Routers Buyers Guide

What is a router?

When talking about routers in production environments we are simply talking about devices designed to take inputs from different sources and route them to outputs. Routers are nearly always described by how many inputs and outputs they have so it’s very common to see 4x4 all the way up to 288x288 and beyond. In these cases what these values indicate are that the device has both 4 inputs and 4 outputs and of these inputs can be sent to any or all of the outputs.

How does it differ to a switcher?

Commonly routers are not designed to switch synchronously and unless a reference signal, like blackburst or Tri-level sync is fed to the router, you will see a drop out in the signal when it switches. Mixers and switchers are designed to switch synchronously so that any cut is cleanly done and instantaneously.

Routers fit into so many different workflows ranging from large studios and facilities to cruise ships or universities where you may wish to have different videos displaying on a variety of screens. Having sources connected to a router reduces the need for each display to have its own source feeding it. You can even place a router in front of a vision mixer if you have more sources than inputs on the switcher. This gives you greater flexibility when it comes to selecting sources.

Salvos / Macros

Professional routers often support what are known as salvos or macros. These are predetermined lists of routes that switch immediately. If you have a default routing that you revert to at the beginning of everyday or even presets depending on the time of day or programme you are working on, marcos and salvos take the hassle out of configuring your router.

Our perception of colour and luminance can be quite easily influenced.
Can you tell which of thesecentre grey boxes is brighter?

Control Panels

Hardware control panels make switching sources on a router much easier with physical buttons that allow you to select between source and destinations. These can also be used to fire salvos or macros.

RCP Touchdown

Some devices support what’s commonly referred to an RCP touchdown. Using a device like the Blackmagic Design GPU and Tally box allows you to close a contact which temporarily switches a source on your router. This is a common workflow for any racks engineer who is camera shading via a CCU (Camera Control Unit). By allowing them to flick between different cameras to ensure they line-up.

The best routers

There you have it, everything you need to know when choosing a router. We hope you've found this buyers guide helpful. Don't hesitate to contact one of our friendly advisors for more advice if you still have questions on how to select the perfect router. If you’re all set to go we recommend checking out the routers from these top brands.