KVM colloquially stands for Keyboard, Video, and Mouse. In its early days it simply allowed users to extend the distance between their computer (Server) and their desk (Work station). Benefits included keeping noisy servers in safe, cooled rooms while giving the operator a nice warm and quite work environment.
Over time it has become common for top IT staff and major editors to work with multiple servers from the same desktop. KVM has addressed this need by allowing a single work station to be switched between multiple servers, saving desk space.
Taking this concept further with larger matrix switchers allows for multiple desks and servers. This will enable larger production facilities to pool server facilities and share their resources between multiple client edit areas. Pooling and sharing expensive resources is an old broadcast industry trick. KVM switching can save staff time, in larger play-out centres IT support staff can work on multiple video servers without leaving their desk. KVM can distribute a single server’s output to two+ screens or users; In control rooms any operator can choose to 'push' their display onto a video wall for others to see; in support roles staff can 'shadow' an operator’s system – seeing what they see even taking control all without leaving their desk.
With the advent of digital video, some manufactures incorporated the switching of uncompressed broadcast HD / SD SDi video signals into their KVM matrix. Thus it is now possible to design a hybrid facility with very flexible infrastructure. Such a facility will be future proof, no matter how soon video circuits migrate to IP.
As with most things in IT nothing is ever as simple as it first seems! A wide range of KVM manufactures make clever “boxes”; however virtually none of them will work with any other! If all you want is to allow IT staff to administer servers, video quality may not be of paramount importance, however if you want editors to judge pictures on their monitors than video quality is key. There are huge differences in the way that different KVM systems handle video, audio and USB. Indeed in broadcast applications real time working is usually essential, but not all KVM solutions are truly real time! Some manufactures have a low cost solution with products mass produced during a single production run which once sold won’t be available again! Others manufacture a range of products in house with more traditional broadcast virtues like future proof design and high reliability top of their design criteria. To further confuse buyers many KVM products get ‘badged’ engineered.
BSG have over two decades of signal routing and switching expertise and are here to help you plan, procure and install the very best KVM solution for your facility. If you have a project or requirement that needs the sharing of servers and / or SD / HD video signals than we can help you.