Arista’s IP Flash Caster has forever changed the dynamics of the pro AV industry by letting installers and System Integrators replace proprietary AV matrix switches with off-the-shelf Ethernet networks that deliver dramatically better price/performance, flexibility and scalability. Arista’s IP Flash Caster aims to redefine the AV signal processing & distribution system architecture by delivering a single, cost-effective & scalable AV signal processing & distribution unit which integrates the functionality of several costly, discreet, single-function components. Arista’s IP Flash Caster is end-to-end systems for AV and KVM signal extension, IP-based switching, video wall and multi-view. It provides unique support for HDMI 2.0a, HDR, high-fidelity video scaling, windowing and audio downmixing, broadcast quality scaling, visually indistinguishable light-compression, multi-source video compositing, video splitting, color space conversion, frame rate conversion, audio embedding/de-embedding, audio down-mixing and audio re-sampling.
Arista’s IP Flash Caster transmits uncompressed, pixel for pixel video signals extended over long distances and switched through IP switches with zero-frame latency. In very few cases, it may be desirable to apply light compression to enable a video resolution to be transmitted across a limited bandwidth network or to enable longer distance transmission for the same resolution. For such cases, when it is required, Arista’s IP Flash Caster compresses video source a compression ratio of just 1.4:1, this ultra-low compression ratio results in mathematically lossless compression for most content and visually indistinguishable image quality for the remaining cases.
Arista’s IP Flash Caster supports both up-scaling and downscaling for resolutions up to True 4K/60/4:4:4. This broadcast quality scaling engine is architected with fully programmable horizontal and vertical taps and includes pre and post processing algorithms to reduce ringing and aliasing artifacts while preserving the sharpness of edges. Optimized for video, graphics and text quality, The scaling engine operates in-line with the other functional blocks of the chipset such as HDMI encoding/decoding, AES 128-bit encryption, extension (10G streaming), light compression (if and when needed) and only adds 16-lines of latency to the video transmission (or just ~30us of latency at 4K/60Hz). A wide variety of formats including RGB and YUV (444/422/420) are supported along with 8, 10 and 12 bit color depths.
When a source is being transmitted to multiple displays of varying resolutions, the scaling engine in each receiver can automatically upscale or downscale the source to the native resolution of the attached display if and when needed, ensuring that each display receives the source in its optimal image quality. Without this capability, the source would have to be set to the resolution of the lowest resolution display forcing all higher resolutions display to always show a lower quality up-scaled image.
The use of off-the-shelf networking “centric” components for high quality AV signal distribution presents an inherent challenge. “Synchronous” & artifact-free transmission of video is a requirement for most pro-AV applications. Genlocking is also increasingly becoming a requirement for video-wall and tile applications. Such components, designed primarily for networking requirements (which are “asynchronous”) cannot transmit video without requiring a frame-buffer and re-clocking at the receiving end. The use of frame buffers and re-clocking results in a 1-2 frame latency, frame drops, frame repeats, and lack of genlocking, making such systems unsuitable for many ProAV and broadcast applications. Arista’s IP Flash Caster uniquely overcomes this limitation and converts such networking components into “synchronous” AV transmission devices through a unique clock reconstruction mechanism that ensures clock coherency across the entire system. The resulting benefit is zero frame latency, no frame artifacts and built-in genlocking capability, all on off-the-shelf, costeffective networking components.
Pro-AV applications often require the flexibility of supporting many types of input formats e.g. RGB, YUV 4:2:0, YUV 4:2:2. Mismatches between the format being output by the source and the formats supported by the display are common, resulting in interoperability issues. Arista’s IP Flash Caster integrates an in line color space converter which automatically converts between mismatching color spaces between the source and the display. For example content sourced as YUV can be converted to RGB for easy compatibility with DVI displays. Perhaps more importantly, in our 4K world, it means full capabilities for chroma subsampling conversion. For example, content at 4K60 4:4:4 can be downsampled to 4K60 4:2:0 for supporting first-generation 4K60 displays.
Interoperability of resolutions and color-spaces is incomplete without the ability convert frame-rates as mismatches in resolutions and colorspaces are also often accompanied by a mismatch in frame-rates. The Plethora engine includes full arbitrary frame rate conversion, enabling true cross-conversion from any resolution and frame-rate to another. For example, 4K30 can be scaled down to 1080p60. 1080p24 can be scaled up to 4K60. Content sourced at 59.97 Hz can be used along with 60 Hz content without any special considerations. Other AV processing capabilities of Plethora, such as scaling and true seamless switching also benefit from frame-rate convers – a monitor will never have to re-sync during an input switch, regardless of the associated resolution or refresh rate.
Professional AV applications often have audio requirements as complex as their video requirements, and Arista’s IP Flash Caster delivers on all of them.
Arista’s IP Flash Caster not only extends, switches video and audio signals over network, it extends and switches USB 2.0, RS-232 and IR control signals as well Arista’s IP Flash Caster USB extension and switching is transparent USB extension, true plug and play (no software drivers required) and works with all major operating systems such as Windows®, OS X®, and Linux®. RS232 has been established for years now and has been used for control interface for many electronic devices, especially facility automation devices, such as lighting, door lock, ventilation and heating systems and many, many more. These devices can be controlled with simple commands to switch on/off, configure or read out information. Beside USB and RS-232, Arista’s IP Flash Caster provides bi-directional IR routing to enable remote control at transmitter and receiver side. USB, RS-232, IR extension and switching provides total control solution for any application scenario, like broadcasting control, home automation, office automation, facility automation, etc..
Arista’s IP Flash Caster provides multi-source video compositing capabilities to deliver multi-view, picture-in-picture (PIP) and picture and picture capabilities (PAP) within the AV signal distribution system and without the need for any additional equipment. Arista’s IP Flash Caster’s multi-source video compositing capability allows each receiver to combine multiple video sources onto a single display enabling a variety of applications such as multi-viewer, picture-in-picture and picture-and-picture. This multi-source video compositing capability is tightly coupled with the scaling engine which is used to scale the resolution of each source to the target window on the display canvas. This 4K/60 capable compositing capability can tolerate a large number of asynchronous inputs and can render without tearing or other visual artifacts. Multiple presets are available and layouts can be updated in real-time.
Arista’s IP Flash Caster provides video-splitting and bezel correction capabilities to enable full video-wall of any size capabilities without the need for additional equipment. Arista’s IP Flash Caster’s multi-source video compositing capability also allows each receiver to automatically split an incoming video and render only a portion of the image as part of a video wall. Configurable bezel correction support compensates for the thickness of the bezel to virtually hide the pixels needing to be obscured by the display bezel.