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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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!


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Scott Gammans

Another satisfied NEC VT540 owner--except for the remote ;)
[email protected]
The Scooterplex Cinema 1 Project X
 

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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.
 

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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).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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.


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Scott Gammans

Another satisfied NEC VT540 owner--except for the remote ;)
[email protected]
The Scooterplex Cinema 1 Project X
 

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Quote:
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.

Scott:


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

Kramer VP-400


Larry

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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).]
 

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Quote:
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!

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

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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.


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Scott Gammans

Another satisfied NEC VT540 owner
The Scooterplex Cinema 1
 

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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
 

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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.
 

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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).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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).]
 

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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.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by ButtonPuncher:
Kramer and Knox are pretty much on the same level...they are both pretty bad.
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
 

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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).]
 

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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?
 
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