Starting July 1, 2017, we retired the MX3-1 and replaced it with the MX5-1. The MX5-1 has several enhancements over the MX3-1.

It is shorter so that it will fit on a 1U rack shelf. The older unit required a 2U shelf height. Two MX5-1’s will fit on a single shelf.

Many modern TVs do not have an analog out—those red and white RCA connectors we have seen for years. Instead, they have an optical output called TOSLINK. The MX5-1 allows one to grab the audio output directly from the TOSLINK connector on the TV without having to purchase an adaptor. The software to make that input active is not yet out of beta test, but when it is, it will be field upgradeable via an Internet download and available at no extra charge to all MX5-1 owners. It will take in 48 kHz or 44.1 kHz PCM or S/PDIF inputs. One can select either the TOSLINK or red and white analog inputs, but not both. Note that this TOSLINK input does not handle Dolby or other proprietary formats—you will still need a converter for those. LG TVs, famously, do not have a PCM output.

The power supply now has a micro-USB connector instead of the barrel connector. This should eliminate the problem that sometimes occurs when people connect a 12 V power supply to the Server and blow up the processor. Or, as we say, “let the magic smoke out.” The maximum current draw is 750 mA. This is convenient because many TVs have USB outputs that can power this so in this case there would be no need for a power supply that plugs into the wall.

The USB connector will be used for a variety of new features to be released this summer. Stay tuned.

Like the MX3-1, the MX5-1 also comes in a “plus” model. The plus model has a faster processor and while the MX5-1 can handle 150 clients, the MX5-1-plus can handle 500. Note that for even larger requirements, multiple “pluses” can be combined with an Ethernet switch for higher capacity. The MX2, MX3 and MX5 systems all interoperate.