A while back, we had an article that featured a device made by IOGear that broadcasts a video signal over Wi-Fi to a VGA output. Now, Epiphan Systems has released a device, the VGA2WiFi, that does almost the exact opposite.
Imagine you are giving a presentation or a lecture and you would like to give your audience real-time instant access to what is being displayed on the conference screen. Normally, you’d have to either prepare slides ahead of time and hand them out ahead of the presentation or make them available later. This might be alright if you are using PowerPoint only, but imagine that you are demonstrating the image from a VGA device that is not a computer, such as an embedded machine, electronic microscope, or medical device.
The VGA2WiFi solves this problem by taking any VGA signal, converting it into a digital image, and broadcasting it over 802.11g Wi-Fi for your audience to view. As long as your viewers have access to any 802.11b/g-enabled device with a web browser, such as a smartphone, PDA, or notebook computer, they are able to view the presentation on their screens as it happens. No additional software needs to be installed.
What’s more, the VGA2WiFi works with signals of up to 1600 x 1200 and broadcasts a true lossless image, meaning that 100% of the source image quality is retained, which is important for environments where a high level of precision is required.
For a while now, Epiphan Systems has been making the popular VGA Recorder and VGA2WEB web-based collaboration and conferencing devices. This month, however, Epiphan has unveiled the VGA Recorder Lite and VGA2WEB Lite, both of which are “light” and portable version of the mentioned devices.
Both the VGA2WEB Lite and VGA Broadcaster Lite are budget-oriented devices which are able to broadcast a VGA signal with a resolution of up to 1600 x 1200 to an Internet audience. Using the Gigabit Ethernet interface to connect to a local area network (LAN) or the Internet, these devices are ideal for those that would like to collaborate, present, or broadcast a VGA signal but do not want to hassle with complicated software or hardware modifications.
Once the VGA2WEB Lite or VGA Broadcaster Lite devices are plugged in and running, the audience can simply access the broadcast using their web browser or media player, such as QuickTime or VLC.
While both devices work with signals of up to 1600 x 1200 and broadcast supplied image in 100% lossless diagnostic quality, the VGA2WEB Lite uses motion JPEG compression, meaning that its broadcast can be accessed via a simple web interface. The VGA Broadcaster Lite’s webcast, on the other hand, uses H.264 or MPEG4 video compression to relay the VGA signal to its viewers, meaning that a media player such as QuickTime is needed in order to view the broadcast that is created by it.
A comparison of both devices can be found by going to this page on Epiphan System’s offical website.
Imagine that you have multiple monitors that need to be either constantly monitored or remotely accessed. Normally, this would be impossible to do using conventional equipment. You would either have to individually access each monitor or use complicated analog video monitoring equipment. Now, with the release of Epiphan Systems’ VGA Grid, monitoring up to 256 VGA outputs (or monitors) is simple.
In order to use the VGA Grid system, one VGA Grid device (about the size of paperback novel) must be connected to the output of each VGA signal. The VGA Grid must also be able to access the Internet or LAN through its built-in Gigabit Ethernet interface. Once these two conditions are met, you are able to remotely log into a web-based control panel which displays the output of each of your VGA signals on one screen. Of course, you are able to zoom in on each VGA signal individually and archive the output for later viewing.
Since the VGA Grid is a frame grabber-based device, it is able to monitor VGA signals with resolutions of up to 1600 x 1200 and relay the images from them in 100% lossless quality, which is important in mission-critical control room applications.
If control room monitoring or combining many VGA streams into one signal is essential to your organization, then the VGA Grid is a product that you should seriously consider. Not only is it compatible with any existing Ethernet-based LAN infrastructure, it is the ultimate solution for the combination of multiple high-resolution video signals onto a single screen.
Gone are the days of WebEx and high-priced license-based collaboration solutions. Epiphan Systems has introduced a simple yet powerful VGA-based conferencing product for online collaboration and monitor synchronization.
The VGA Bridge, promises to “bridge” the distance gap between two monitors or projectors, whether they be in the rooms next to each-other or accross the world.
It works by digitizing the analog VGA signal into a compressed digital format that is suitable for web broadcast and then sending it to the receiving VGA Bridge for uncomression and reproduction. While this is not a new concept in the world of web-enabled streaming content, the fact that the VGA Bridge can handle resolutions up to 1600 x 1200 in 100% lossless quality is a first. Of course, you would need a fast and stable Internet or Gigabit LAN connection in order to achieve transfer rates of up to 60 frames per second, but that is to be expected from such as high-end and specialized product.
With current high end PCI-based and USB-based VGA frame grabbers pushing maximum capture rates of 60 frames per second, a VGA frame grabber that could capture at twice that rate seemed like a far-fetched idea… until today.
Already up for sale on this page, the VGA2Ethernet frame grabber claims to operate at a maximum resolution of 1600 x 1200, at which it can capture at a maximum rate of 66fps. However, that number is 120fps for lower resolutions.
Typical of any frame grabber made by Epiphan Systems, the VGA2Ethernet is external, portable, and has the same recording, archiving, and broadcasting functions of its smaller siblings. You may find a detailed review of these functions in our Epiphan VGA2USB LR Review.
Unlike any other VGA or DVI frame grabbers, the VGA2Ethernet, as the name suggests, plugs into the Ethernet port of the target computer. While GigE and other machine vision frame grabbers have been using the Ethernet protocol for some while, emplying Ethernet in a VGA frame grabber is a first for the industry. VGA2Ethernet uses the Gigabit Ethernet protocol, which is what allows it to achieve such high transfer rates when compared to traditional USB or PCI frame grabbers.
Besides the capture rate advantage, using the Ethernet protocol also allows you to extend the distance between the actual frame grabber and the target computer, as long as both the grabber and the target computer are on the same LAN. A diagram is shown below (taken from Epiphan.com):
Stay tuned for more news and reviews as more information is released by Epiphan Systems about the VGA2Ethernet.