A Look At Four Gizmos And Gadgets


MONITOR SURFING Most of the time a computer is connected to a single display for a single user. But sometimes users have more than one computer and more than one display, and they want to mix and match them on the fly. Aten's line of video matrix switches includes the four-port VS0404, which can connect video and audio signals from up to four computers to four separate displays and speaker systems. It supports video resolutions up to 1,920 x 1,440. Push-button switches on the front panel toggle the four video outputs between sources 1 through 4. The switch is ideal for delivering information from multiple computers to multiple destinations. Applications include classrooms, training centers, trade shows, retail stores, security and control centers. The video matrix switch also can be cascaded with video splitters. MSRP: $400.

Aten VS0404 Video Matrix Switches

PROVING INPUT Many of today's wide-screen LCD computer monitors are very good at displaying high-definition video, and many users purchase them with the viewing of HDTV in mind. Unfortunately, most of these displays have only one set of jacks for component, composite and S-video cables. But Philips' PH61150 High Definition Switcher allows multiple video game systems, DVD players, VCRs and other AV devices to be connected to computer monitors and TVs that don't have enough inputs. The device features four sets of audio/video inputs and one set of outputs. Each set includes jacks for stereo audio, component, composite and S-video. Pushing a select button on the front panel cycles through the four inputs, connecting them in order to the output. An automatic mode selects newly activated sources without needing the user to press any buttons. This inexpensive device makes most monitors and TVs a lot more versatile. MSRP: $29.95

Philips PH61150 High Definition Switcher

POWER TO ALL In today's digital world, computers aren't the only things that might need UPS backup. Media Center PCs, DVRs and cable TV boxes, as well as anything else that needs programming, don't like to have their power removed. Tripp Lite's 650 VA OMNI650LCD digital UPS is ideal for such applications, and its small size means that it can blend nicely with home entertainment gear. About the size of a cable TV box, the OMNI650LCD has an LCD display that indicates input voltage, battery capacity and other operating conditions. The display can be rotated for easy viewing with the UPS laying flat or standing on end, where it would fit nicely on a bookshelf. The UPS features four battery-backed outlets with surge protection and four additional outlets with surge protection only. The UPS can power entry-level PCs for up to 40 minutes and appliances such as a VCR for up to 2 hours. A USB port enables unattended shutdown. MSRP: $132

Tripp Lite 650 VA OMNI650LCD Digital UPS

CAPTURING PERPS IP-based video surveillance is not without its problems. Most security cameras on the market suffer from poor picture quality and poor low-light performance. What use is fuzzy surveillance video when trying to identify a perpetrator? Axis Communications has the answer with its latest security camera, the 223M, which delivers four times the resolution of the typical IP camera and impressive low-light performance. The camera uses a 2-megapixel CCD sensor, which translates to 1,600 x 1,200 resolution. It can pick up a distant license plate number or focus on what someone is holding in their hand. While far from inexpensive, it uses Power-over-Ethernet to reduce cabling and offers HTTPS encryption, image buffering of 200 frames and video motion detection. Also included is two-way audio support and compatibility with Internet Protocol Version 6. Initial testing shows the night and day difference in picture clarity between the 223M and lower-resolution competitors. MSRP: $1,400.

Axis Communications 223M Security Camera