VGA Distribution Amp

(Video transcript) Hi. Paul Donovan here from Thanks for watching my channel. This is the channel where we're giving tips and tricks to AV technicians and those who would like to be an AV Techniian.

Today I want to talk about a VGA distribution amp. Well not just VGA, I'm also going to talk about HDMI. A lot of time in AV we have to take a signal off of a laptop or other video production item and send it out, split it off to multiple monitors. And we need some way to distribute the signal. Some people might think that you can just put a splitter in there, but unfortunately VGA, and HDMI, don't like the concept of just being split They like a bit of technology in between to help make sure the signal stays good.

The simple VGA DA, Distribution Amplifier, is relatively cheap. You can get them in 2, 4, 6, 8 split outs if you have a lot of TVs going all over the place. The lower cost ones do provide a small amount of, just a little bit, of amplification of the signal. Which is handy if your laptop is running to the distribution amp that's maybe 50, 75, 100 feet away and you don't have a big signal coming from the laptop in the first place. It gets the amplifier, takes that signal, and just very slightly augments it, so it can transfer through the cables out to the projectors and monitors. It is a small advantage.

In fact it is something I have done where I've had a poor signal coming off a laptop I've actually put a DA at the tech table where I'm not actually splitting, I'm just feeding the feed in, letting the little tiny amplification of that box, amplify it enough to power up to the run out to the distribution amp that is actually being split from the monitors and projectors.

A lot of time, nowadays, we're seeing instead of the use of the VGA cable going a long distance, we're seeing repeaters that are happening now that use Cat5 (network) cabling. This is a new trend, quite reliable. It gives you a greater distance to be able to transmit your signal. Very little signal loss in the course of transmitting through the Cat5 network cables. These devices are varying in price and becoming more popular and you can often get one of the lower priced ones for as little as $150 for both ends. Send and Receive ends.

A lot of laptops today are coming without a VGA connector. All you have is an HDMI. A good smart AV technician should keep in his pocket a dongle, an adapter, that goes from HDMI to VGA. You can get these adapters reletavely cheap, they're great. Do remember two things, one thing for sure. HDMI, by default, carries the audio signal with it as well. If you are just converting the HDMI signal to VGA you're not receiving the audio signal because VGA does not transmit audio. Sometimes you will see HDMI to VGA converters where they actually have an extra jack where you can plug in some RCA audio cables. That's handy, but it's not common. Sometimes it's, should I do it or should I not. All you have to do is go to the laptop's sound settings and instead of having it go through the HDMI output, choose for it go out the headphone jacks, the speakers built-in. Do remember to turn it back again so your poor customer later when they next plug in an HDMI cable and they don't get their sound. Most laptops will remember how things were set the last time it was used.

The other thing we see is a VGA distribution amplifier, DA, that is called a Matrix. It has the ability of taking the signals coming in, sometimes have been two signals coming in and four signals going out. What that does is that you can actually send in two separate signals and fire off those signals to any of the four jacks. If you want to have the left screen and right screen having different things you would feed A and B from Laptop A to the A on the Matrix DA and Laptop B to the B on the Matrix DA. Then push one of the four buttons to determine the A will go to the left screen and monitor, and the B is going to go to the right screen and monitor.

Here in Canada where we have federal government that is required to do things in two official languages it's not uncommon for us to have right screen in English and the left screen in French. Or left and right, doesn't really matter. It's not uncommon, with two laptops that have to be controlled by indepedent English and French PowerPoint. It's not uncommon for us, and when we do work for the Federal Government that we have a split screen scenario.

A split screen matrix DA is often very handy. It's no different than a regular DA, if you only have a single source. But you do have to be careful to choose your 4 outputs to choose off that single source. You'd be surprised how may times I've our guys have setup our Matrix one, and they forget to push the button to activate the screen, and they're like, "why is there no signal on the projector?" Ping, and it works.

Distribution amps aren't expensive There are some really expensive one you can get. HDMI distribution amplifiers are a little more expensive just because of the technology of HDMI signal transmission is a little more enhanced. They're not extremely expensive. Lately AV companies are still sticking to the VGA signal a lot of times. While there's usually no problem with a VGA signal. It really comes into things when you convert an HDMI to VGA there is a little bit of signal loss. Sometimes you may lose extreme clarity.

So there you have it. Distribution amplifiers for the AV industry. Paul Donovay here from AV Thank you for coming and watching again. AV Tips and Tricks for AV Technicians. Please click LIKE. Don't forget to subscribe as well. 

This is Paul Donovan from Please check out our website at Subscribe to this channel to keep up with what's happening in the world of AV technicians. Thank you for watching

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