“Get it done right the first time and it’ll pay off in the long run.” How many times have you heard this advice? Have you committed to it in your AV installations? What tools will actually help you get it done right the first time?
With HDBaseT, getting the installation right the first time is critical; thorough testing will save commercial and residential AV installers money, effort and — most importantly — time. Not having to return to the scene of the installation until the next upgrade is the goal. Unfortunately, for integrators, that’s not always the reality; calls in the days and weeks after a job are rarely positive, often meaning follow-up visits to troubleshoot the problem.
So if you want to do everything possible to avoid unnecessary follow-up visits, take our advice. One of the things you should do is add field testers to your kit. And if you’re working with HDBaseT, a critical tester to have is the MS-TestPro by MSolutions — an award-winning solution for testing of HDBaseT systems and cabling. The MS-TestPro is an essential toolkit item for any AV integrator or technician who wants a fast and clean installation, robust screening for stable connectivity architecture and a method for simple and reliable monitoring throughout the HDBaseT life cycle.
How Does It Work?
The MS-TestPro is a portable, handheld device. Included with the tester unit is a transmitter module and a receiver module. With these three parts working in harmony, the MS-TestPro can run reports that reveal, in mere seconds, which parts of the system are not functioning correctly.
“Our tester gives you superpowers,” Eliran Toren, CEO and cofounder of MSolutions, says. Think of it like X-ray vision — the tester provides installers a window into their systems from wherever they are in the field. Toren adds, “Once they use the tester before finishing up the installation, they will not have to come back again because of infrastructure issues …. We’ve saved companies 30-40% in total installation time; when you translate that to dollars, that’s a lot of money.”
Here’s an example: You’ve installed your HDBaseT system with 4K capabilities, and when you turn on the display to test it, the picture looks good. But without proper link certification, a smooth operation may be only temporary; there’s no way of knowing that a problem could occur. Perhaps you leave, thinking your work is done, but a couple hours later, the user turns on the AC or the lights and the picture drops. You receive a call and you’re on your way back to the installation site to troubleshoot the issue.
Had the integrator had the MS-TestPro, he or she could have:
- Tested the HDBaseT link, verifying up-front that all wires were correctly installed.
- Generated a 4K certification test, ensuring a 4K transmission was compatible.
- Tested the HDMI cable by running a compatibility test and a sweep test (which scans 19 wires inside the HDMI cable), ensuring cables were able to support the user’s desired resolution.
These assurances would eliminate the need for a return visit — leaving the customer happy until the next upgrade.
Why Do You Need an HDBaseT or HDMI Tester?
Faulty HDBaseT setups or bad HDMI cables could mean a few things for the integrator: cables could have been damaged during the installation process; connectors have gone bad; wires are not properly shielded; pins on the connector might be shorted; different HDBaseT equipment could have interoperability issues; or bandwidth required to support the desired output (video, audio, data) is not appropriate. Testing has never been so critical, especially with the end user’s increased dependency on signal bandwidth and speed. Add in a broader range of technologies integrating 4K and quality becomes even more challenging, with more sensitive links to nurture.
The good news is the MS-TestPro was built with these challenges in mind. In addition to accounting for 4K, the MS-TestPro is the only tester in the world capable of validating the retransmission capabilities that are inherent to HDBaseT Spec. 2.0 systems. And what about when HDBaseT Spec 3.0 (uncompressed 4K/60/4:4:4) becomes more widespread, with even higher bandwidth standards to account for? MSolutions is already ahead of you. Toren shares, “We’re already inside the design of HDBaseT 3.0, where the current MS-TestPro you have would be compatible.”
More than Just HDBaseT
Though it’s called an HDBaseT tester, the MS-TestPro also tests the DC resistance, as well as the HDMI cable. In 2020, a simple upgrade will also allow for IP testing. You may be wondering, “Does this mean I have to buy a new tester unit every time there’s an upgrade?” Nope. The tester unit is fully future-proof. Changes in the AV ecosystem do not mean buying a new tester unit for every upgrade — only add-on modules based on the customer’s unique needs. The MS-TestPro isn’t just testing equipment: It’s an entire solution.
Outside the tester’s key basic analysis, performance and configuration functions, featured tools include:
- HDMI Pattern Generators
- EDID Analyzers
- 24-Hour Log Reports
- Certification Reports
- HDBaseT Third-Party FW Upgrades
- HDMI Compatibility Tests
- HDMI Sweep Tests
- DC Resistance Testing
There are two MS-TestPro models currently available. The MS-TestPro 104 (MS104B) — the battery-powered version of the product — sells for $2,195. The 103 version (MD103TDs) — same as the MS104B, also a Wi-Fi client model with a 3.5” touch screen and built-in HDMI pattern generator but with local power only — sells for $1,695.