Edirol - V-1 - $800 - The least expensive consumer video quality offering. 4 composite or S-video inputs. Very basic and poor video output quality.
Edirol - V-4 - $1,000 - The only one with faceplate skins. It's aimed at the musicians market with the included MIDI control. Very basic.
Edirol - LVS-400 - $1,500 - At least it includes the professional BNC composite video inputs instead of the decidedly consumer RCA jacks. Basic key (text/graphics overlay) control, but not while mixing.
Videonics - MX 4 - $1,900 - A beginners video switcher. Limited quality processing, only 4 inputs, which can either be S-video or composite, the lowest forms of video quality. Very much a consumer model.
Videonics - MX 4DV - $3,500 - The big brother to the MX-4. Limited quality processing again, but now with DV (FireWire) inputs, too. It says 12 inputs, but you can only use four at a time. Using the other inputs requires setting it up in the menu, which isn't very practical for using more than 4 sources at once. This is a pro-sumer model.
NewTek - TriCaster - $4,995 - New this year, this small shoebox sized all-in-one PC/switcher/CG/NLE is a very attractive price point for the amount of bang-for-buck. With a built in streaming server for webcasts and a DDR (like a Digital VCR) for playback, Chroma and Luma Keying and limited video editing, this is one packed little unit. It only allows for 3 inputs, however, of Composite, S-Video or FireWire and similar outputs with a slight delay in the output of a couple of frames. Optionally, the TriCaster VM add-on switcher interface is a welcome addition over mouse and keyboard clicking ($995).
DataVideo - SE-800 - $5,200 - The first of the industrial quality (better than consumer and prosumer) video switchers, this 4 input (at one time) switcher accepts FireWire, Composite, S-Video and Component Video inputs. It also provides outputs in Composite, S-Video, Component and SDI, making it very affordable for a decent quality switcher. The SE-800 also includes a basic Character Generator, a dual channel TBC (Time Base Corrector) and genlock.
NewTek - VT - $6,495+ - The bigger version for the all-in-one PC/switcher/CG/NLE/router is the step up from the TriCaster. With the optional Break Out Box (SX-84 - $1,995), up to 8 component inputs or 8 Y/C (S-Video) + 8 Composite or 24 composite inputs (and so on) are possible. With multiple DDRs (like a Digital VCR) for playback, Chroma and Luma Keying and a full-featured non linear editor, the VT is quite a capable unit. The processing is excellent, so video quality is quite high. Again, it's an all-in-one box, so it may be overkill for some churches.
Panasonic - AG-MX70 - $6,300 - In my opinion, this is the best sub-$10K switcher in terms of connectivity and picture quality, the MX70 is an 8 input switcher that comes standard with 4 component analog and 4 S-video or Composite inputs. A 4 input SDI input board is also an option ($2,700) as is a 3D DVE board ($2,700). Fitted with a decent sized on-board LCD screen, menu controls are fairly easy to access.
Sony - DFS-700 - $15,000 - The high-end of the industrial level switchers belongs to Sony's DFS Series. The 700B continues the legacy started by the venerable DFS-500. Full 4:2:2:4 component digital processing with true (not letterbox) 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio options and a true Down Stream Keyer (DSK) and tally control for cameras make this a serious contender as a very good quality IMAG switcher. Like the Panasonic AG-MX70, the DFS-700 offers an optional SDI input board ($2,500) to add 4 additional SDI inputs, a second channel effects board ($3,500) and a 3D Video mapping effects board ($4,000). It comes standard with four SDI and four component analog inputs.
Broadcast Pix - Studio2000 - $18,500 - Similar to the VT in terms of an all-in-one box, the Studio 2000 includes a switcher with 18 inputs, 4:3 or 16:9 selectable, SDI inputs, a clip store (DDR), still store and logo store. Unique to this level switcher are the 'PixButtons' which allow you to label each input on the program bus electronically. The unit also includes an Inscriber CG, but no NLE (like the VT). The quality is very good and the switcher hardware has a nice layout. This is a good IMAG switcher.
Ross - Synergy 100SD - $20,000 - Easily my favorite of the true broadcast quality production switchers, Ross utilizes the same card chassis as the large format Synergy 1 switcher, allowing for a clear upgrade path. With 16 inputs (all SDI or analog Composite) and 12 SDI outputs, this is a switcher with a full AUX bus that can even have an optional dedicated ($1,600) or assignable (matrix - $1,750) output control. So in addition to being a full featured switcher with dual DSK channels that can be cut/dissolved/wiped with or separate from the video switch, the chassis acts like a matrix router, making it a very cost effective unit. Like other broadcast level professional switchers, there are dozens of option cards ranging from a clean feed output ($300) to a full 3D warp card ($6,000) or a clip server ($15,000).
Echolab - Identity 4 - $16,000 - A compact 16 input 12 output SDI production switcher with a solid feature set and 10BaseT Ethernet capability for remote diagnostics or even limited control. The Nova identity4 uses "system-on-chip" architecture to centralize the firmware and allow for hardware configuration updates via Compact Flash cards. Eight custom or previous versions can be stored on the card, allowing for repeated production tasks to be recalled quickly. The Nova ID4 features six keyers (only two downstream), four chroma keyers, five pattern generators, two 2D DVEs with rotation, and an intuitive interface. Another great option for an IMAG or small broadcast switcher.
Thomson Grass Valley - Kayak DD - $25,000 - Similar to the Ross Syngery 100, this unit offers 16 inputs, up to four Down Stream Keyers and 10 timed AUX buses. Options abound here as well, such as the RAM Recorder for internal clip and still sotrage, optional RGB color correction controls or even optional source name displays for 'NameFollowVideo' in 2 M/E control panel configuration. Also similar to the Ross Synergy 100SD, the multiple AUX outputs are matrix routable, making the switcher a very powerul router as well. This is another great IMAG or Broadcast video switcher option.