The demo takes multiple sources and distributes them to a wide variety of displays, with the final result being 4K video at 60 frames per second.
If the original source is standard HD fare, Crestron scales it up. If the display isn’t 4K, Crestron scales it down.
It’s all part of DM 3.0, the latest iteration of Crestron’s DigitalMedia platform.
If it sounds like last year’s end-to-end 4K demo, it is kinda sorta, but this time around we get 4K/60 compared to last year’s 4K/30. Plus, Crestron is promising HDCP 2.2 support in its switches and A/V receivers, which is a requirement for copyright-protected content if you want to watch on a 4K set.
“We’ve always built input and output cards that have supported it [4K/60] from a speed perspective,” says product marketing director Tom Barnett, “but we had to wait for the HDMI spec to settle down before we had the actual software for 4K/60 through the switcher.”
The key to the ecosystem is the new DM-RMC-4K-SCALER-C scaler, the “first and only” such product on the market, according to Crestron.
“We did all of the R&D for the chip in the scaler ourselves,” versus buying a bunch of Marvell chips, according to Barnett. “We did that because of all the frame-rate conversions.”
He adds, “No one’s done a 4K/60 scaler that you can go from any frame rate to any frame rate. Of course, when you buy a 4K TV, you want full motion and full brightness.”
Just as importantly is Crestron’s ability to scale down 4K content for older 1080p sets (and downmix audio for stereo feeds to secondary zones without compromising 4K video quality and multichannel lossless audio for primary zones).
Last year’s demonstration was a proof-of-concept. The scaler just started shipping in January.
DM 3.0 is ‘Not a Product’
Whatever you do, don’t call the new DM 3.0 a product, cautions Crestron CTO Fred Bargetzi.
“It’s a set of core digital standards embedded in the DM product line: uncompressed bit-for-bit 4K/60 distribution and scaling; streaming AV; enterprise-class IT solution; and end-to-end scalable solutions for every room type,” he says. “You could think of it as requirements in a consultant spec that might read, ‘Video distribution system must be DM 3.0 or equal.'”
The demo at ISE includes a 4K FMP-X10 media server and other (inferior) sources distributed to five different TVs from five different companies.
It doesn’t hurt that Crestron has its own 4K testing lab and certification program to ensure all types of sources deliver the best possible video images.
4K Scaler Features
The scaler can upscale 1080p and higher resolutions of the latest laptops and mobile devices to display on the latest 4K displays at their full 60 Hz frame rate, as well as downscale 4K sources to properly display on 1080p displays.
Related: Where’s the Money in 4K?
It intelligently converts frame rates for 24p and PAL sources, as well as convert 4K/30 Hz content to 1080p60 or 4K/60 Hz; DM-RMC-4K-SCALER-C is the only scaler on the market that can do this.
It can create video walls, even spreading a 4K source across 1080p displays while maintaining full resolution — using the zoom capability on its output to display just a portion of the source image, it can support up to 64 individual displays, for example, an eight by eight video wall.