Black Box at NAB April 7-10, 2014

Black Box helps clients in the media and broadcasting industry design, build, deploy, and upgrade mission-critical monitoring and control solutions, video processing and distribution infrastructure, and high-performance networking systems to improve collaboration and productivity, lower operating costs, and simplify back-end support systems to deliver clear competitive advantages.

Come see these solutions in action at NAB (National Association Broadcasters), the world’s largest electronic media showing, April 7 – 10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

We’re located at booth N3119, next to Miranda and Ross in the North Hall. Stop by to learn about our professional broadcast and media solutions. This year we are featuring:

You can see more at If you’d like to schedule a specific time to visit and see product demonstrations, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Win an iPad, Chromebook, Tablet, and Laptop Cart!

Last week we announced the launch of a contest that will award a Black Box iPad®, Chromebook®, Tablet, and Laptop Cart to a lucky winner once every quarter through March 2015.

Our Tablet and Laptop Carts are perfect for schools, and safely charge and store tablets, laptops, netbooks, notebooks, and e-readers in a secure cart that adapts to changing needs and technology. Carts can also sync iPad tablets using iTunes®.12-Questions-Tablet-Laptop-Cart

The carts are uniquely designed with a standardized rack system and flexible configurations, which means that carts won’t have to be replaced every time users change or upgrade their tablets, laptops, or other devices. The carts can be easily reconfigured to meet evolving needs. User-friendly cable management bars enable simplified cable routing while also allowing easy changes. Additional options are available, including pre-wired units for maximum savings and efficiency—no IT staff is needed.

In addition, the carts were designed with safety in mind and are ideal for schools that use e-learning devices in the classroom. The carts have no ledges for children to climb, no sharp edges, and have internal electrical components for maximum safety. One option is a “pinchless” tambour door that helps prevent injury. The carts have locking doors and a locking rear-access panel to keep electronic devices secure.

To enter the Tablet and Laptop Cart Contest and get our free 12 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Tablet & Laptop Cart white paper, go to

The promotion is open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia who are at least eighteen (18) years old at the time of entry. Full Terms and Conditions here.

12 Questions to ask when choosing a tablet and laptop cart

E-learning devices are outstanding alternatives to expensive, heavy textbooks which, all too frequently, are either obsolete the moment they are published, or contain entire chapters that are not part of the curriculum.

The “digital conversion” of schools will only grow. E-learning devices support game- and project-based learning, create a collaborative environment, reduce costs, and can improve the quality of teaching and learning. But in order to realize these benefits, the devices must be kept safe, secure, and ready to go at a moment’s notice. We’ve given you twelve important questions to ask during the Tablet/Laptop Cart buying process.

1.      Is the cart adaptable and flexible, now and in the future? Will your devices fit?

Carts for e-learning devices should be able to store, charge, and even sync a wide range of equipment, from iPad® tablets and Chromebooks® to laptops and e-readers, in the same cart. As your needs change in the future, the carts should be able to adapt to the latest technology or even hold a different type of device entirely.

For example, when considering a tablet and laptop cart, ask yourself if it can be reconfigured by swapping out the shelving, changing the slot size, etc. Technology is constantly changing, so the solution you buy today should be able to accommodate the devices you will be using two years, or more, from now.

What size devices do you have or plan on purchasing? Be sure the cart’s slot size will accommodate them, with and without a cover or case if you plan on using one.

2.       Does the cart have good cable management?

Perhaps one of the most important features to consider when choosing a cart, the time it takes to set up the wiring can add up to thousands of dollars in additional cost—both in time and labor. No one has the budget to invest in hours of IT time just to get a computer cart ready to go. An IT staff of one or two people should easily be able to wire the carts and maintain them.

User-friendly cable management bars and power brick wraps enable easy cable routing while also allowing easy changes. Some carts on the market come pre-wired for maximum savings and efficiency. When looking at carts, find out how long it would take to add each device.

If you plan to store, for example, 30 tablets in a cart, that equates to a lot of cable and power bricks. The inside of the cart can get messy very quickly.

Choose a cart with a good cable management solution that enables you to easily swap out a bad power brick or replace a cord without having to sort through spaghetti. In addition, power bricks can get hot, so be sure there is enough space around each one to facilitate cooling.

Continue reading

The difference between converters and scalers

Video converters, at their most basic, convert and reformat signals from one video interface for another type of video interface, such as ones that enable you to display VGA computer video on an NTSC or PAL TV. Basic video converters are neither scalers nor scan converters. This means that the resolution of the video signal at output is the same as the input signal, which can be a problem if you’re trying to send PC video to an HDMI-enabled display. Therefore, if you set your PC at a resolution of 1024 x 768 (XGA), your display may not show the HDMI image. In this case, you have to set your PC’s resolution to either 640 x 480 at 60 Hz (VGA interpreted as 480p), 800 x 600 at 50 Hz (SVGA interpreted as 576p), 1280 x 720 at 60 Hz (WXGA interpreted as 720p), or 1920 x 1080 (1080p).

Video Converter Diagram

[click to enlarge]

A scaler is a device that samples an input signal and scales it up or down to a resolution and timing suitable for the display. A scaler may optionally also convert the signal to a different format. A scaler that downscales video is sometimes called a scan converter.

Scalers are particularly useful when you want to connect different analog and digital equipment for output on a common display, such as in a presentation environment where you don’t want to fiddle with controls to get the picture right. All you do is set the output resolution to match the native resolution of the connect display.

Scalers that support switching take this concept further, enabling you to electronically switch video inputs and letting the box automatically make the necessary adjustments. Continue reading