Cheap VGA Splitter Puts Theatre Back In Pictures

It never fails that there seems to be a technical emergency every Friday about an hour before quitting time. In this case, the call came from a local movie theater which relied on a VGA splitter to distribute video signals to various signs and monitors in the theater. Some signs were operational, but there were several that would not display any images. Many of their signs showing the movie times and locations were not displaying and there was a bit of pandemonium trying to get movie patrons into the correct movie hall. It took a few minutes of troubleshooting, but the problem was quickly identified as a non-functioning VGA splitter unit. It probably took a hit from a power surge during a power outage the previous night.
We often warn clients about not putting critical components onto a UPS backup device or a dependable surge protector. The problem is identifying what is “critical” as well as replacing surge protectors on a regular basis. Electrical components often get destroyed when a power surge occurs in the building. After a power outage, when the power comes back up, often there is spike of power that lasts millionths of a second. These spikes are what fry electrical components. The cinema used VGA splitters to control the signs and displays in the building. If one or several of these became victims of a power surge, then it compromised the entire setup.
VGA splitters can be cascaded together to display on up to 240 monitors. In this case, the cinema used three 4 Port splitters to control the displays. There are also UTP VGA Video Splitter Extender products that extend video signal up to 1000ft feet using Cat5/Cat5e/Cat6 cables. Fortunately the cinema manager used a UPS system to protect his computers and servers in the complex, but did not think about plugging these VGA splitters into a UPS. That really isn’t surprising as the computers cost a lot more than the VGA splitters.
You can buy a single input, 2 output video splitter for as little as $36. Of course, the more ports you require, the higher the price, but it still remains a cheap solution. There are VGA Splitters that can be controlled via a remote control and stream both video and audio. These also are available in multi-port models. Those models do carry a heftier price tag, so be sure to put them onto a surge protector or UPS unit.

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