Perhaps you have already seen video switchers but don’t know what they really are. However, if you are involved in the event planning industry, then most likely you’ve worked with cameras or laptops. If so, then you’ve got a video switcher, and this is what we’re going to talk about.

Here, we are going to walk you through all the things you need to know about this small piece of equipment. This includes its features, its purpose, and if there is a need for you to upgrade to a more advanced version or use the one that you already have. These are the topics that we are going to cover in this article.

What Are Video Switchers, and How Do They Work?

A close up of a broadcast audio and video equipment.

A video switcher is commonly used for corporate events or video broadcasts. If you are utilizing cameras or laptops, chances are you also have a video switcher at your event, even if you might not be aware of it. Understanding how they work and why they are essential is crucial.

Moreover, when should you consider upgrading your video switcher to a more expensive model? Here, we will explain how straightforward and user-friendly they can be, as well as how they can become more intricate. This way, you will know what type of switcher to bring to your next event.

A video switcher is equipped with various buttons and knobs. It’s essential to note that at the back of this equipment, you’ll find numerous inputs, similar to a TV with VGA inputs, HDMI inputs, a BNC, etc.

Various types of video cables plug into it, often accommodating laptops. For example, if there are two presenters with their laptops, when the first presenter goes up, their laptop will be plugged in. Then, the next presenter will have their laptop plugged in. This capability allows you to connect multiple sources. Additionally, you can plug in cameras. Connecting these diverse sources provides you with the opportunity to switch between them, as the name implies.

What are the Cool Features of Video Switchers?

Video switchers empower you to create seamless transitions and captivating fades. Essentially, every time you witness a smooth transition or fade between two sources, like cameras or laptops, it’s the magic of the video switcher at work.

Now, let’s delve into the more intricate aspects. What we’ve covered above represents the fundamental functions of a switcher. Keep in mind that each switcher is unique, with distinct capabilities and features.

For example, if you have a specific type of camera, you might need a particular video switcher. Similarly, if you aim to connect 30 different types of laptops, a larger switcher may be necessary.

One of the coolest features of video switchers is their versatility. Apart from accommodating cameras, laptops, and various input sources, you can also connect a DVD player or plug in a Direct TV or Live TV box. This opens up a myriad of possibilities. Another remarkable feature of a video switcher is the ability to incorporate graphics.

Typically, when you want to display graphics like a PowerPoint presentation or video content, you play it on the laptop using specific software. But what if you simply want to showcase a logo?

Allows You to Exemplify

A large inventory of preowned and new broadcast video equipment available from a professional video equipment dealer.

Using a basic setup can be beneficial even in small events. For example, if you’re using one laptop to run all your presentations, each broken down into different sections, you may find yourself exiting PowerPoint to open the next presentation.

The beauty of video switchers lies in their ability to transition back to previously loaded graphics seamlessly. This ensures a polished and professional presentation.

Perhaps you’ve encountered situations where, after finishing a presentation and clicking escape on PowerPoint, a “No Signal” message appears, or unplugging the laptop results in the same message on screen. Alternatively, opening the next presentation might trigger a barrage of unexpected email notifications.

Most video switchers have the capacity to load graphics, logos, and more. Typically, you can load up to two, three, or even four different graphics. This feature significantly enhances the professional appearance of your presentation, ensuring a smoother run for any event.

Traditionally, video switchers offer either one or two outputs. After making all the switches, the output is directed through a cable to your TV or projector, serving as your main output.

What are Outputs?

Generally, in a two-screen setup, commonly seen in corporate events, one screen is installed on the left side of the presenter, and another on the right. Alongside the switcher, a small splitter box, also known as the distribution amplifier, is used.

This box splits the video signal, directing it to each of the projectors. For instance, if you have two projectors and desire the same display on both, a cable runs from the back of the room, behind the stage, splitting into two cables, each going to a projector, creating a duplicate display. This process, facilitated by the splitter box, makes it easy to achieve.

Typically, in such a setup, there is a downstage monitor. These monitors contribute significantly to the smooth flow of your event. When the monitor faces back toward the stage, the presenter can see their presentations, serving the purpose of a downstage monitor.

The Split Output

As mentioned, creating duplicate screens is easy and cost-effective. Another notable feature of switchers is the presence of additional outputs, commonly known as the preview output. Often presented in multi-view, similar to security camera setups where various cameras are visible on a single screen, it employs a grid system for effortless arrangement.

Many switchers include this type of output. In fortunate cases, you might encounter a switcher utilizing an aux output, a valuable asset for AV professionals, as it functions as an additional output with its own cable, providing both output one and output two.

This feature enables diverse sources to go to different outputs. For instance, you may want a view of the presenter or the Q&A software while maintaining the ongoing presentation on the main screen. This scenario requires separate outputs, introducing the need for a secondary output. In some instances, budget-friendly switchers can efficiently manage this output configuration. For example, the main output might feed into the auxiliary output.

Enhanced View Services Inc. offers a range of used and new video equipment, including video switchers and cameras. For more information, contact us at 305.971.2916 or send an email to [email protected].