Monitor walls

Dear John Luff:
I need to install a monitor wall. Can you send me a list of monitor wall manufacturers? Also, do these processors combine both video and VGA signals? Do the processors provide multiple outputs that can be configured independently? What is the maximum resolution available?
Ravi Saksena

John Luff responds:
I hope my June 2006 Broadcast Engineering article on monitor walls was informative. As a matter of policy, my articles contain few, if any, specific references to manufacturers or products. Naming any individual company without including all companies would create a problem that I am sure you can understand.

However, the Broadcast Engineering Web site has a Digital Reference Guide that will allow you to identify key manufacturers. The Guide is organized by equipment categories and is available online at

This link will take you directly to the video monitor wall category:

Make sure to read the December 2006 issue of Broadcast Engineering, which will include an updated Digital Reference Guide.

IT training for engineers

Dear Brad Gilmer:
As an avid Broadcast Engineering reader and vice president of technology at my company, I always read your articles about IT and network technology with interest. With the rising tide of IT-based technology in our industry and the need for engineers and techs to handle and even embrace it, some retraining seems necessary.

I know there are schools in most cities, mine included, that offer certification programs and a variety of classes, some even online. But it's hard to know how these classes might be useful in our field. What formal training would you recommend for television engineers who want to establish a good, firm footing in the world of IT and network administration?
Ed Fraticelli

Brad Gilmer responds:
A great starting point is Al Kovalick's new book, “Video Systems in an IT Environment,” published by Focal Press. (For more information about the book, visit This is the first book I have seen that specifically covers IT for broadcast video professionals. It is an excellent read.

Books are a great way to learn. Pick a task that you need to perform, such as configuring a server so that you can use FTP. Go to the bookstore, and be prepared to spend some time looking through books until you find one that has a writing style easy to comprehend and that thoroughly covers the task at hand. Buy the book, and use it to solve your specific problem.

I must have 30 computer books on my shelves, and each was purchased to help me solve a particular problem. Soon you will have a library that is capable of providing the answers to most of your questions. Not only that, but you will find that the information you read will stick with you. I do not recommend buying a general book on computer networking and reading it from cover to cover. That information never seems to stick with me, with the exception of Al's book, of course.

If you are looking for basic information on networking, introductory classes at community colleges, universities and technical/vocational schools are available. Right now, the dominant technologies are Ethernet and TCP/IP, so classes related to these would be most useful.

I also suggest that an engineer become a system administrator for any type of UNIX system, including Linux and FreeBSD. Many graphics and post systems are UNIX-based, so working with these systems is a good way to get direct experience with hands-on networking. UNIX systems are a little more work to set up, and may require a little digging to get all the information needed to configure networking properly. However, when compared to a Windows box, this can be a perfect way to pick up the networking knowledge you need.

Both Microsoft and Cisco offer extensive classes and certification. At the risk of getting myself in a little hot water, I have to say I do not know if the average broadcast engineer really needs to go through all of this, unless you plan to administer several complex Windows servers or design a corporate network. Certainly these classes are a way to deepen your knowledge of the subject, but this approach will not provide you with the broadcast-specific training you might desire.

Editor's Note: Are you looking for high-quality broadcast, IT or operations training? Broadcast Engineering will begin offering online training soon. Look in the November issue for more information.

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