Review of ATEN control system (incorporating VK2100 controller)

Reviewed by Ian Doddridge, managing director and owner of Audio Install

Where have you used this product?

I installed the product at the Bierkeller in Cardiff, which holds nearly a 1,000 people. There are three main bars here – including a traditional German beer cellar, a sports bar and another specialist beer bar. The Bierkeller features around 55 displays in total, as well as a 5m x 4m video matrix. There are twelve inputs altogether and the content shown varies, ranging from sports inputs to DVD and computer inputs.

Why did you choose this product?

We bought the product because the client wanted to be able to control the entire system with iPads, and this system manages all the inputs and screens in a controlled and suitable manner.

We didn’t choose this particular product because of cost, because the price actually was a little bit more expensive then other options. Looking into the history of ATEN and their product line, as well as speaking to other people who have used their equipment led me towards the final conclusion that this was probably the best product I could use. I’d worked with some ATEN products before (splitters etc.), but never on this scale.

What do you like about it?

It works. You can’t underestimate the importance of things working properly and for people like me who are travelling over 200 miles to install a system, when I leave it, I don’t want have to keep having to go back to do things.

I’ve also been in the game for quite a long time and I’ve dealt with lots of different manufacturers for a range of projects, but I’ve never had after-sales service as good as with ATEN before. In the first place there were a few glitches and they pulled out all the stops and even brought out engineers from Taiwan to make sure that the system worked properly and was stable.

I’ve since used their equipment for two other installations working through iPads, and have plans to work on them on another Bierkeller installation.

What additional features would you like to see?

I think integrated monitors would be a good idea, because in this installation there were three matrix systems running parallel and I had to put a small separate monitor on each one of those.

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