3 Gbps Routing: A lot of Marketing Hype
1.5 Gbps is More Than Adequate for 1080i and 720p, but Manufacturers Are Pushing Higher Data Rates
The companies that manufacture large matrix routers-including Grass Valley, Harris (Leitch), Probel, Utah Scientific-all privately agree that it’s really a lot of marketing hype designed to attract attention away from competitors. That’s because no production equipment, cameras, switchers, or servers can currently handle the larger bandwidth. And there’s currently no way to transmit 1080p/60 content into consumers’ homes, even though 1080p native HDTVs are being sold in retail stores.
In fact, several of the router frames currently being sold are now capable of handling the larger signals. You just need to swap out the required signal processing circuit boards to accommodate 3 Gbps operation. Grass Valley’s Trinix and Utah Scientific’s 400 series routers have been 3 Gbps capable since day one (about four years ago).
Perhaps five years from now we’ll see some real-world movement in this direction, as the HD ante is increased ever higher in terms of picture quality, but certainly not any time soon. Customers considering new routers should research this and make sure the new frame you are buying is flexible enough to handle both audio and video and is easily upgradeable. Looking around the NAB exhibit floor, that shouldn’t be hard to find.