In 1994, Circuit Cellar’s founder, Steve Ciarcia, asked: “What good is having ultimate control over your virtual audio/video environment if you have to get out of your chair to change the setup?” Great question. His answer was even better: “Outfit your home theater in style by adding an RF interface to the AVMux.”
In Circuit Cellar 46, Steve writes:
Using a couple of new chips from Maxim and Analog Devices, the AVMux facilitates effortless switching of up to eight video channels and up to eight sets of stereo audio channel pairs. Using the AVMux, I can effortlessly attach and reconfigure the connections between multiple VCRs, CD players, a Pro Logic decoder, a laserdisc player, and various other audio/video sources to the same set of amplifiers or in any number of different electronic combinations.
With the possible exception of the actual wiring chore itself, the basic multiplexer and control unit is quite straightforward and easily constructed. Unfortunately, solving the basic switching problems only served to create further design necessities. Let me explain.
The primary problem with commercial multiplexers (when they used to be available) is that they are housed in a box much like traditional stereo equipment with all the input/output jacks on the back. Such shortsightedness on their part also requires taking a chainsaw to your expensive CWD oak stereo cabinets to widen the minuscule wire access holes to actually route all these wires.
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Steve Ciarcia’s career is like a living history of both the computer and electronics industries rolled into
one. Throughout his life, Steve engaged hands-on, processor-based projects of all kinds, straight through
the very early days of computing. Steve penned a long-running, popular column called “Circuit Cellar” in
BYTE magazine, the premier technology magazine of its day. Steve took that name with him when he
later went on to found Circuit Cellar magazine in 1988. An engineer and a hands-on “techie” his entire
career, Steve worked for several technology companies, including Control Data, and founded Micromint