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Review: Blackmagic Design Teranex 2D Media Processor

Blackmagic Design's rackmount format converter and Thunderbolt recording/playback interface is a tightly packed workflow genie of (almost) unlimited options.

Several months ago, I set out to review the Teranex 2D, a media processor from Blackmagic Design that offers users myriad inputs and outputs. Turns out the Teranex does more than most sub-$2000 media processors, so it took some doing to assemble all the kit to accurately test the Teranex.

Blackmagic Design calls the Teranex 2D “the world’s leading broadcast standards converter,” noting that it has multiple connection types: analog component and composite, HDMI, SDI, and Thunderbolt for digital signals. We call it a tightly packed workflow genie of (almost) unlimited options.

The company does a good job spelling out the technical specs on its website but we like to review products by inserting them into various real-world workflows to see how they perform.

Overall we’ve been impressed, enough so that we added a few atypical scenarios to see just how far the Teranex could go as a jack-of-all-trades device. Our findings are integrated throughout the following review.

Two For One

At the outset of this review, it’s worth pointing out that the Teranex 2D--called the 2D because it lacks the additional processing of its more expensive 3D sibling--is both a standalone media processor and an integrated capture/playback/monitoring device.

For basic format conversion, the Teranex can be programmed from the front panel or from an included application, then allowed to run without the need of a computer.

For capture, playback, and waveform or scope monitoring, there are additional requirements that the computer--connected via Thunderbolt--will need to meet. Essentially, though, you get a two-for-one product for format conversion and video capture.

Compact but Loaded

One of our test team members commented on just how many physical connectors pepper the back of the 1.75” high Teranex (Figure 1, below), saying that he felt like it was just like having his DeckLink HD Extreme 3D in a 1 RU rackmount configuration. He’s right because the Teranex 2D has all the same connectors--and then some--of the dual PCI-Express DeckLink cards.

Figure 1. The array of physical connectors on the back of the Teranex 2D. (Click the image to see it at full size.)

The Teranex’s 1 RU form factor is complemented by a rather shallow overall depth, measuring just at six inches when the front knob and rear BNC connectors are factored in.

Based on this compact design, the real-world depth of a Teranex unit within a rack measures just under 10 inches, even when taking into account the large DB-25 connector for multichannel audio cable I/O and the bend radius required for the snake attached to the DB-25 connector. This means that the Teranex easily fits within the short-depth 14-inch-deep AV racks used in studios and even some broadcast trucks.

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