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Video Switcher Project Help

Discussion in 'Multimedia, Projection, and Show Control' started by rwhealey, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. rwhealey

    rwhealey Active Member

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    Occupation:
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    I'm currently working on ripping out our poorly designed and installed video information system. It was designed around the year 2000 and integrated with the school's video network, which was "upgraded" last year to an internet based distribution system. That upgrade removed the only capabilities that we cared about in relation to the school, so we'd like to get a new system that's separate from the school's IT department.

    We currently have one of these:
    [​IMG]
    I have absolutely no idea what it is (no model numbers anywhere), how it works (no manuals), or how much it is worth (we have no purchase documentation).

    What we need is some kind of matrix switcher for video only. Here's what we want in terms of IO. More displays (in the lobby, etc...) will probably be added in the future:
    [​IMG]
    *ERROR IN IMAGE* The projector's resolution is actually 1920x1200

    The projector is a ProjectionDesign F30. That means we want a switcher that can handle high resolutions, is easy to use, and cheap. We don't need anything fancy - the audience will never see any switches happen.

    I want to use cat5 for all the cable runs because it's cheap and allows for greater upgradability. With that in mind, where should I be looking at switchers and cat5 converters?

    The Extron MTPX 1616 seems to be what I have in mind, but I have no idea about the price and I'm not sure about the maximum resolution. Has anyone used one? How simple is the interface?
     
  2. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    The unit you have appears to be a Safari media retrieval system, something that was popular in the 70's and 80's as a way to have a central media library that could be accessed and viewed by multiple remote destinations. In many cases they have been replaced by central media servers and network retrieval. I believe that this, SAFARIMontage.com, is the latest iteration of the company. I doubt that it has much value other than maybe to someone else with one of their systems that wants it for spare or replacement parts.

    I am not sure that there currently is a single device that does what you really want, at least not with the number of inputs and outputs desired. Keep in mind that CAT5 or UTP is simply a wiring scheme and not a signal type, so even if you use a CAT5 based router you still have to consider the actual signals being routed and you have mixed signal types on both inputs and outputs. For example, you have VGA as an output for the projector, that can work with just switching as long as you only try to route the stage or booth VGA inputs to it but if you try to route any other inputs then they need to be scaled to the VGA output. The same sort of thing applies to other source and destination combinations, for example the booth monitor output would need to have any component or S-Video inputs transcoded and any VGA inputs scan converted, otherwise it is limited to viewing the stage or booth aux inputs.
     
  3. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

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    I highly doubt you'd be able to find anything "cheap" that would be able to send any of those inputs to any of the outputs, especially with the high resolution projector. Most devices that switch high resolution (VGA) signals won't scale them back down on their outputs. One of our installations has an extron 8x4 VGA matrix. Composite and Y/C signals are scaled up by little extron scan converters to 1024x768 for output to projectors. In your case you would have to scale the video back down to get it out to your s-video devices. These days you might be better off replacing your smaller monitors that now only accept s-video with cheap LCD computer monitors that would accept a signal on d-sub (vga). Probably cheaper in the long run than buying a number of scan converters to scale down outputs from the matrix switch you would presumably buy.
     
  4. rwhealey

    rwhealey Active Member

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    Ah, that makes sense. I was thinking the Extron switcher was something that it wasn't -- a scaler/converter as well as a switcher.

    However, if it is capable of having any input be any type but only switching to outputs of that type, that would work for us in the short term but still allow for further upgrades. Currently, we don't need to route any high-definition sources to low-definition sources, but that'll change as we switch our TV monitors over to high resolution models.

    Edit:
    As far as the Safari thing, the school has used Safari video networks for a while. They just switched to Safari Montage, an internet-based distribution system. It doesn't work, but it doesn't work less than the old analog system. I just can't find any information about that unit. The Safari website seems to only cover products made after a merger a few years ago.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
  5. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    yey! Vision!
    Get an Edirol V8. 8 Channels and tons of different types of inputs, they have 8 Svid or RCA inputs (its a bit of a mix up) and two VGA inputs. This may be a bit hard to explain, there is more than 8 plugs but only 8 can be used at one time..... So you plug all of your S-VID / RCA stuff plugged in to 1-7 and then your two VGA's into the two VGA inputs. Its that simple. There is a switch at the top to change between VGA input 1 & 2, so you can't crossfade between them, its all explained in the video's on the site. I can really recomend these, I use it's little brother the v-4 all the time. And quite frankly I would cry if somthing happened to it. I love this thing. Here is the link.
    V-8 Eight Channel Video Mixer with Effects
    oh and the catch is you would have to give up one of your listed inputs, but no biggie. Its worth it, switchers are kinda annoying, this retails at about $2000 AUS, so the price may be waaaay different wherever you are, good luck,
    Nick
     
  6. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    The problem with the Edirol is that it is a production switcher, not a matrix switcher, so to use it in this application you would apparently need 9 DA's, one per source, and 8 switchers, one per destination, along with all the related cabling in order for it to work. So while a good choice for some applications, probably not a real practical solution for this particular application.
     
  7. tyler.martin

    tyler.martin Active Member

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    I recently came across a switcher at a install that I was doing that was capable of handling RGBHV, S video, and Composite. I cannot for the life of me remember what brand or make it was... Sorry... If you were handling strictly VGA output you could look at something like a Folsom Presentation Pro. They are older, Im not sure if Barco still makes them, but they can handle almost all resolutions, and scale up or scale down to match the output resolution.
     
  8. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    There are plenty of switchers that can handle all of these sources, almsot 20 years ago I was using switchers with 'universal' inputs that were dip switched assigned as composite, Y/C or RGBHV, but those devices simply assigned the input to the appropriate bus, they did not do any signal or format conversion. The problem is finding a matrix switcher than can route any of the potential input formats to any one or more of the required output formats. The Extron ISM 824 (Extron Modular & Expandable Matrix Switchers - ISM 824) is about the closest thing I have seen but it is limited in size and not inexpensive.

    Most switcher/scalers or seamless switchers handle multiple input formats and several have 'universal' inputs where each input can be configured as one of multiple formats. FWIW, the Folsom Research products are still offered by Barco and many of the same products are also offered by FSR (FSR - When Performance Counts!) as they were co-developed by Folsom and FSR.
     

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