University of Oxford Uses Extron XTP, Annotation, and Streaming for High Impact AV Presentations

As the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second oldest surviving university, the University of Oxford in England has a notable history. The university is recognized for its leading instruction and research, including in the field of mathematics. As part of its largest development project to date, the university built the 20,000 square meter Andrew Wiles Building, which is the new home of the Mathematical Institute. The main goal of the project was to bring the faculty and students of the mathematical department together into a central facility. Mathematical elements are well represented throughout the building’s design, including elaborate Penrose tiling at the main entrance and two light well coverings in the atria that are designed around a unique graph and surface plot solution to a mathematical function. To enhance the instruction and learning experience at the Mathematical Institute, the University of Oxford sought to install AV presentation systems with versatile capabilities in three main lecture theatres and six, 20- to 60-seat, seminar teaching spaces, as well as numerous meeting rooms.

The powerful AV capabilities enable us to accomplish things we had not imagined.

Dr. Waldemar Schlackow, Head of IT - University of Oxford

The university wanted the ability to share high resolution video presentations between the multimedia lecture theatres in the Andrew Wiles Building to allow for participant overflow. AV streaming capabilities are also important so that remote participants can view the presentations in real-time over the network. Additionally, the AV systems of the three lecture theatres needed to have multiple points of control at a lectern or from a technician room. For seminar rooms, it was essential that the AV systems include flexible AV switching between guest devices and resident sources, as well as intuitive system control. Integrator GV Multi-media provided these key capabilities with AV systems developed around Extron XTP Systems®, streaming media encoders, annotation processors, audio digital signal processors, audio power amplifiers, and TouchLink®-based control systems.

Effective Presentations Using Integrated XTP Distribution, Annotation, and Streaming

The three lecture theatres include highly flexible AV routing and distribution with Extron XTP Systems, which allows users to overflow content to the other theatres should the need arise to accommodate a larger audience. Presenters typically use a document camera, a guest laptop, video cameras, and one of the Linux® and Windows® based resident PCs as sources. Video feeds from any of the three lecture theatres can also serve as a source, and content is displayed using two projectors. An XTP System dedicated to each lecture theatre consists of an XTP CrossPoint® 1600 modular 16x16 matrix switcher in the technician room and several XTP transmitters and receivers in the lecture theatres. Each XTP endpoint connects to the XTP matrix switcher using one twisted pair cable to carry audio and high resolution video, streamlining the installation. The matrix switcher can also send RS-232 signals from the control system to the receivers over this cable, for controlling display devices.

GV Multi-media selected Extron DVS 304 DVI and DSC 301 HD scalers to convert composite video signals from the room cameras and also to optimize video signals from a guest laptop, for routing through the matrix switcher. The lecture theatres are also equipped with Extron Annotator units to provide presenters with the ability to annotate on any selected input source from the XTP CrossPoint 1600. Using the Annotator and a connected touch display, presenters can make notations to electronic presentation material. Several available on-screen annotation tools make it easy to illustrate ideas and visually emphasize key details. Presenters also have the option to preview annotations before making them live via the main output for the audience.

The large and mid-sized lecture theatres include an AV streaming system featuring the Extron SME 100 HD Streaming Media Encoder. This system enables AV presentations held in the lecture theatres to be streamed to the network for viewing by additional students and faculty. Both of these rooms also include an Extron DVS 605 A scaler with seamless switching, which adds picture-in-picture capabilities for a combination of AV sources. "The powerful AV capabilities enable us to accomplish things we had not imagined," says Dr. Waldemar Schlackow, Head of IT at University of Oxford. "As a result, these robust systems are in high demand and used quite frequently, especially for prominent events."

AV Flexibility with IN1606 in Seminar Rooms

GV Multi-media chose the Extron IN1606 scaling presentation switcher to manage video signals in the small seminar rooms. The IN1606 provides fast and reliable switching between the room’s sources, which include two PCs running either Linux or Windows, a document camera, and a guest laptop. It also scales the incoming video signals to a resolution that is optimized for the projector. Large seminar rooms use an Extron DXP HDMI Series 8x4 matrix switcher for video switching and distribution to dual projectors. Additionally, instructors are able to use one set of peripherals between both PCs. GV Multi-media connected the keyboard and mouse to an Extron SW USB Series switcher, which enables switching between multiple USB peripherals and host devices.

High Performance Audio Systems

Audio systems in the lecture theatres and seminar rooms accommodate speech as well as program audio. In each lecture theatre, GV Multi-media installed two Extron DMP 128 C audio digital signal processors that are linked together via an audio expansion port for expanded input and output signal management and routing capabilities. The DMP 128 C units provide a range of important audio functions including processing for microphone and program audio signals, automixing, routing, room equalization, and AEC - acoustic echo cancellation which prevents echo during conferences. By linking the two processors together, GV Multi-media is able to use the eight channels of AEC on one unit plus another set of AEC channels on the second unit to accommodate the room’s 12 mic/line sources.

The lecture theatres also include HAE 100 units to facilitate integration of HDMI audio from the XTP matrix switcher into the AV streaming system and the sound reinforcement system. Additionally, the integrator chose an Extron SSP 7.1 surround sound processor to decode audio from the HAE 100 and DMP 128 C units into the Dolby® Pro Logic format for a 5.1 surround sound system.

For the larger seminar rooms, the integrator installed an Extron MPS 112 media presentation switcher in conjunction with the DXP 84 HDMI to manage program audio source signals. The switcher’s audio output is sent to the audio system’s DMP 64 audio digital signal processor. DMP 64 units in the large spaces and Extron DMP 44 audio digital signal processors in the smaller rooms provide essential audio mixing and processing capabilities. To amplify processed audio content, GV Multi-media selected Extron XPA 1002 two-channel audio power amplifiers, which deliver 100 watts per channel for a pair of speakers at the front of the room. Large seminar rooms also include an Extron XPA 2001-100V mono, 100 volt audio power amplifier that provides 200 watts power output for an additional pair of overhead speakers. These amplifiers are ENERGY STAR® qualified and their compact size saves valuable space in an equipment rack.

Convenient TouchLink System Control

TouchLink-based control systems provide instructors and technicians with convenient AV system control from an intuitive GUI interface. Lecture theatres each include a lectern-mounted Extron TLP 1000MV 10" TouchLink touchpanel, and a rack-mounted IPCP 505 IP Link® control processor in the technician room. The control interfaces are mirrored on three TLP 1000TV 10" tabletop TouchLink touchpanels in the adjoining technician room. With this control system setup, instructors have in-room controls at hand, while a technician also has the ability to remotely operate the equipment and assist instructors during their presentations if needed. The technician room also includes a TLP 700TV 7" tabletop TouchLink touchpanel to control the local AV equipment.

The TouchLink touchpanels provide intuitive controls for a variety of functions including source selection, annotation functions, display selection, volume adjustment, and lighting control preset selection. To provide simplified AV system operation in the seminar rooms, GV Multi-media chose Extron TLP 710MV 7" TouchLink touchpanels mounted on the lecterns, in conjunction with IPCP 505 control processors.


For the University of Oxford, the use of Extron AV equipment throughout the Andrew Wiles Building meets the university’s need for high quality presentations, performance, and cost effectiveness. The flexibility and extensive AV capabilities that these systems provide make it easier for presenters to deliver valuable instruction and effective AV presentations across a wider audience. "We are happy with the Extron AV systems overall," says Dr. Waldemar Schlackow, Head of IT at University of Oxford. "It was certainly the right choice for us in terms of functionality and ease of use for presenters."

XTP CrossPoint matrix switchers located in the technician room offer total flexibility in AV switching and distribution, particularly during presentation overflow across the three lecture theatres. Photo provided with permission from Oxford University

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