Extron and Altinex VGA switchers - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 23 Old 03-19-2001, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
Scott Gammans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brambleton, VA (Suburban Washington, DC)
Posts: 3,265
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
OK, now my need for a VGA switcher is getting crucial. I'm about to lay hands on a third D-sub 15-pin VGA source for my home theater, in addition to my HTPC and my RCA DTC-100. I am currently looking at two competing products from Altinex and Extron to switch these three inputs to the output leading to my projector:

Both of these products, at least from the spec sheets, seem to fit the bill as far as S/N ratio, bandwidth to handle HDTV and programmability via RS-232 are concerned. What I am hoping to hear from AVS Forum members is a recommendation of one over the other (and why), or reasoned suggestions for an alternate choice not shown above. (btw, please don't ask me to try Belkin or Radio Shack "data grade" A/B switches; I've tried them and they do nothing but introduce ghosts and other uglies into the projected image... especially noticable when projecting text from my Windows 2000 desktop).

Thanks!

------------------
Scott Gammans
Another satisfied NEC VT540 owner--except for the remote ;)
mail@scottgammans.com
The Scooterplex Cinema 1 Project X
Scott Gammans is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 23 Old 03-20-2001, 08:46 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Jim Ferguson's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Annandale, VA USA
Posts: 2,523
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Scott,

I use the 5bnc version of the Extron switcher, and am very happy with it. Switching is solid, and there is no video quality degradation at all. It performed better than the Kramer switcher I previously used, and much (much) better than the Linksys KVM switcher It ried for awhile. You are correct. Stay away from the PC switchers http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/frown.gif

I have not seen the Altinex, so I can't comment.
Jim Ferguson is offline  
post #3 of 23 Old 03-20-2001, 09:10 AM
AVS Special Member
 
RobertR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: California
Posts: 6,231
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 223 Post(s)
Liked: 421
Here's another vote for the Extron SW4 VGAxi. I have one, and it's excellent. One of the very nice features is its ability to autoswitch, ie, it will automatically switch to the active input.

[This message has been edited by RobertR (edited 03-20-2001).]
RobertR is online now  
post #4 of 23 Old 03-21-2001, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
Scott Gammans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brambleton, VA (Suburban Washington, DC)
Posts: 3,265
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
After four days and repeated e-mails, Altinex still has not bothered to respond to requests for information. To me this implies sloppiness and poor customer service, so I will almost certainly be going with the SW4 VGAxi. Thanks for the recommendations.

------------------
Scott Gammans
Another satisfied NEC VT540 owner--except for the remote ;)
mail@scottgammans.com
The Scooterplex Cinema 1 Project X
Scott Gammans is offline  
post #5 of 23 Old 03-28-2001, 09:45 AM
AVS Special Member
 
LarryChanin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Sarasota, Florida
Posts: 6,810
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Scott Gammans:
After four days and repeated e-mails, Altinex still has not bothered to respond to requests for information. To me this implies sloppiness and poor customer service, so I will almost certainly be going with the SW4 VGAxi. Thanks for the recommendations.

</font>
Scott:

Hope its not too late, but you might want to consider the following:

Kramer VP-400

Larry

LarryChanin is offline  
post #6 of 23 Old 03-28-2001, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
Scott Gammans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brambleton, VA (Suburban Washington, DC)
Posts: 3,265
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Larry,

Actually, I haven't purchased the Extron VGA switcher yet... I was a bit taken aback by its price: $443.75! http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/eek.gif (By the way, Altinex finally did get back to me... but their unit is even more ree-dickerous at $587.00!! Double http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/eek.gif http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/eek.gif!!)

The Kramer VP-300 does just the opposite of what I am looking for... I need to switch three VGA inputs (HTPC, DTC-100, future second HTPC) to one output (my projector); the VP-300 distributes one VGA input to three outputs. That link you posted did, however, lead me to a Kramer product that almost meets my needs: the VP-211 2x1 VGA auto-switcher for a much more reasonable $126.00. The only drawback is that it only has two inputs; I'd prefer three for future expandability.

Larry, do you (or anyone else out there) have anything good or bad to say about Kramer switchers? Keep in mind that I have already wasted time & money on "data grade" switch boxes; I need something that won't degrade the high-quality HDTV signals I'll be piping through the inputs. Thanks!

------------------
Scott Gammans
Another satisfied NEC VT540 owner
The Scooterplex Cinema 1

[This message has been edited by Scott Gammans (edited 03-28-2001).]
Scott Gammans is offline  
post #7 of 23 Old 03-28-2001, 02:23 PM
AVS Special Member
 
LarryChanin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Sarasota, Florida
Posts: 6,810
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Scott Gammans:
Larry,

Actually, I haven't purchased the Extron VGA switcher yet... I was a bit taken aback by its price: $443.75! http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/eek.gif (By the way, Altinex finally did get back to me... but their unit is even more ree-dickerous at $587.00!! Double http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/eek.gif http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/eek.gif!!)

The Kramer VP-300 does just the opposite of what I am looking for... I need to switch three VGA inputs (HTPC, DTC-100, future second HTPC) to one output (my projector); the VP-300 distributes one VGA input to three outputs. That link you posted did, however, lead me to a Kramer product that almost meets my needs: the VP-211 2x1 VGA auto-switcher for a much more reasonable $126.00. The only drawback is that it only has two inputs; I'd prefer three for future expandability.

Larry, do you (or anyone else out there) have anything good or bad to say about Kramer switchers? Keep in mind that I have already wasted time & money on "data grade" switch boxes; I need something that won't degrade the high-quality HDTV signals I'll be piping through the inputs. Thanks!

</font>
Scott:

Sorry for the mixup.

But here's a thread that may be of use:
http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum12/HTML/006717.html

Larry

LarryChanin is offline  
post #8 of 23 Old 03-28-2001, 03:51 PM
Advanced Member
 
propeller_beach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 824
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Hi,

Anybody know how much the SW 2 VGAxi costs? This would be more of a fair comparison to the Kramer VP 211 (2in&gt;1out).

Thanks,

Luca
propeller_beach is offline  
post #9 of 23 Old 03-29-2001, 06:36 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
Scott Gammans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brambleton, VA (Suburban Washington, DC)
Posts: 3,265
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
As stated above, I only priced Extron's 4x1 switch at $443.75. I can't imagine that the 2x1 version's price would be less than half of that, or $222 (and I'd be willing to bet it's more than that, since the incremental cost of adding two more outputs for the 4x1 are surely not linearly priced at 100% more than the 2x1 switch!).

Larry, thanks for the follow-up. I've posted a new thread on the Kramer 2x1 auto-switcher with the name in the topic (the original topic didn't mention the manufacturer or model number). Hopefully this will get some Kramer owners to answer some reliability and performance questions that weren't addressed in the original thread.

------------------
Scott Gammans
Another satisfied NEC VT540 owner
The Scooterplex Cinema 1
Scott Gammans is offline  
post #10 of 23 Old 03-29-2001, 04:33 PM
AVS Addicted Member
 
rboster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 17,797
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 125 Post(s)
Liked: 108
I did find an Altinex switcher for a decent price of $310....

http://www.viscountvideo.com/altinex.htm

Anyone else with source selections for these two products? Or where one could find them used (besides the occasional Ebay auction-don't want to wait).

Thanks
Ron

"Retired" AVS Moderator
New lower price : Anthem MX-510 Receiver (awaiting payment) & ACS PlanarTrap (freestanding acoustic panel) ($300/pair):
http://www.avsforum.com/forum/209-au...tic-panel.html
http://www.avsforum.com/forum/209-au...iver-sale.html
rboster is offline  
post #11 of 23 Old 03-29-2001, 10:48 PM
AVS Addicted Member
 
rboster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 17,797
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 125 Post(s)
Liked: 108
I think the Extron two input switcher is about $380 MSRP and can be found for $310 on-line price. I have held off, hoping to find a used unit. But no luck yet.

Ron

"Retired" AVS Moderator
New lower price : Anthem MX-510 Receiver (awaiting payment) & ACS PlanarTrap (freestanding acoustic panel) ($300/pair):
http://www.avsforum.com/forum/209-au...tic-panel.html
http://www.avsforum.com/forum/209-au...iver-sale.html
rboster is offline  
post #12 of 23 Old 03-29-2001, 11:03 PM
Member
 
ButtonPuncher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: SE-WI
Posts: 88
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Hi,
I have the pleasure of working for Video Images/MCSi. I get to work with Extron, Kramer, Altinex, and Knox switchers/routers/DAs EVERY DAY.

AT ALL COST, stay away from Knox. They have horrible video quality. Altinex is better but still not as good as Extron. If you want high quality video, go with Extron. There is even PC control software that will let you set/control the video switching and audio gain presets.

If I could "permanently borrow" any Extron piece from work, it would be an Extron System 8. Via software setup, it will switch RGBHV, YC, Composite, and audio. Perfect for your average home theatre system.
ButtonPuncher is offline  
post #13 of 23 Old 03-29-2001, 11:09 PM
Member
 
ButtonPuncher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: SE-WI
Posts: 88
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Ooops... I was thinking about a System 5.

The SW4 doesn't have audio or serial control. You can only control it with a contact closure.


[This message has been edited by ButtonPuncher (edited 03-30-2001).]
ButtonPuncher is offline  
post #14 of 23 Old 03-29-2001, 11:56 PM
Member
 
luvflix's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: N California
Posts: 185
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
ButtonPuncher,
What do you think of the Kramer products? Are they close to the performance of the Extrons?
luvflix is offline  
post #15 of 23 Old 03-30-2001, 06:11 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
Scott Gammans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brambleton, VA (Suburban Washington, DC)
Posts: 3,265
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
ButtonPuncher, I keep seeing "contact closure" all over the place. Could you please explain to a non-double-E major what a "contact closure" is and what it can/cannot do? Thanks.

p.s. I also want to hear the answer to the question of how the Extron and Kramer products compare, since it is down to the two of them for me, at least. But not the VP-211 vs. System 5; that's like comparing apples and Ferraris. A better comparison would be the video quality of the VP-211 vs. the SW 2 VGAxi. Thanks!

------------------
Scott Gammans
Another satisfied NEC VT540 owner
The Scooterplex Cinema 1

[This message has been edited by Scott Gammans (edited 03-30-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Scott Gammans (edited 03-30-2001).]
Scott Gammans is offline  
post #16 of 23 Old 03-31-2001, 07:06 AM
Member
 
ButtonPuncher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: SE-WI
Posts: 88
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Kramer and Knox are pretty much on the same level...they are both pretty bad. If you can afford it, get the Extron, if you can't, go with the Altinex.

As for contact closure, it just means that you can control the unit with a simple switch. For example on the Extron it has a 25 pin connector; you would short pin 1 to pin 25 to select input #1 on the switcher, you would short pin 3 to pin 25 to select input #3, an so on. Soo, without buying Extron's own RS-232 interface(PN#60-112-01), you really can't control it with a computer. But they do sell a handheld IR remote control(PN#60-111-01) that plugs into the contact closure jack on the SW4.
ButtonPuncher is offline  
post #17 of 23 Old 03-31-2001, 08:01 AM
AVS Special Member
 
jerndl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 2,667
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by ButtonPuncher:
Kramer and Knox are pretty much on the same level...they are both pretty bad.</font>
I am not sure which Kramer products you work with or for what specific application, but I can say for sure that the Kramer VP-211 works very well for me in the following application. I use it to auto switch between a DTC100 and HTPC. It works exactly has advertised. By toggling the HD button on the DTC100 (or via remote) you can switch between the 2 sources. I see no visual difference using the switcher vs. connecting directly. This is using HDTV resolutions (1080i/540p).

It is quite possible that other Kramer products are "pretty bad" or that using the VP-211 for other applications (such as much higher res than HDTV)
does not work satifactory. But, for the above application the Kramer switcher works. Time will tell how reliable it is.

Jay
jerndl is online now  
post #18 of 23 Old 03-31-2001, 03:28 PM
Member
 
ButtonPuncher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: SE-WI
Posts: 88
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked: 10
jerndl,
I didn't mean any offense. I just havn't had very good luck with Kramer products. When compared with Altinex and Extron, they don't hold up. Please keep in mind that most of the work that I do is with $50k Hughes ILA projectors and RGBGV cable is an inch in diameter and costs $4 a foot. When looking at a 15 ft wide screen, it's pretty easy to see flaws in the video.

[This message has been edited by ButtonPuncher (edited 03-31-2001).]
ButtonPuncher is offline  
post #19 of 23 Old 05-06-2001, 08:11 AM
Senior Member
 
Craig Crane's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: England
Posts: 288
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Could someone please PRIVATE MESSAGE me with an ON-LINE dealer recomendation for the EXTRON switchers?

Ta!

------------------
ICQ 116808321<A HREF="http://www.btinternet.com/~woof.bark" TARGET=_blank>
http://www.btinternet.com/~woof.bark</A>
Craig Crane is offline  
post #20 of 23 Old 05-06-2001, 02:24 PM
Advanced Member
 
karos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 993
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Buttonpuncher,

how is extron better than altinex? I heard the guy who started extron left and then started altinex. So, the products should be comparable, no?
karos is offline  
post #21 of 23 Old 05-06-2001, 03:40 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Jim Ferguson's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Annandale, VA USA
Posts: 2,523
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
AVScience (the forum's sponsor) sells Extron switchers. That's where I got mine.
Jim Ferguson is offline  
post #22 of 23 Old 05-06-2001, 05:32 PM
Senior Member
 
rick e's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: berkeley, ca.
Posts: 331
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
buttonpuncher

Is that rgbhv cable belden 7712? I got a sample and its just under 1" in diameter and I'm going to use it with my JVC G-15 and radion htpc. The run will be about 60'. Will I see a difference between this and the premium cables that are typically 1/2" in diameter?

I also think quality switchers are too expensive. What I've done is I bought an extron sw4 rgbs switcher on ebay for $51 and an extron sc 210 sync processor for about $80 which will strip the sync from the s in rgbs and output rgbhv. Hopefully this will give me something equivalent to an extron sw4 rgbhv switcher. I'll order a 1 meter rgbs cable from better cables or make my own and for about $200 have a rgbhv switcher.
rick e is offline  
post #23 of 23 Old 05-07-2001, 12:08 AM
Member
 
ButtonPuncher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: SE-WI
Posts: 88
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked: 10
karos,
It seems that Extron products are all high quality, from the low end to the high end. But with Altinex, only their higher-end products are worth the cash.


rick e,
All of our cable is re-marked by Gepco. They are a big name cable distributor. When our shop foreman needs 50k feet of 200 meg by tomorrow, we get it. I think that it's Mogami Cactus cable, it has a sky blue jacket and its turning radius is about a foot. We call it 200 meg because it will pass signals up to 200MHz without much attenuation. BTW, Canare also makes some very nice, and flexable, RGBHV cable.

As for your 60ft run, it depends on the resolution. If you are going to run 1920x1440, I would get the bast cable that I can afford.

I could look up the cable part numbers if you really want.
ButtonPuncher is offline  
Closed Thread Home Theater Computers

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off