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Eli Mavros
MXO questions
on Nov 17, 2009 at 9:01:07 pm

Hello,

I'm trying to help some friends come up with a cheap video monitoring solution. I've been looking at the Matrox MXO and MXO2. What I can't understand is why the MXO2 does not include the ability to monitor video on a computer monitor, like its predecessor. I understand from the POV of Matrox, that maybe people will buy both...but I think they would sell many more of these things if they combined the two.

That being said, lets say I went with the MXO2, but was only planning on hooking the system up to a consumer HD monitor and calibrating it with the included Matrox calibration software. I know there is a difference between going from your computer into a Matrox and from the Matrox HDMI to the monitor Vs. just hooking up the same monitor to the computer via a DVI to HDMI convertor, but I don't fully understand why. It has something to do with converting the color space, is that right?

As for the MXO/computer screen monitoring, do people really think this is a viable option for monitoring for broadcast? What would be better, using the MXO with a computer screen for monitoring or using the MXO2 with a consumer HD television thru HDMI? I know that neither is "ideal", but lets say you had the choice between these two options, and not the choice to monitor via a capture card and professional broadcast monitor.

I'm also a little apprehensive about going the Matrox root, since almost every studio I work with uses either Aja or BMD products...would hate to be the odd man out.

Thanks in advance,
Eli

Eli Mavros


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Shane Ross
Re: MXO questions
on Nov 17, 2009 at 9:56:50 pm

[Eli Mavros] "What I can't understand is why the MXO2 does not include the ability to monitor video on a computer monitor, like its predecessor."

Two different product with two different purposes.

[Eli Mavros] "I know there is a difference between going from your computer into a Matrox and from the Matrox HDMI to the monitor Vs. just hooking up the same monitor to the computer via a DVI to HDMI convertor, but I don't fully understand why. It has something to do with converting the color space, is that right? "

The MXO2 allows you to calibrate the monitor properly to color bars. And it sends out a video signal, YUV, whereas DVI sends out an RGB computer signal. HDTVs don't have built in controls to calibrate properly to bars, so having the device with the proper tools is a huge plus.

[Eli Mavros] "As for the MXO/computer screen monitoring, do people really think this is a viable option for monitoring for broadcast?"

Given a very limited budget, yes. Even though the computer screen only displays 6-bit and not even 8 bit, in a pinch it works great. Much superior to Digital Cinema Display, and you can get the colors to match well. So if your budget is low, and you already have a computer monitor, then this is a fine option. BUT, the MXO2 line, even the MXO2 LE and Mini, going to an HDTV might actually be CHEAPER, and it is a better option than computer monitor.

[Eli Mavros] "What would be better, using the MXO with a computer screen for monitoring or using the MXO2 with a consumer HD television thru HDMI?"

MXO2 and HDTV. HDTVs are 8-bit, computer monitors 6-bit. Plus you have the added ability to CAPTURE footage, and upconvert and cross convert. The MXO is output only.

[Eli Mavros] "I'm also a little apprehensive about going the Matrox root, since almost every studio I work with uses either Aja or BMD products...would hate to be the odd man out. "

Well, I'm an odd man out as my workplace has all KONA products, that are excellent...I have the MXO2 which is also excellent. I can capture footage on either and use it on the other one, no problem. But at work we have the Kona 3, so when I need to upconvert betaSP tapes, I use the MXO2...it has analog ins and the Kona 3 doesn't. Although there is the Kona LHi too. But then I use my MXO2 on my laptop AND my Tower...can't do that with a Kona. You can with the IOHD, but then you can't use that with COLOR for HD.

ALL tradeoffs. You have a lot of options, go with what you want to and what makes you comfortable. The MXO2 and LHi are the same price... Just go with the options you need.

Shane



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Andy Mees
Re: MXO questions
on Nov 18, 2009 at 12:18:23 pm

[Shane Ross] "HDTVs are 8-bit, computer monitors 6-bit."

Hey Shane, ya know the Apple Cinema Displays may be 6 bit panels but that does not mean that all computer displays are limited to 6 bit, the MXO will happily display 8 bit color on an 8 bit or better computer display panel. Similarly, some HDTV's may only have 8 bit panels but by no means all of them and the MXO2 will happily display 10 bit color on a 10 bit HDTV panel if you've got one.

[Eli Mavros] "What I can't understand is why the MXO2 does not include the ability to monitor video on a computer monitor, like its predecessor."

The MXO interrupts the regular DVI out, does its thing, and passed it on ... so it was probably relatively simple and rather obvious to give the box scan conversion capabilities. The MXO2 is a more traditional I/O box and not designed for computer display output. That said, I wouldn't be overly surprised if Matrox did add back in some kind of extended desktop support to the MXO2 at some later stage but I'd imagine theres a long list of other things they'd like to do as well at some point so it all becomes a matter of priorities.


If you're using a tower then check out your low budget I/O options from Blackmagic Design too ... they always had what they called a "Video Desktop" option in their driver settings that basically did the same thing if this is a deal breaker for you.

Best
Andy


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