FAQ: What are Matrix switchers and why are they important in AV integration projects

As AV networks become more complex – because an increasing number of devices and rooms need to be a part of it – the use of matrix switchers becomes necessary. They allow the routing or switching of audio and video signals from multiple input sources to the one of several output devices.

For example; the video signal from a PC can be “switched” to a projector display, presenter’s monitor or even a LCD screen in the next room. They are especially important in more complex networked AV environments such as corporate boardrooms, command and control centers, classrooms, restaurants, home theaters, and video conference rooms.

What are matrix switchers? 

This article from Extron describes matrix switchers as…devices that “route multiple audio/video sources to multiple audio/video destinations. These switchers accept audio/video signals from a range of input sources – computers, cameras, DVD players, etc. – and route the output to different destinations, such as projectors, monitors, and video conference codecs.”

What functionality do matrix switchers provide?

Some of the features that set these devices apart from regular switchers are:

The ability to route any input to any output – or multiple outputs – at any time.

Different models of matrix switchers can route composite video, S-video, component video, serial digital video, or RGB computer-video, with or without stereo audio.

They can accommodate multiple signal types within a single unit; however, a signal type that is input can only be routed to an output of the same signal type.

matrix switchers

Different types of matrix switchers

Depending on the nature of the signal or the application for which that needs to be switched/routed, there are different types of matrix switchers that an AV designer might choose to use.

AV Matrix Switchers

Audio Matrix Switchers

Digital Matrix Switchers

VGA & Audio Matrix Switchers

Media Presentation Matrix Switchers

Twisted Pair Matrix Switchers

 Scaling Matrix Switchers

Wideband RGB & Audio Matrix Switchers

Ultra-Wideband RGB & Audio Matrix Switchers

Modular & Expandable Matrix Switchers

(Image Credit: www.extron.com)

AV Solutions, Audio Visual Consultants at Actis Technologies India