Black Box launches Emerald Unified KVM platform, supports hybrid IP environments with mixed network connections, resolutions including UHD/4K

April 10, 2018
The company claims Emerald is the first KVM platform to support DisplayPort 1.2 4K video at 60 Hz and 10-bit color depth over standard IP network switches and connections, "enabling pixel-perfect 4K image transmission with mathematically lossless compression."

Black Box, a provider of keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) connectivity and signal distribution systems, has introduced its Emerald Unified KVM platform, billed as "the first converged KVM solution for distributing high-quality video, audio, and peripheral signals throughout expanding hybrid environments that include both IP and proprietary direct-connect networks, mixed resolutions up to and beyond UHD/4K, and any number and combination of physical and virtual desktops and servers."

“As media enterprises continue to migrate from SDI-based signal distribution to all-IP operations, they’re looking to leverage IP’s virtually unlimited scalability and cost savings through the use of commodity, low-cost hardware," notes Josh Whitney, Senior Vice President - Technology Product Solutions business at Black Box. "At the same time, virtualization offers even greater potential for reducing IT operational overhead and hardware expenses, and also for building resiliency into the network. A critical requirement of IP operations is a centralized connectivity platform that can handle the complexities of today’s media environments, including 4K video distribution and support for virtualization. As the first KVM platform to support both IP and direct connections, the Emerald Platform gives enterprises the ability to deploy both IP and proprietary KVM networks from all Emerald units. Customers can scale up as their operation expands, simply by adding endpoints. In this manner, Emerald provides seamless connectivity in a direct-connect SDI environment today, while paving a smooth and easy upgrade path to IP.”

The company claims Emerald is the first KVM platform to support DisplayPort 1.2 4K video at 60 Hz and 10-bit color depth over standard IP network switches and connections, "enabling pixel-perfect 4K image transmission with mathematically lossless compression." But because Emerald is a true hybrid KVM solution, operations still working primarily in HD can add 4K at their own pace and transition individual user groups as the need arises. Black Box says the Emerald platform is also the first KVM solution to provide full support for virtualized environments – enabling connectivity for any combination of physical and virtual servers within a single KVM network and giving operators a smooth and easy migration path to virtualization. The Emerald KVM platform offers virtual machine support for VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix using RDP, RemoteFX and PCoIP.

With the Emerald KVM platform, operations can scale infinitely and gradually across buildings, campuses, and wide area networks, using the existing network infrastructure and switching between sources at speeds of less than a second (IP) and even faster in a direct connect matrix. Regardless of where users reside, their experience is exactly as if their keyboard, monitor, and mouse are connected directly to the CPU they’re accessing. The Emerald KVM platform’s true USB emulation means that users can connect external hard drives, Wacom tablets, and virtually any other high-speed USB 2.0 device to the KVM network.

According to Black Box, "Even with unlimited scalability, Emerald KVM helps the IT staff maintain a safe, clean, and secure environment. To ensure reliability and avoid costly network downtime, the network can be configured with redundant paths and server endpoints for fail-safe backup. Emerald was designed with 24/7/365 critical applications in mind, providing for network resilience at every level, all the way up to complete switchover from one control room to a backup control room location."

Whitney concludes, “Broadcasting and media enterprises, including post and live production, are clear beneficiaries of the Emerald KVM platform. But this innovative and future-proof technology will forever change the way KVM technology can be implemented and utilized across many different application areas, such as medical imaging, industrial automation and command and control rooms. With Emerald as a true migration platform, Black Box has taken a large step forward towards helping its customers prepare for the future — offering connectivity solutions for the Intelligent Digital Edge.”

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