TapVideo switcher

During the install of our projector system I have been very impressed with the Kramer products. The main component is the Switcher/Scaler which is the heart of the system and the general impression is that they do what they are supposed to do with no fuss and in exactly the way that you would expect. The VP719 is a 7 input, single VGA output device (inputs are VGA, DVI, 2 x composite, 2 x S-Video and component) and it seems to be able to cope with whatever you throw at it without a glitch.

Kramer VP-719xl

There are inevitably small faults where details off the main function could be thought out a bit better. This is clearly an installation device rather than portable/mobile and as such, some things should be hidden from the end user. In particular, the remote control is much too complex exposing controls that would be rarely required—a very prominent button changes the output resolution—something that is not required after install. If things like this are required on the remote then there should be an “advanced” panel with a cover. On the other hand, there is no “blank” button on the remote at all but there may be a programmable feature to enable this some other way.

In an installation like ours the actual device is hidden away in a rack so we use the computer serial connection with the GUI application to actually control it. This just duplicates the function and appearance of the remote but with the same problems; actually worse because it is a multi-device application for all models so there are lots of redundant controls. It needs to be customisable so that unwanted functions can be removed and, in particular, more meaningful labels put on the input selectors so that you don’t have to remember which device is plugged into which socket.

Another improvement would be a second VGA input. We have worked around the lack of this by using the DVI input for the main control computer but that was not ideal for other reasons and would not always be possible—for instance with two laptops. Perhaps we needed the 724 model but this is somewhat more expensive with a lot of unneeded features.

Now that it is installed the silly audio connections are not a problem but I don’t see why standard RCA (for the video channels) and mini jack (for the computer channels) were not used. XLR for the PA output would have been nice but I can see that there is a space limitation on a 1u box. Does anyone seriously use the 5 Watt audio amplifier built in?

Anyway, notwithstanding these little gripes, I thoroughly recommend this device for any simple church or conference room setup.

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