Crestron’s New 4K UHD Certification Program: What Does it Mean?

Crestron claims to be the only organization that can create and certify a 4K Ultra HD ecosystem from end-to-end. Marketing speak or the real deal?

Julie Jacobson
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Certifying the 4K Ecosystem

It’s nice that Crestron offers a bunch of intermediate devices for a 4K distributed video environment, but the company does not make the sources and displays that bookend such an environment.

Because 4K is so new (not to mention the companion HDMI 2.0 spec), manufacturers had a “chicken-and-egg” problem during development, Barnett explains: “They didn’t have a wide field of sources and displays for interoperability testing.”

Dealers too have yet to define best practices.

Crestron is taking the guesswork out of the unknowns with its new DigitalMedia Lab. It is not unlike similar labs created by the company for testing IP cameras and light fixtures, says Barnett.

“We can tell you which cameras support home many streams,” he explains. “It’s the same with lighting. For a specific fixture, we can tell you to set the minimum dim to 8 percent and the maximum to 92 percent.”

In the case of 4K video, Crestron brings popular sources and displays into its lab and tests them with DigitalMedia devices in multiple conditions.

“We can tell the manufacturer if they need to make changes in their firmware or we can make changes in our firmware,” says Barnett. “A year from now, things are likely to have settled down a bit, but today it’s just not as simple as buying a 4K source and a 4K display and assuming they’ll work in an integrated system.”

But a year from now is too late for early adopters who want 4K today. It’s also too late for dealers who want to take advantage of today’s good margins on 4K products.

Now Crestron can advise dealers on best practices for any given product and warn them of quirks for solutions that do work … just maybe not so well.

For example, as Barnett says, “Maybe a particular display works, but when you switch sources, you see gibberish for about 5 seconds.”

Dealers can judge for themselves if the behavior is acceptable for their clients.

Crestron DigitalMedia is considered to be a top-of-the-line solution for video distribution, and the 4K program illustrates how users are buying more than a bunch of black boxes.

“A lot of what you’re buying is our experience with 2 million nodes,” Barnett says.

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