HydraConnect Debuts 5 New Models, Plus HDMI Audio Stripping

HydraConnect LLC, the Denver-based manufacturer of digital audio-video switching systems, will introduce a record five new models and a new DSP feature that provides an HDMI Dolby Digital down-mixing solution at CEDIA Expo, which opens here tomorrow.
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HydraConnect LLC, the Denver-based manufacturer of digital audio-video switching systems, will introduce a record five new models and a new DSP feature that provides an HDMI Dolby Digital down-mixing solution at CEDIA EXPO.

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The company is also introducing new function-based model names to make it easier to instantly identify the configuration and capabilities of each product.


HydraConnect LLC developed this new DSP technology to process Dolby Digital audio stripped from each HDMI input. Each analog stereo down-mix is output to an RCA pair for use in a distributed audio system. This also solves the issue where new devices have only an HDMI port and you still require an analog audio output (i.e. Apple TV, Mac Mini, new HDMI-only cable boxes or BluRay players).

In addition to using the stereo signal in distributed audio systems, the DSP’s digital stereo signal is available to each HDBaseT output. On all new HydraConnect HM and HMA matrix processors, each output zone will independently and automatically select the correct audio signal based on each zone’s output device capabilities. This new technology prevents the source EDID from degrading to the lowest common denominator in mixed stereo/surround environments.

"We have significantly expanded our product line, technical capabilities, and launched an aggressive sales program since last year's CEDIA Expo," said David Schanin, President, HydraConnect LLC. "Over the past 12 months we have been demonstrating our products and automated integration technologies to installers and integrators, both nationwide and internationally. The installers in the trenches love what they see. Now we are responding to dealer input by adding some key new models with features like HDMI audio stripping and Dolby Digital DSP capabilities. We have also adopted a new model-naming scheme that makes it easier to quickly identify the capabilities of each SKU.

"In short," Schanin said, "we finally have the solution that the integration world has been waiting years for. In our new integrated audio matrix products, the new DSP audio capability has some great additional benefits such as lip sync control, remote volume control for CEC TVs that do not support volume commands, and tone controls. For the first time ever, you will be able to feed Dolby Digital 5.1 into a switch and choose 5.1 or stereo output separately to each HDMI or HDBaseT output. This means stereo in the kitchen from the TV via the HDMI/HDBaseT cable while simultaneously sending a surround feed to your theater from any other output port, and all with a single HDMI connection to the source."

Also new is the HS-8x4BT, which provides a less expensive solution for lower-density installations while maintaining all the features HydraConnect is known for, such as CEC control, automatic setup, and dynamic EDID management. It has eight HDMI inputs and four HDBaseT outputs, one of which can be configured as a single HDMI output port.

As these two models names indicate, HydraConnect LLC is now using a more-function-based approach to product naming. The prefixes each have specific meanings, with HS indicating a Basic HydraConnect Switch; HM model switches include the DSP audio, and HMA switches include DSP audio plus analog inputs and audio matrix capabilities. The suffix BT indicates HDBaseT outputs, while HD indicates HDMI outputs. The middle numbers designate inputs x outputs.

The company's earlier HSS-3 HDMI matrix switching processor has been reengineered to incorporate the new Dolby Digital DSP, and will be renamed the HMA-8x8BT. The HS-3 8x8 Matrix Switch, which was introduced this past Spring, has been renamed the HS-8x8BT.

The HMA-16x16BT will be available in October, the HMA-8x8BT will be available in December, and the HS-8x4BT will be shipping by Cedia. All of HydraConnect’s switching products are proudly made in Denver, Colorado, USA.

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