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Not a hardware guy, so some of these terms might not be right..

A work project is looking to replace a commercial product with an internal solution for cheaper. The commercial product is just a table with a few buttons on it. Everyone who sits down at the table plugs a VGA cable into their laptop, and whoever pressed their table button last will have their laptop's display projected onto the large monitor at the head of the table.

This whole set up costs upwards of $10k, because you have to buy the entire ensemble at once. We're looking to duplicate the system for cheap. What I'm looking for is a VGA hub that can be controlled from a computer (preferably through USB). Looking for something with 4+ VGA inputs and 1 output. I've seen quite a few on Google, but they all have manual switches.

tl;dr: Looking for a 4 input, 1 output VGA switch which can use a USB connection to switch between the four possible inputs.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I don't have any specific hardware to recommend, but maybe this will point you in the right direction. KVM switches (keyboard/video/mouse) frequently use keyboard hotkeys to switch which computer is being controlled and displaying video. For example, one I had in the past used Ctrl+Alt+F1 for the first computer, Ctrl+Alt+F2 for the second, and so on. I have also seen customizable USB buttons that you could set up to toggle the displays based on the hotkey requirements of your KVM. Seems to me that with a little configuring, you ought to be able to get several USB buttons to each control the input of their own given VGA port.

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One thing I can't figure out: since KVMs only use one keyboard, I'm not sure how I could consolidate the signals from multiple buttons into a single USB input. More hardware perhaps? – Mannimarco Jun 19 '12 at 19:26
True. I think I was thinking backwards about that part. Your best option may be to use a little hardware hacking. A KVM like this appears to use momentary switches to control which video is displayed. If you soldered an external momentary switch to each switch location, you could place the external buttons wherever you wanted on the table. – techturtle Jun 19 '12 at 19:54
I'm wondering if a simple USB hub could pull it off. Plug all the keyboard-spoofing buttons into the hub, plug the hub into the KVM. – Mannimarco Jun 19 '12 at 20:02
For the KVMs you used with keyboard shortcuts, did you need to install software to use them? I ended up buying the one you linked to in the comments, and it requires software on each machine using it to use the keyboard shortcuts.. kinda weird, but I should've researched it better. I can certainly make this work, so I'll accept the answer. – Mannimarco Jun 28 '12 at 16:31

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