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Kramer ProScale™ DigitalScaler/Switchers Make Portability Simple


When two community colleges in Houston, TX, wanted to create a simple solution for classroom presentations, they turned to Kramer Electronics. The colleges were searching for a better way to switch multiple video and audio sources, all with different resolutions. Instructors were frustrated and confused with the existing control systems, and they wanted the flexibility of moving the equipment without having to reconfigure it every time.

Technology teams at both colleges worked to find a solution. Local professional audio/video integrator Troxell Communications Inc., helped them to design easy, portable systems featuring Kramer Electronics ProScale digital scaler/switchers. The movable systems have been retrofitted into classrooms at North Harris and Tomball colleges, which are among five district colleges in Houston’s North Harris Montgomery Community College District.

“We wanted a design that was simple to assemble, simple to deploy and simple for our faculty to use,” said Brian King, media coordinator at Tomball College. “We selected a system built around the Kramer ProScale equipment, as recommended by Genevieve Rowland at Troxell Communications. The faculty loves it, and it gives us a great deal of flexibility.”

North Harris’s Dean of Technology Link Alander noted, “Kramer offered the best resolution to the projectors and provided a simplified way to switch all the devices. The Kramer equipment relieves the worrying about switching to the right audio and video inputs, and the systems resulted in a reduction in cabling to just two cables – power and A/V.”

North Harris Makes the Grade with Media Systems

On the North Harris College campus, a combination of the Kramer VP-719DS and the VP-211DS ProScale digital scaler/switchers provide native-resolution video for LCD, DLP and Plasma displays. They permit scaling of any graphics resolution to any other resolution, with inputs for up to seven sources. The scaler/switchers are part of a rolling lectern system featuring DVDs, VCRs, document cameras and laptop computer capabilities.

The units use pre-set default settings for a typical classroom presentation, so that if the configuration is changed by one presenter, it will default back to the more commonly used set-up. Each room has a one-page instruction sheet at the lectern. A master control room also offers a help desk, which monitors server status and classroom video displays. Help is available by making a single call during a presentation.

More than 47 rooms have been completed at North Harris College, with additional retrofits planned. The installations include three biology rooms that were upgraded to link the ProScale digital scaler/switchers with older microscope cameras. “The picture quality of even these dated cameras when run through the scaler was unbelievable. The 10-foot picture from the microscope is phenomenal,” Alander said.

Tomball Tower of Technology Rolls through Classrooms

At Tomball College, the mobile systems have been characterized as “The Tower of Technology.” A specially designed cabinet accommodates all the classroom audio/video equipment, including the Kramer ProScale digital scaler/switchers. This campus uses a combination of the Kramer VP-719xl and VP-720xl units, plus the compact Kramer VP-211DS auto-switching computer graphics video and stereo audio switcher configured for standby operation.

According to Jay Hargett, multimedia specialist at Tomball College, the system needed to be compact and movable inside the classroom without destroying the cabling. “The system would not have been economically possible without the Kramer unit,” Hargett said. “It offers the right value of quality and reliability at the right price.”

The ProScale digital scaler/switchers are spread across two campuses of Tomball College in 53 movable carts that are available in classrooms, conference rooms and presentation theaters. “These units must withstand the frequent day-to-day use, and continue to work for every presenter. We have had a great experience with the Kramer equipment, and the Kramer support has been phenomenal,” Hargett said.

The Kramer technology and service are keeping the technology at North Harris and Tomball Colleges on the move.

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