Since a lot of people here seem confused, perhaps I should shed
some light on the situation. The toaster in question is manufactured by NewTek and the current
version is VT4. Within the next few months VT5 will be released promising a fairly decent feature set.
My Highschool had a VT4 system
with the SX8 breakout box which gave us many inputs to chose from. We ran composite from the cameras along a coax
cable and into the SX8. VCRs were handled by S-Video
and our DVD player connected via Component. The downsides I see to the SX8 are the fact that if you don't have all professional equipment, you need a large number of RCA
adaptors to accommodate "prosumer" gear.
I never had any issues with picture quality, I thought the toaster images always looked beautiful and watching the DVD via component just floored me. The audio from the toaster was also quite good, however I feel the routing and mixing of audio on the toaster leaves some to be desired. You also have to remember that video running through the toaster has something like a 30 ms delay, so you must at least run your master audio through the toaster to time it to the video so you don't get what i suppose you could call
"the godzilla effect
All in all VT4 is very powerful and extremely affordable. The features one gets from using the system
far outweigh the price you pay for it, however you have to remember that its still a piece of software running on a computer. Being a piece of software, VT4 can crash and freeze especially if it is not running on a solid PC. I've had VT4 lockup on me on a few not so opportune occasions, so I suggest that you be careful with how many effects and whatnot you have loaded all at the same time. Granted I never ran VT4 on a custom built system
for it, so perhaps my issues came from some incompatibility we had with our high power
HP machine. If you have a turnkey solution at your work I don't think you will have too much trouble.
I don't claim to be a video toaster expert, and I never did finish reading the 500 page manual
that comes with VT4, but I'm happy to offer a hand
to anybody interested in learning more or trying to understand some of the features the video toaster program offers.