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BenQ Knowledge Center

What is the best 4K Split Screen System for your Collaboration Space?

BenQ
2020/04/03

 

Looking for the best way to enable your meetings to be more effective to solve problems faster.  The answer is easy – divide up your display so that you can see more information at the same time.

Most companies are now using higher-resolution displays such as 4K projectors and flat panels in their meeting rooms and collaboration spaces. These displays can be split to enable multiple presenters to share their content on the screen at the same time – without losing critical detail.

There are three types of products that will enable a 4K screen to be split for multiple presenters:

  • Gefen or similar digital HDMI Switch
  •  Crestron or other HDBaseT Switcher
  • BenQ InstaShow S or similar Wireless Screen Mirroring System

To compare these systems, we will look at the following criteria:

  • Is it easy to set up?
  • Is any extra equipment needed?

  • What devices are supported?
Option #1 – Gefen 600 4x1 Multiview HDMI switcher

The Gefen EXT-UHD600A-MSVL-41 is a good example of a multi-view HDMI switcher, where the four different presenters each plug in an HDMI cable to their device.  Selling for about $1600, the switcher is designed to be placed into an AV rack and can be controlled by a programmable touch panel or other control systems. 

Option #2 – Crestron 4K Multi-Window Video Processor

The Crestron HD-WP-4K-401-C is a popular choice to split your screen into four different sections and adds the capability of using an HDBaseT cable to avoid the signal loss that can happen in a standard HDMI cable run over 15 feet.   These systems run about $7000 and are sold through integrators.  Like the Gefen, they are best controlled via programmable touch panels.  AMX, Extron, and BiAmp have similar solutions.

Option #3 – InstaShow S Wireless Presentation System

 

The InstaShow S also allows four presenters to connect to the display using special HDMI transmitters that encrypt the HDMI signal and send it to the receiver.  This system is unique in that it leverages wireless technology integrated into a HDMI button transmitter instead of a programmable touch panel to share their screen.   It also can connect to wireless devices such as phones and tablets via Miracast and Airplay. This system runs $1499 with no additional equipment needed.

Is it easy to set up?

Both the Crestron and the Gefen systems are hard-wired systems designed to be mounted into an AV rack.   Both these units require five separate cables, and either a space for the video processor in the AV rack – or an accessible location near the display (since most meeting rooms will not put it on the table).   These cables will need to be long enough to reach both the display and collaboration area, and be properly hidden in walls, floors, or the ceiling depending on the room.  Also – you will need to check if you need fire rated HDMI cables – and test to ensure that the signal is strong enough if the cable is longer than 10 feet.  Bottom line – installing either of these units in a collaboration space will take some time and effort.

By contrast, the BenQ InstaShow S is simple to install.  Simply plug in the receiver to power and connect it to the HDMI port of the display.  The transmitter buttons come with an attractive tabletop holder that sits on the table.   Bottom line – you can install an InstaShow in less than 10 minutes without help from IT.   

Is any extra equipment needed?

In a wired system using HDMI or HDBaseT, you will need to consider purchasing additional items such as a cable cuddy to organize the cables under the conference room table, and a control system with a touch panel that enables you to manage who is presenting on the screen.  You should also consider a budget for services such as contractors to cut the holes for cable management system and programming services for touch panel configuration and deployment.

The BenQ InstaShow S is designed to eliminate the need for any additional equipment or programming by transmitting an encrypted HDMI signal over a private wireless network.  You can connect and control the system over a LAN network if needed – or operate it as a standalone device without ever having to connect to the network.  The button on the transmitter can shift the display from single to multi-presenter mode without any programming – and the unit will dynamically allocate the screens on the display depending on the number of presenters.

What devices are supported?

All three systems have excellent device support for AV equipment and can handle any HDMI source regardless if it is a computer, camera, or video conferencing system.   The simplicity of plugging in a cable is a major time saver in meetings.

The InstaShow S also can support any standard HDMI source, as well as use standard streaming protocols such as Miracast and Airplay to enable teams to wirelessly present from an Android or iOS device.   For example, you could have one presenter presenting from a Windows notebook and another from a digital camera using the HDMI transmitter buttons – while other presenters share from an Android tablet and an iPhone using Miracast and Airplay.   This offers a more flexible solution for collaboration rooms than traditional cables.

Comparison Table

  BenQ InstaShow S Gefen HDMI Switcher Crestron HDBaseT Switcher
 
Ease of Installation
BenQ InstaShow S
Very Simple
Gefen HDMI Switcher
Complex
Crestron HDBaseT Switcher
Complex
 
Number of Cables required
BenQ InstaShow S
None – Wireless
Gefen HDMI Switcher
Five – may need to be fire-rated
Crestron HDBaseT Switcher
Five – may need to be fire-rated
 
Extra Equipment Considerations
BenQ InstaShow S
None
Gefen HDMI Switcher
Cable Cuddy
Touch Panel
Controller
AV Rack
Crestron HDBaseT Switcher
Cable Cuddy
Touch Panel
Controller
AV Rack
 
Extra Services Considerations
BenQ InstaShow S
None
Gefen HDMI Switcher
Labor for Cable cuddy insert and cable installation
Programming cost for the controller
Crestron HDBaseT Switcher
Labor for Cable cuddy insert and cable installation
Programming cost for the controller
 
Notebook and Media Player support
BenQ InstaShow S
Any HDMI source
Gefen HDMI Switcher
Any HDMI source
Crestron HDBaseT Switcher
Any HDMI source
 
Wireless Mobile Device Support
BenQ InstaShow S
AirPlay (iOS)
Miracast (Windows & Android)
InstaShare App
Gefen HDMI Switcher
None
Crestron HDBaseT Switcher
None
 
Estimated Hardware Cost 
BenQ InstaShow S
$1,499
Gefen HDMI Switcher
$1,600
Crestron HDBaseT Switcher
$7,000

Want to talk to an expert who can help you with a presentation system?

Sometimes it can be difficult to find answers to your questions when trying to find the right presentation system for your business.  For customers looking for advice on choosing the right system for their business, you can talk directly to an experienced BenQ product expert who has access to every InstaShow model and can guide you to the best one for your application.  We also can help you find a reseller nearby, or if you want, you can purchase one right on the phone.   You can reach them at 888-818-5888.   If you want to email them instead, you can reach them at BenqB2B.BQA@Benq.com

Other resources

questions on the BenQ Knowledge Center which has more detailed articles on common questions.  You can also check out reviews of popular models on many websites including different display focused websites like Projectorreviews.com.

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