What does it mean? Find out
Published in the May 1, 2015, Friday, Author:
The latest addition to HDanywhere's mHub series is an obvious signpost for its monicker, which supports 4K, but this is not the only noteworthy aspect of this smooth matrix. The HDBaseT-Lite switcher provides a simplified design and adds some cool new features, including a PoH receiver and webOS software platform.
Recently, HDanywhere has truly discovered its design magic. The incoming layerCake AV distribution system was inspired, but even this more modest box is a step beyond the original mhub's unapologetic function. Anterior fascia acne is gone forever. Instead, we have a sleek white polycarbonate front panel with a low-key legend and backlit logo.
The size is a standard 19-inch rack-mount chassis (size 43 x 4.5 x 14cm w / h / d). It is actually only about half of the 1080p mHub and weighs only 2.05kg (although the PSU is very bulky).
The four HDBaseT-Lite receivers provided are also far away from the small metal box we saw before. They are made of polycarbonate, cast in blue and have a beautiful graphic logo, with a Cat input on one end and an HDMI output on the other. Four IR TX and matching RX minijack buds are also provided in the box. There are also famous British-made brands, which are always reassuring.
The matrix itself provides four HDMI source inputs and four HDBaseT-Lite Ethernet outputs, two of which have mirrored HDMI outputs. By the way, the Ethernet port and HDMI pairing here are very suitable. My normal HDMI plug has to withstand the uncomfortable commuting squeeze to fit the requirements. That said, HDanywhere's SlimWire Platina HDMI cable and its slim hood proved to be the perfect choice – there was a lesson somewhere.
One of the biggest changes is the ability to manage the matrix from the browser web interface. This is a function handed down from the all-blue Modular matrix, as is the HeartBeat remote monitoring. The remote login function can save a lot of marking time. There is also a complete configuration on the board. The matrix provides CEC control of connected hardware, shortened switching time and HDBaseT cable diagnostics.
There is no doubt that this is a powerful toolkit. It can provide 4K 2160p video up to 40m and Full HD video from 1080p to 70m from four source devices to four connected displays.
Set up and configure through the above web interface. Download the brand's mHub network tool, and then run the tool to identify the devices on the network. By opening the webOS UI in your browser, you can rename and configure connected sources and outputs, as well as access monitoring and feedback tools. The small blue receiver provided is a dream to use. Their size is only 5.5 x 3.8 x 10cm (w/h/d), plug and play. The matrix also supports bidirectional IR and has a global IR port for integrated AVR control.
Of course, the question is, what kind of 4K content do you intend to use it for? mHub 4K matrix supports multiple 4K resolutions and frame rates: 3840 x 2160 @ 30Hz, with 4:4:4 chroma sub-sampling; movie specifications 4K 4096 x 2160 @ 24Hz 4:4:4, plus 4K 3840 x 2160 @ 60Hz, but with 4:2:0 chroma subsampling. Need to use Cat 6a or above cable for signal transmission. But there is a caveat. The matrix does not provide HDCP 2.2 support.
Obviously, there is currently almost no (ie almost no) commercial 4K content. You can use cameras such as Panasonic G4 or home camcorders such as Sony FDR-AX100e or Panasonic HC-X1000E to shoot your own 4K material. Although many people are doing this, we are still some distance away from pay TV Services (BT and Sky) or UHD Blu-ray will be available soon. Of course, the situation may change drastically in just six months.
However, we do have a source: Sony's FMP-X5. This is a standalone HEVC media player with a Netflix 4K client. It is designed to work with Sony's 4K projector series and some Sony 4K UHD TVs. So, what happens when X5 is routed through mHub 4K? Actually not much. The media player immediately knew that it was not connected to HDCP 2.2-enabled HDMI and threw an "incompatible" text screen. It is almost certain that all commercial services will adopt HDCP2.2 copy protection, which foreshadows what will happen in the future and limits mHub's 4K 2160p aspirations.
A wide range of control options. There are IP or RS232 control drivers for AMX, Control 4, Crestron, Savant, RTI, URC, Fibaro, Loxone and Demo Pad. You can also take real-time snapshots of cable diagnostics through performance feedback to help assess the type of cable infrastructure you are dealing with.
Overall, mHub 4K is impressive. Even if 4K is excluded due to these annoying HDCP 2.2 issues, you can still get a complex matrix that can provide more features than regular 1080p models. The webOS UI is very simple and the design of the HDBaseT-Lite receiver is excellent. Precautions may apply, but in any case, this is a reasonably priced kit.
HDanywhere mHub 4K 4x4 matrix is now available.
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In-house CI editor Steve May (Steve May) is a freelance technical expert who also
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