Wyrestorm MX0404-QI Matrix review

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posted on Sunday, 10th March 2013 by David Slater

HDMI  Wyrestorm  HDBaseT 

 

The MX0404-QI is a single-wire HDMI distribution solution comprising a 1U matrix and four extender receivers. Utilising the revolutionary HDBaseT standard, it's designed to make short work of the sometime knotty problems posed by HD video networking. As little as five years ago, shunting video around the home was a simple task; you had a single coaxial which would carry all of your Sky channels and even turn over the Sky box remotely from each room, at a cost of around £30 per room. Then along came high definition and it was no longer such an easy job to sort. In the early days, HDMI was flaky to say the least and you were restricted to 25-30m from source to screen. It's taken years to perfect HD distribution, but finally HDBaseT is proving to be a truly bulletproof answer to the problem.

Initially, the one thing that scared installers away from HDBaseT matrixes was their typically high price tags; £3,000 or more to send HD to four screens was a massive price to pay, but thankfully most major manufacturers are now offering cut-down, affordable alternatives. All of which brings us to the Wyrestorm MX0404-QI. This Quick Install pack enables any four HD devices to be viewed independently and simultaneously on any four displays, with full 3D support, over distances of up to 40m. Content control and matrix output can be via IR or RS232.

Wyrestorm MX0404-QI: Description
The first thing you'll notice about the MX0404-QI when you open the box is the usual high quality build we have come to expect from the brand. The matrix is a slimline 440 x 52 x 235mm (w/h/d), and fits into 1U of rack space, while the fours receivers measure just 60 x 115 x 23mm apiece. The supplied instructions are straightforward enough to get anyone up and running in minutes. As you might expect from a budget-orientated system, you do lose some features - you're restricted to a 40m maximum cable length and there's no Ethernet pass-through - but then what do you expect for a trade price of £1,237? The emphasis here is on rapid, headache-free installation - I had a full working system with Control4, four screens and three HD sources, up and running in less than 10 minutes. The whole kit is predicated on plug and play. Included are all power connections, with a different assortment of blades. One significant plus point is you also get very handy USB to power cables that allow you to locate the receiver behind the TV, powered by the USB connection from the screen.

Wyrestorm MX0404-QI: Performance
The system we tested the MX0404-QI with consisted of a Panasonic 55-inch TX-L55WT50B, an adNotam 17-inch waterproof screen and a Philips 21 LED bedroom telly; the source devices were a trusty Apple TV box and Oppo Blu-ray player, with a Control4 GUI driven by an HC-800 controller. All the single CAT 5e runs were under 30m, with source kit having 0.5m QED HDMI cables connecting them to the 4 x 4 matrix. All the switching on this setup was controlled via RS232 from the HC-800.  In all, this proved a very simple installation, as the MX0404-QI has pre-configured drivers which work straight out of the gate.

The MX0404-QI is fully 3D compatible, frame sequential 3D for Blu-ray and interlaced stereoscopic 3D for Sky and cable broadcasts. Each of the four outputs can be cascaded to multiple displays and there's support for all sources up to 1080p. If you are not remote controlling the matrix via a third party system, you can use the four IR 3.5mm jacks and its own remote control, or learn the codes into a learning remote. For this to work simply put the IR transmitter next to receiver, plug  in and IR Pass Through is setup.

HDMI handshaking seems to work very well, after a prolonged period of testing it didn't drop the HD signal once. This might have something to do with the matrix reading and copying the EDID information from the source device. If you do find you are having problems there, further configuration is available via configurable dip switches - an installer's dream scenario.

Wyrestorm MX0404-QI: verdict
Overall, we are highly impressed with the MX0404-QI. It offers everything required to set up a simple HD distribution system, and is powerful enough to be integrated with full blown control systems, and everything is provided in the box, from USB power leads to IR emitters/receivers. We award the Wyrestorm MX0404-QI a 5 star rating for two reasons: the bulletproof build quality and ease of setting up. Time is money, and this slick package only took me 10 minutes to set this up, with zero call backs even after eight months use in the field. So is the advent of HDBaseT really making a difference to the CI business? Yes, massively! The MX04x4-QI is proof of that..

The Wyrestorm MX0404-QI is available now.
Retail price: £1,237 (plus VAT)
For more on Wyrestorm and its product range visit our partner page.
For trade sales visit Habitech partner page and Invision UK

Also read:
Wyrestorm's remarkable HDBaseT amplifier explained
Wyrestorm unveils Enado user control interface

David Slater

David Slater started his writing career with SVI writing a popular column, he has also guested on publications like Home Cinema Choice and
Living North

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