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What is Multimedia distribution?

What is Multimedia distribution

Extend up to 300m

Multimedia distribution products allow you to send Video, Audio and sometimes serial data (RS-232 or USB) over distances of hundreds of meters to one or more locations. They generally utilise standard CatX infrastructure cable and can offer extensions to distances of up to 300m.

VGA based Multimedia distribution products are similar in many ways to KVM extenders. They extend the output from a computer to a VGA monitor or projector located at a distance. The main differences are that they do not transmit keyboard and mouse data and that they often split the video and audio feeds for point to multi-point distribution applications while KVM extenders are generally point to point products.

VGA based Multimedia extension

Because VGA based Multimedia extension products use very similar video extension technology to CatX KVM extenders, many of the same technical recommendations apply. For example, when using Cat5e or Cat6 cable you may need a product that compensates for skew/colour drift, and you should always use solid core cable, and shielded cable if recommended in the product specifications. You can find more information about these recommendations in our Black Box Explains Video over Cat5 Cable.

Ideal for use

These products are ideal for use in many digital signage applications and for interactive displays such as information counters and booths. The serial data component can be used to provide touch screen support and the high quality graphics and audio are perfect for the delivery of clear, high impact information and advertising.

  • Video based Multimedia distribution products send Video and Audio to TV type displays rather than computer monitors. The simplest distribution products of this type use video and audio baluns and hubs. These convert composite video, CCTV or component video from devices like VCRs, CCTV cameras and satellite receivers to Cat5 for transmission over long distances (more than 700 meters in some cases). There are even baluns available that will send Video, Audio and IR remote control data and these are ideal for small office or home cinema solutions.
  • Distribution amplifiers and video switches are available for larger installations. Using these products it is possible build video networks with very large numbers of displays.

Popular applications:

  • Schools: These products have many applications in schools for the delivery of time table information, educational content and even video and music at break times.
  • Retail: There is huge potential for the use of digital signage as a means of delivering high impact advertising to customers in the store. Multimedia extenders are a low cost, plug and play solution for small to medium sized applications. They are also ideal for providing the last hop connectivity between play out equipment and displays in larger IP based solutions.
  • Interactive displays: Often the computers driving the interactive displays (e.g. touch screens) found in some waiting rooms, reception areas, town halls and shopping centres can not be placed near to the display for security and maintenance reasons. A Multimedia extender allows the computer to be placed in secure location at a convenient distance from the display.
  • Industrial Monitoring: A computer collecting industrial data or monitoring industrial processes may be located in an area uncomfortable or hazardous to people. Multimedia extenders can be used to view these devices from a safe and comfortable distance.
  • Corporate: The live broadcast of news and events in reception areas, canteens and lobbies in corporate buildings is becoming increasingly popular.

Whatever your application our engineers will be able to advise you on the best solution to fit your requirements.