Lossless 4K SDVoE systems have not been around long. The Aurora Multimedia IPX-TC3 PRO is one of the first 10G AV over IP systems my team has used and tested. With cutting-edge technology, you often expect there to be some corners cut or trade-offs to be had, but, if this system has any, we could not find them.
Furthermore, we were impressed with the level of polish. Its interface is the perfect marriage of powerful and intuitive, with a nice aesthetic. Having been subjected to dozens—if not hundreds—of terribly designed and usually hideous web-based interfaces, this was a breath of fresh air worthy of special note ... truly excellent in its simplicity.
We often learn the most about a product when simply trying to use it without instructions—it says a lot about how difficult it will be to implement. A good amount of consideration has gone into system deployment. Once the switch is configured properly, which requires IGMP snooping with fast leave, the system will automatically locate the devices on the network, and from there, everything is obvious—simply drag an encoder over a decoder to establish a stream.
We were able to test the system in several configurations, and the features it supports are robust and the options for how to deploy those systems are plentiful. You can bring your own server in Windows or Linux environment or buy prebuilt Linux servers from the manufacturer—you can even connect two directly together to work as a plug-and-play AV-over-IP extension.
As expected with most high-end AVoIP systems, third-party control is available. The API is not open source, so you will have to directly work with Aurora; it should be noted that their support was fast and responsive.
It seems a great deal of thought has gone into how to make this unit as hands-off as possible. We only found two small issues with this product. The first is unlikely to be a problem in real-world deployments. It stemmed from the initial setup, which was to connect the two units together and then through a 1Gb PoE switch. We were advised this was a problem, but it actually did not cause an issue in the setup (because the switch detected and blocked the loop) we also noticed that the system is somewhat unstable for the first several minutes it’s up.
Video routing seems to start long before the system becomes stable, and devices pop in and out of existence as far as the HDBaseT manager is concerned for several more minutes. This eventually did stabilize and from there on was very robust. It should also be noted this was not a DHCP setup, so it is possible they were negotiation issues. This was not bad enough to warrant further investigation as the network switch took longer to boot up then the system took to stabilize.
The flexibility of the Aurora IPX-TC3 PRO is its best feature. The audio is routed via built-in HDMI routing or Dante. It supports matrix and seamless matrix switching, as well as multiview, so you are able to pull multiple encoders into a single decoder and display them side by side. The system is capable of up to a 16x16 video wall in a variety of configurations; internal scaling delay is rated at 3 milliseconds.
You can also enter seamless switching mode. Switching in this mode will sync the last frame of the last signal with the first frame of the new signal—none of the jarring hard shifts that most systems have. You can route Serial, IR, and USB signals through the system. You can record macros for quick reconfiguration. This system can also be set up in a redundant failover configuration for near-zero downtime. The capability, scalability, and flexibility of this equipment is impressive and all with no detectable latency.
This system can be designed and configured to do whatever you want for a wide variety of applications. With everything from a simple extension to a full-blown video matrix or video wall, the designer and users are covered. Nothing is ever perfect for every application, but the versatility and robustness of this system is great. Be sure to watch for hidden costs of the infrastructure required (however, the prices on 10Gb switches are finally becoming more affordable).
I look forward to deploying the Aurora Multimedia IPX-TS3 PRO soon, and we will hopefully see a wall plate version of the encoder/decoder in the near future.
Jeremy Caldera is the CEO and chief design engineer of audiovisual systems at IAS Technology.