Or “Do I need a switcher?”
The previous presenter finished. My colleague went up to help the next speaker. Everyone in the room watched as they removed one laptop, wrapped up its power cable, unplugged the mouse, plugged in the new computer and switched the video cable. The next presenter’s laptop came up on the screen and everyone could see the desktop was entirely covered in files – while my colleague tried to assist the presenter find the correct powerpoint, 125 people started checking their email and chatting among themselves. They needed a switcher!
A switcher is a device which connects multiple computers (sources) to a projector or display. It lets you choose which source is displayed on the screen at a given moment. Many switchers also have the option to display a saved logo screen or additional graphics. There’s actually a lot of options and levels of complexity with switchers, but for our purposes here let’s cover when you do not need a switcher:
- The meeting is casual, and doesn’t need a polished presentation.
- There is only one computer that will be used for slideshows or videos, or you don’t mind if there’s a delay as presenters swap computers and troubleshoot any connection issues.
- The people who are presenting are fairly technically competent.
- You don’t mind if attendees see the desktop and the computer operator opening files / manipulating programs.
- You know the presentation computer is reliable and has no issues with malware or crashing.