Q&A: Zigen’s Jeff Murray on Cutting AV Distribution Cost but Not Quality

Published: December 1, 2015

AV distribution is a funny category. It’s more often than not essential to an installation’s success yet also is made up of several parts, cables, connections, systems and services.

As part of our Spotlight on AV Distribution, CI spoke to Jeff Murray, VP of sales at Zigen Corporation, about the company’s newest HDMI, HDCP and 4K products, competitive pricing and BYOD-capable systems that are changing conference rooms.

What would you say to dealers who are already familiar with your product line?

We sincerely appreciate your business as a Zigen dealer. If you missed us at CEDIA be sure and check out several new products including: 18 GBP/sec HDMI switches and distribution amps. We also recently released a very special one of a kind HDCP 2.2 converter to ease installation woes that will happen this buying season.

If you haven’t purchased for a few months be sure and look at the HDBaseT small room solution we launched earlier this year (ZIG-POE-RXAV and ZIG-POEWP-100) and be sure and check out the 4K UHD modular matrices that are shipping with HDCP 2.2 cards.

Q&A: Zigen’s Jeff Murray
Email Address: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Company Name: Zigen
Twitter: @Zigencorp
For those looking to become dealers, click here.

What would you say to dealers who are stumbling across your company for the first time?

Zigen Corporation is a leading provider of 4K HDMI connectivity solutions known for its credo “Field Tested — Installer Approved — Install with Confidence!”

Integrators can’t afford go-backs and service calls. We couldn’t find anything reliable at that time, so we started an engineering & development company to find the glitches in HDMI/HDBaseT. It wasn’t easy, but we did it. Our business has grown to this point by word of mouth because the guys who use our product swear by them.

Tell us about one particularly interesting installation of your product.

We have had our conference room solution (ZIG-POE-RXAV and ZIG-POEWP-100) installed in several hotel breakout rooms — why? Simple control or what I like to call automatic control — once installed the end user simply plugs in a BYOD laptop and things happen — the display turns on, the shades close, the lighting dims and the audio system turns on to medium volume.

This is turning out to be the perfect system for non-technical users and has generated several referrals for the integrator putting these systems in place. Total system price for the components to make this happen in under $1000 — which is a bonus.

Besides the usual, what really specific thing differentiates you from your competitors?

What is the cost of installing inferior products? Zigen products are designed with the highest quality components — we know what a trip charge costs you… so, here’s what you will see in competitive products, where price is the only factor.

What do the other guys do to cut costs — they cut quality.

  • No one on the market is doing 4K60 @4:4:4 yet and Zigen already launched 4 new products.
  • No one on the market has the Buffer (ZIG-BF) for enabling 2013-14 UHDs to work.
  • All Zigen products are proudly designed and engineered in the USA.
  • Most of our competitors are marketing companies — Zigen is an engineering company.
  • Our competitors use 5V power supplies — limiting the ability to pull voltage back into HDMI operating range.
  • Our competitors don’t re-clock the signal after extending HDMI — causing dropouts and interment issues.
  • Our competitors use half-duplex Ethernet — causing slow connections to smart (IP enabled) devices.
  • Our competitors don’t provide an audio return path (ARC) — meaning you can’t put the audio where you want it without 
multiple components.
  • Our competitors don’t pass the entire EDID/HDCP — the extender becomes the display — sounds like an OK idea, but it’s 
not! Any extender should pass HDCP and HDMI and EDID from Sink to Source intact — this is the only way to 
ensure error free operation.
  • Our competitors don’t use POE — they use POCC or POH — doesn’t work reliably, plug in or wire wrong — there goes your 
$10K projector. Zigen only use IEEE 802.11af POE – on all products where power over Ethernet is used.
  • Our competitors don’t implement the full deep color specifica6on — they think the customer won’t care.

What’s the best sales tip/tactic you’ve come across?

You want to get an order — you have to ask for it.

What one technical tip can you offer about installations?

When using CAT5e (or higher) STP or UTP for extending analog and digital signals use only solid copper wire and make sure to terminate properly. We see a lot of issues come up in the field that is simply bad connections or low-grade wire. CCA (Copper Clad Aluminum) for example may work for email and networks, but for passing movies and other high bandwidth content it’s a weak link that you should avoid.

Where do dealers typically get tripped up on installs?

Today it really comes down to understanding the technology — in our world of HDMI there is 1080P, 4K60 4:2:0 8-bit and 4K60 4:4:4 8-bit. This has to be a systematic approach to the customer requirements — what will pass and what won’t pass? What are the DRM/HDCP requirements for the system? What technologies are required for switching, extending and splitting?

I like to illustrate with the chart below:

Keeping this in mind makes decision making easier for project planning and implementation.

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Tagged with: AV Distribution, Zigen

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