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Author Topic: Solution for HDMI/VGA/random laptop at podium to SDI  (Read 6371 times)

Tom Bourke

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Solution for HDMI/VGA/random laptop at podium to SDI
« on: December 17, 2014, 01:01:16 am »

I am looking for a solution for podium laptop feeds to switchers, projectors, and confidence monitors.  This is for convention and meetings where the presenter never shows up on time and we have to make it work with minimal problems.  Runs can be a couple of hundred feet.  Currently we are using a combination of long VGA/RGBHV cables, cat5 extenders, various formats to SDI to get from the podium to what ever switcher or projectors we are using.  In some cases we are multiple format conversions deep just getting to the DA or switcher.  The signal may go direct to projectors or run through an image proHD or Diventex or some other device.

Even with some of the road blocks, I think SDI is the way to go with various SDI to “whatever” at the projectors.  I am looking for a reliable way to get signal du jour from the presenters laptop to SDI.  We have found a few potential boxes.
http://www.datavideo.info/Converters/DAC-70 is the current for runner. 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/558904-REG/Blackmagic_Design_CONVBR_Broadcast_Converter.html is also close but it lacks VGA/RGBHV.

The perfect box would have a wide variety of auto sensing inputs with RGBHV/VGA and digital outs active at all times.  It would be physically robust.  It also has to be dead simple to use.  Not every one on the crew is a video expert.

Thank you.
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Milt Hathaway

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Re: Solution for HDMI/VGA/random laptop at podium to SDI
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2014, 06:35:43 am »

Earlier this spring I sold a Kramer VP-790 to a local university venue for that very use and it has worked out quite well for them. Their knowledge of video formats is very limited, but they haven't had a problem getting an image from whatever source shows up.

The on-board test pattern generator comes in very handy for those last minute arrivals, too. The venue personnel can go ahead and get things in place (aligning the screen that lives on a fly system, etc.) and confirm operation of their part of the system so that when the guest speaker finally shows up they can look like they know what they are doing.

The front panel "hold to reset" button that returns the output to default configuration isn't a bad idea either.
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Tom Bourke

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Re: Solution for HDMI/VGA/random laptop at podium to SDI
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2014, 10:48:33 am »

Hi Milt.  We saw the Kramer unit and really like it.  However the price is too high to get past the powers that be.  We are looking in the $400 to $1200 range.  If we find the right unit at a low enough price we will probably get 6 or more of them.
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I have a mild form of Dyslexia that affects my ability to spell.  I do use spell checking to help but it does not always work.  My form of Dyslexia does not affect my reading.  Dyslexics of the world untie! <a href="http://www.cwalv.com" target="_blank">http://www.cwalv.com</a>

Collin Donohue

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Re: Solution for HDMI/VGA/random laptop at podium to SDI
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2014, 06:14:40 am »

Check this one out...
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=767534&gclid=CJzWg_jB2cICFYlcMgodrGoA1Q&is=REG&Q=&A=details

I know a few video guys who keep about 6 of these in their work box for the exact purpose you are requesting. And when I've seen them in action, they seem to do a pretty good job.
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Tom Bourke

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Re: Solution for HDMI/VGA/random laptop at podium to SDI
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2014, 09:40:53 am »

That Grass Valley unit is also on the short list. Thank you.

Has any one used the DAC-70?
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Ray Cerwinski

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Re: Solution for HDMI/VGA/random laptop at podium to SDI
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2014, 05:40:08 am »

We have the DAC-70 and it's AWESOME. You literally just plug whatever you want into it, and it spits out SDI, simple as that.
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: Solution for HDMI/VGA/random laptop at podium to SDI
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2014, 11:56:56 am »


We have the DAC-70 and it's AWESOME. You literally just plug whatever you want into it, and it spits out SDI, simple as that.

How does the DAC 70 handle hdcp?  Surely it would blank commercial blue ray content?


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Jonathan Kok

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Re: Solution for HDMI/VGA/random laptop at podium to SDI
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2014, 12:02:30 pm »

How does the DAC 70 handle hdcp?  Surely it would blank commercial blue ray content?


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Anything that takes in HDMI and puts out SDI will blank on HDCP.
I would assume the OP knows this, and is willing to take the risk.
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: Solution for HDMI/VGA/random laptop at podium to SDI
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2014, 01:28:55 pm »


Anything that takes in HDMI and puts out SDI will blank on HDCP.
I would assume the OP knows this, and is willing to take the risk.

That's what I thought.... I have always been confused when looking at converters.  Some say they are hdcp compliant and some so not, but none of them seem to covert hdcp content.


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Tommy Peel

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Re: Solution for HDMI/VGA/random laptop at podium to SDI
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2014, 02:02:45 pm »

That's what I thought.... I have always been confused when looking at converters.  Some say they are hdcp compliant and some so not, but none of them seem to covert hdcp content.


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You'd have to use a somewhat shady device to get around HDCP. They exist, but I don't know how legal/illegal they are.
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: Solution for HDMI/VGA/random laptop at podium to SDI
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2014, 07:15:20 pm »


You'd have to use a somewhat shady device to get around HDCP. They exist, but I don't know how legal/illegal they are.

Thanks tommy, I guess I wasn't clear.  I did know that about devices to get around hdcp, they are usually hdmi splitter than fake out the source some how, I just never understood converter products claiming to be compliant or not compliant when none of them will convert an hdcp signal to sdi.


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Tom Bourke

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Re: Solution for HDMI/VGA/random laptop at podium to SDI
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2014, 11:48:57 pm »

Anything that takes in HDMI and puts out SDI will blank on HDCP.
I would assume the OP knows this, and is willing to take the risk.
Yes, I understand that HDCP will blank it out.  For the most part this is just to get PowerPoint or Keynote into the switching system.  HDCP content will be dealt with as needed.

We need a box that is stable and robust.  I was just curios if this was the right box or there was some other better box at a similar price point.
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I have a mild form of Dyslexia that affects my ability to spell.  I do use spell checking to help but it does not always work.  My form of Dyslexia does not affect my reading.  Dyslexics of the world untie! <a href="http://www.cwalv.com" target="_blank">http://www.cwalv.com</a>

Tom Bourke

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Re: Solution for HDMI/VGA/random laptop at podium to SDI
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2015, 01:50:48 am »

Just a quick update.  We got in a DAC-70 in to test.  It works great!  It is built like a tank!  Power is on a screw down plug.  HDMI has a ziptie platform.  The dip switches are robust.  The SDI out can drive VERY long lines.  Infrastructure runs that should not support HD-SDI are stable with this box on the sending end!

Unlike dumb converters that change output resolution and rates depending on input, this unit converts it to a standard signal of our choosing.  We are still 4:3 with our screens and projectors.  This box and our projector combo handles 4:3 vs 16:9 in a predictable way.  When dealing with the client computer it is as simple as taking ANY resolution/refresh rate that is the same aspect ratio as the presentation and then setting the projector to one of 2 screen modes.  VGA or HDMI does not matter, it just works.

We already have 2 more on the way and are working on getting approval for MANY more.  The only negative at this point is that it needs a switch flipped to select HDMI or VGA.  Auto sensing input type would be great. It already handles auto sensing input resolution just fine.
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I have a mild form of Dyslexia that affects my ability to spell.  I do use spell checking to help but it does not always work.  My form of Dyslexia does not affect my reading.  Dyslexics of the world untie! <a href="http://www.cwalv.com" target="_blank">http://www.cwalv.com</a>

Collin Donohue

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Re: Solution for HDMI/VGA/random laptop at podium to SDI
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2015, 12:28:59 am »

The only negative at this point is that it needs a switch flipped to select HDMI or VGA.  Auto sensing input type would be great. It already handles auto sensing input resolution just fine.

We ended up getting one in January to test, and we now have 20... that tells you how happy we are with these bad boys, especially for the price!

However, I would add a few other pointers.  If you're doing a conversion where the resolutions are pretty much the same (1280x720 from PC to 720p SDI/HDMI) the conversion is quite good.  However, when converting the resolutions up or down, things tend to get a little blocky.  The actual scaling on them is a little rougher than a higher end piece of gear (which for the cost, is not a surprise).  But for the most part, if we need to send out 720, we feed it 720 anyways, so no loss there.

Also, when running it in PC control mode, you get size and position adjustments, but the range is somewhat limited.  If your VGA image is way off or if you want to zoom in on a certain part of the screen, you may be out of luck.

Lastly, if you're using it to convert SDI back to HDMI at a monitor, not all monitors will accept the signal.  There seems to be a lack of (or improper) EDID information from the DAC70.  In our case, we just use DAC70s for "sending" signals down SDI and then we use AJA HI5s for the conversion back to HDMI.
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Tom Bourke

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Re: Solution for HDMI/VGA/random laptop at podium to SDI
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2015, 02:03:20 am »

Thank you for the tips.  We don't intend on using it sdi to hdmi much if at all.  However it is good to know there can be problems. We are planning on using the HDMI out for the local confidence monitor.  If all else fails we will just use an extra HI5. For us the best part is the predictability on the input side of things.  1024x768 to 1280x720 creates a very nice pillar boxed signal that the projector scales back to it's native 1024x768 with excellent results. Our use is mostly power point in break out rooms.
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I have a mild form of Dyslexia that affects my ability to spell.  I do use spell checking to help but it does not always work.  My form of Dyslexia does not affect my reading.  Dyslexics of the world untie! <a href="http://www.cwalv.com" target="_blank">http://www.cwalv.com</a>

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Solution for HDMI/VGA/random laptop at podium to SDI
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2015, 02:03:20 am »


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