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Video Switchers

Video Switchers are used when your display (projectors, PC monitors or TV) has less inputs than the number of devices youn plan to use.    

Most consumers can use their A/V Receiver to handle the task of switching video devices, but changes in resolution (4K) and content protection (HDCP) standards change around your equipment. 

Matrix Switchers

Matrix switchers are designed to double as distributors but with the added function of individual control for the multiple input/output.  Matrix switching is available in both analog and digital flavors, click here for more information. 

Common Features and Options

Switchers can be the ideal solution when automation is integrated into your entertainment system.  There are several control system interfaces as listed below.   Companion audio switching is another popular feature for learning remote use.  Below are list of features to look for in your choice of switchers.  

Auto-Switching - Auto-sensing switches poll for active signal which triggers the switching function.  To optimize how this works, a priority sequence is also used to allow two devices to be powered up in a controlled manner.  

Remote Controlled - An IR port present with or without remote can be the lowest common denominator in the automation system, better combined with hard wired front panel push button.

RS-232 - The preferred interface for high level control, RS-232 is used for complex automation commands that control macro laden programming.  Whole house systems such as AMX, Crestron, as well as a whole new legion of automation pioneers appearing on the market ushers in more competitive pricing in the control arena.

Audio Switching - Companion audio switching helps to ease the automation programming allowing both to be done simultaneously.  Sometimes overlooked, and one of the more useful features is the presence of both analog and digital audio options, especially in a home with children or casual users that should be kept away from high end media systems.  Analog audio allows the use of speakers in a TV for casual watching or kids gaming.   

Video Distribution- Few switchers, often a multiple output matrix units offer amplification for distribution of A/V signals that require long cable runs.  

Video Scaling - Video processing or scaling is often done in the display, but many enthusiasts add external scalers that often improve the image quality, especially in digital panels that require more precise resolution controls for non-standard native pixel grids.  Many scalers function as switchers as more manufacturers introduce products that accept multiple digital sources (DVI or HDMI).

Video Connection Chart

Quick overview of the video glossary gets you up to the speed.  Below are connection types used for High Definition (HDTV) video found on back of most TV sets and the associated resolutions.

Component Video (Analog Green/Blue/Red 3x RCA) - *NTSC SD 480i and ATSC HD 480p/720p/1080i (consult TV manual compatibility)

VGA (Analog 15-Pin D-Sub or R/G/B/H/V 5x BNC) - ATSC HD 480p/720p/1080i and *some PC connectivity.  Some high-band component video/analog audio switchers allow hookup as RGBHV using the left+right audio channels as H+V inputs.  
DVI (Digital Single or Dual Link) - ATSC HD 480p/720p/1080i and *some PC connectivity
HDMI (Digital) - ATSC HD 480p/720p/1080i and *some PC connectivity

*Refer to TV manual for compatibility and range


Start here for how to:
Add more HDMI Inputs Not enough video inputs?  You need a switch.      
Two or more TV/displays from one source.
To send same signal to multiple displays simultaneously, you need a Splitter/Distribution Amp.
Control multiple rooms/whole house Audio/Video with a single device.
To control multiple video devices to multiple displays, you need a Matrix Switch.  Solution for environments like conference rooms and bar/restaurants. 
To change the video signal.
Need to connect VGA device to HDMI?  DVI device to VGA?  Solutions for conference rooms and laptop users.


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