Key Digital Marks 2023 Milestones

by | Audio, Gear, Production, Video, Video Connections

On the cusp of its 25th anniversary, award-winning developer and manufacturer of leading-edge digital video processing and AV signal distribution solutions Key Digital® marked a year of milestone products in 2023.

New and updated products of note include the modest appearing yet remarkably powerful KD-WP8-2 second generation eight-button web-UI-programmable IP control wall plate keypad that fits into a single-gang wall box and is PoE powered. The keypad can control any IP-networked Key Digital device and third-party systems through the Compass Control® Pro protocol, user-friendly Open API support, or the WP8-2’s now integrated IR output and RS-232 port. 2023 also saw the release of the KD-WP8-2 Plugin – the first plug-in resulting from Key Digital joining the Q-SYS Technology Partner Program. The plugin makes Key Digital’s KD-WP8-2 natively compatible with Q-SYS.

“With no-code programming,” says DeWayne Rains, Key Digital VP of Sales, “KD-WP8-2 buttons can be set to choose their function. Streams of commands for source selection and configuration parameter management can be triggered from a single button push to reconfigure entire systems. The KD-WP8-2 is cost-effective, pairs simplicity with sophistication, and now can integrate seamlessly with Q-SYS systems.”

The KD-4KWHCEX HDMI 4K 60Hz wireless extender kit with IR ushered in a new product category for Key Digital when debuted at CEDIA in 2023. “The KD-4KWHCEX provides an effortless solution to HDMI extension in commercial installations and residential settings where running a wire is not possible,” says Rains. “It’s a simple-to-implement and affordable way to get an HDMI connection from here to a hard-to-reach there in presentation spaces, outdoor AV setups, and home theaters, be it temporary or permanent installation.”

The KD-4KWHCEX two-unit extender kit utilizes 5G WiFi technology to transmit through walls and ceilings with minimal range loss and maximum resistance to wireless interference, reliably extending up to 4K HDMI signals at distances up to 100 feet / 30 meters with IR control extension delivered in parallel. Up to four extender sets using four unique channels are possible within the same operating area.

2023 also saw the introduction of Key Digital’s second-generation modular AV over IP systems. “The new KD-IP922-II and KD-IP1022-II encoders and decoders deliver the same performance, reliability and full-featured 4K performance that our customers rely upon with a subtly refined feature set based on customer requests,” says Rains. “Remarkably, prices have been dramatically reduced on the product line based on manufacturing efficiencies and new chipsets.” Integrated with managed gigabit network switches, the systems enable video/audio distribution, matrix switching, video wall management and signal/control/KVM extension. KD-IP1022-II AV over IP systems add mosaic video wall management and asymmetrical KVM routing to the core KD-IP922-II feature set. Key Digital AV over IP systems can be sized to suit any application in locations ranging from large enterprise installations to mid-to-large-sized residential projects.

Expansive control within Key Digital systems and of external devices is available from free software. The iOS Key Digital App was enhanced in 2023 to extend core functionality and its third-party device control capabilities.

“The KD iOS App is often all our end users need to elegantly and, with just a few taps and swipes on an iPad, easily and intuitively control a full AV over IP installation in houses of worship, retail and corporate environments, or bars and clubs,” says Rains. The KD App delivers control of displays and popular devices like Apple TV and cable/satellite tuners via IR, along with finger-drag video wall management and image preview.

“In the USA where Fios and Spectrum cable systems are prevalent,” Key Digital VP of Product Education & Experience Jonathon Ferry elaborates, “KD-App can now directly control the Cisco DTS and Arris VMS cable boxes. Dish network subscribers nationwide can also now control Dish satellite TV control boxes natively from KD-App for channel selection.” Key Digital has also added Samsung Professional and Philips Professional products to the displays that KD App can manage and a new direct numerical keypad for simplified channel switching on source devices.

“Along with being amazed that it’s free, our customers love KD-App’s ability to scan and find connected Key Digital hardware on a shared IP control network and automatically open the corresponding pre-built control pages,” adds Ferry. “This capability makes it easy to configure a new system without programming, and to incorporate new hardware into an existing system.”

Also this year, Key Digital updated its single-gang wall box switcher-extender/transmitter solution with the introduction of the KD-XWPS 4K UHD, power-over-CAT, HDMI/USB-C auto-switching switcher/transmitter plus receiver kit. “Our KD-EXWPSTx single-gang switcher has been hugely popular for situations where a single-gang box is all that’s available in an existing infrastructure,” says Rains. “The KD-XWPS is even more powerful, bundling our enhanced KD-EXWPSTx-2 with our KD-X444SPRx receiver as a packaged kit.” The upgraded KD-EXWPSTx-2 single-gang wall- or desktop-box-mounted switcher/transmitter can extend a 4K/18G signal up to 50 meters / 164 feet, along with relaying IR signals captured to control remotely located displays and other equipment. “A single CAT run is all that’s needed as the switcher/transmitter is PoC powered from the receiver for simple installation, and the IR sensor is now built into the front panel.”

“Key Digital’s new and second-generation products are designed to circumvent pandemic-era supply-chain issues and ship from stock,” says Rains. “Building on its legacy and engineering prowess, Key Digital will continue to expand and evolve its product line in 2024.”

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