Video card for live video switching?


D

drh

I am setting up a system for our school's auditorium that will be used
to project various forms of media onto our rear-projection screen, and
I'm looking for an ideal combination of software & hardware that would
accomplish it. (we have the projector permanently mounted, and only 1
VGA input on it)

We need to be able to playback DVDs and VHS tapes (from an external
source, so I assume via video capture / passthrough to VGA???), as
well as powerpoint, avi, mpg, etc.. files. I would like the interface
to appear, on the screen, to be relatively seamless switching between
inputs / applications (ie. not having to mess around with windows
start menus, explorer etc. too much.)

What video card / software / or even external hardware devices do you
think would be best...?

Thanks for your advice!

David Hoare
 
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P

Paul

drh said:
I am setting up a system for our school's auditorium that will be used
to project various forms of media onto our rear-projection screen, and
I'm looking for an ideal combination of software & hardware that would
accomplish it. (we have the projector permanently mounted, and only 1
VGA input on it)

We need to be able to playback DVDs and VHS tapes (from an external
source, so I assume via video capture / passthrough to VGA???), as
well as powerpoint, avi, mpg, etc.. files. I would like the interface
to appear, on the screen, to be relatively seamless switching between
inputs / applications (ie. not having to mess around with windows
start menus, explorer etc. too much.)

What video card / software / or even external hardware devices do you
think would be best...?

Thanks for your advice!

David Hoare

There are a couple issues. Cost and quality.

Doing unnecessary analog to digital and then digital to analog conversion,
does not improve picture quality.

Proper planning would be:

1) Buy a display device with multiple inputs. Use the remote control on
the display device, to select the desired input source. Such a device
might have HDMI/DVI inputs, VGA, composite, s-video, component (YPrPb or RGB)
and so on.

2) Buy a video switch box, and switch between sources that way. But such
a device may have uniform inputs (i.e. four VGA inputs), which may not
be suited to dealing with a variety of sources. A KVM, for example, is
a computer world switching device, for selecting between VGA inputs.
A modular design, where you could buy and equip the right input types,
might help. The switch box may end up being a 19" rackmount device,
and the control may or may not be possible under PC control.

If you were going to do this all through the computer, some things are
easy and some thing are hard. TV tuner cards sometimes have composite
and S-video inputs. Even some PC video cards have a DIN connector on the
faceplate, and may feature "VIVO" for video in video out. So dealing
with composite and S-video (two crappy low bandwidth interfaces) is
relatively easy.

To input DVI or HDMI or redigitize component video inputs (YPrPb or
RGB or whatever), is going to be expensive or potential products
will be prevented by the DMCA. (You can thank DMCA for stopping a
lot of neat stuff.) Which is why, it is better if the display
device has the necessary input conversion and selection functions
built in. A separate switching box, because it doesn't necessarily
enable a user to easily record lossless movie content, is more likely
to be available. The movie industry doesn't want consumers to have
the ability to record high definition or high quality bit streams.

I think I'd start by making a list of all the multimedia devices
that have to be hooked up, what output connector options they
have, and then start planning from there. If all of the optional
devices had composite outputs, then perhaps some cheap video capture
cards would allow you to do some integration.

If you try some search terms like "projector dvi hdmi vga component input",
you can find some neat stuff.

http://www.engadget.com/tag/dvi/page/2/
http://www.audiovision.co.uk/images/hd73rear.jpg

Paul
 

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