Must be a good week for HDMI Matrices (Matrixes?) as HydraConnect, LLC has announced their new HSS-3 HDMI Matrix Processor.
The HSS-3 has much of the same functionality of the HSS-2,including built-in Control4 functionality, CEC control (instead of IR), and, of course, HDMI and analog audio routing. There are two big changes with the HSS-3. The first is the addition of system drivers to integrate with Crestron, iRule, and RTI home automation systems. (Note: the drivers are also available for updating the HSS-2.) The second big change is the addition of 8 built-in HDBaseT transmitters, replacing traditional HDMI outputs. This alleviates many of the length issues associated with distributed HDMI installations, allowing you to run HDMI 330 feet utilizing inexpensive Cat5e cable. The HSS-3 also provides Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), so the remote HDBaseT receivers do not need the traditional “wall wart” power supply that you never have an open plug for.
Additionally, to support local AV Receivers in the HSS rack, two of the output channels can be selected to use local HDMI connectors instead of HDBaseT. While some may dislike the removal of the output HDMI connections, most will likely welcome the built-in HDBaseT outputs and their elimination of additional equipment in their racks.
The HSS-3, as with the -2, has HydraConnect’s new proprietary Dynamic 2D/3D protocol to automatically resolve EDID conflicts with mixed 2D/3D sources and displays. This system automatically maximizes viewing options and performance in environments with mixed 2D and 3D components. With the exception of HydraConnect’s HSS family of products, present day switches do not have the capability to dynamically adapt to the 2D/3D environment properly.
HydraConnect facilitates system management and upgrades through a cloud-based solution that minimizes end user interaction. For example, existing HSS-2 owners were upgraded in the middle of the night with the new Dynamic 2D/3D protocol — and many probably didn’t know it.
The HSS-3 also eliminates the need most IR blasters and extra controllers, thanks to its fully-integrated CEC control for nearly all sources and displays, plus it provides integrated IP support for DirecTV satellite receivers. Automatic EDID set-up and management ensures maximum video resolution and all audio format support. There are no HDCP key limitations on number of simultaneous displays.
The company’s FlashConnect technology ensures near instantaneous video switching, and no picture loss when adding or removing displays to or from a video stream. The HSS-3 supports 3D, resolutions up to 1080p, HDMI 1.4a passthrough, 36/30/24 bit deep color (225 GHz), automated EDID and CEC processing, and is HDCP 1.4 compliant. It also supports all the latest HDMI audio formats, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD. A/V remix allows the viewing of one video source while listening to a separate audio source. For Control4 installations, HSS-3’s fully integrated Control4 Composer support includes bidirectional volume control feedback.
In short, the HSS-2 made a great solution for most mid-sized Control4 installations, and the HSS-3 only improves on an already good thing. The HSS-3 will be available through your favorite HydraConnect dealer in October.
Oh, and it still has the lacing bar on the back to secure your HDMI cables, and I still think it’s the best feature of the box.