is a scalable software-based solution that’s available as both a software package and a cloud instance with a WebRTC output. These software-based products feature a web interface and are designed to grow with a customer’s needs by incorporating support for compressed and baseband (ST 2110) IP/SDI inputs and outputs.

The UltraBlue IP-MV can receive audio/video over IP in a variety of protocols and formats with flexible audio routing. Mosaic configurations is easy, with arbitrary sizes and orientations available on multiple screens with graphic overlays, ancillary data, and tallies.

Cobalt will also be showing its openGear SDI series of multiviewers which include the 9970-QS (up to 3G) and 9971 (up to 12G). 

Guntermann & Drunck (Booth C2820) will show its full portfolio of KVM extenders, switches, and matrix systems. At NAB they will exhibit the latest generation of their PersonalWorkplace-Controller, an integrated multiviewing tool that enables broadcast and production professionals to display multiple video signals on just one large monitor or multiple displays, therefore individually designing their workplaces. Up to 27 image sources can be captured and transmitted to up to four 5K displays or other screen combinations as well as additional IP streams. Each source can be dynamically scaled, moved, and controlled, allowing for optimal customization without restrictions to the conventional four- or six-screen layout.  They will also show a new ‘MAX’ input card system that enables the integration of remote sources via fiber. The cards can be combined with the PersonalWorkplace-CPU to process HDMI, DisplayPort or SDI video signals.

Also at the booth will be the company’s VisionXS series; a range of matrix-compatible pocket format extenders with a new DP-HR variant for resolutions up to 2560 x 1600 at 60 Hz.

IHSE USA (Booth SL5115) will show its MV42-4K60 multiviewer, which is capable of handling up to four ultra-high-resolution sources on a single 4K60 display as well as supporting full control of a locally connected keyboard and mouse. Typical screen setup features support Picture-in-Picture mode, Full Screen mode, de-embedded audio, USB-HID and USB 2.0.  Embedded audio signals can be connected to a loudspeaker (analog or digital) via a separate audio interface and once the mouse is moved into the specific source region on the display, the audio becomes active. For expandable access to multiple sources this integrated multiviewer provides scalable, ultra-low latency interaction with the KVM matrix system allowing users to make screen layout changes by simply using an embedded On-Screen Display.

Also in the company’s booth will be a new series of KVM solutions, such as a JPEG XS Encoder IP Core image and video coding system that enables visually lossless image quality. It’s designed to significantly reduce bandwidth and energy requirements as well as other costs. IHSE was one of the first KVM manufacturers to implement JPEGXS in an IP core for near-latency-free transmission of pristine high-definition video.

A KVM Multi-view Commander System, which can manage up to sixteen 4K60 video sources on a single display while also offering a full range of features for image scaling, positioning, cropping and PIP, will also be on display.

Matrox Video (Booth SL5073) will show its fully featured Extio 3 KVM system. Extio 3 is a secure, high-performance IP KVM system that supports 4Kp60 or quad 1080p60 video, keyboard, mouse, USB 2.0 and audio at low bitrates over 1 GbE networks.

Extio 3 is an ideal solution for sophisticated distributed teams and remote operations. Controlled and configured via its comprehensive Central Manager Software it enables deployment over a private WAN, with excellent security and a suite of tools to streamline multi-site administration. For users, it’s Tile View software provides an elegant environment capable pf controlling up to four systems simultaneously.

The hardware foundation of Extio 3 are the N3408 and N3208 IP KVM extenders. The N3408 quad monitor extender supports one 4Kp60 4:4:4, two 4Kp30, or up to four 1080p60 video streams over IP, or can be configured as a direct point-to-point KVM over CATx or fiber optic cable. The N3208 supports dual displays (2x 1920x1200 @60Hz) or a single high-resolution display (2560x1600 @60Hz) over IP or can be configured as a direct point-to-point KVM over CATx or fiber optic cable. 

Lawo (Booth C4110) will highlight its HOME “server based” processing platform of software applications. The HOME Multiviewer app offers high-quality monitoring UHD, 3G, HD and SD video as well as audio sources, with pixel-perfect mosaics and ultra-low latency. The app generates the required number of PiPs for one multiviewer mosaic head. Spinning up additional instances allows operators to provide as many heads as are required for a given production. The app can be configured using the touch screen operated theWALL app and its wealth of widgets for level metering, clock, tallies, etc. The input and output formats can be specified independently (SMPTE ST2110, SRT, JPEG XS or NDI). It includes frame synchronization, audio processing, widgets for a variety of elements to be displayed, and destination tally.

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