Review: The Roland V-160HD Hybrid Event Video Switcher

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6. Output Control

The V-160HD has several views (or output busses) to push to specific output ports for a wide range of applications:

  • Program: The final PGM/A composited feed from the switcher, including any or all active PinP/key or DSK effects. You can control it if you want PinP/key or DSK layers enabled or disabled in the program output within the menu settings.
  • Preview: The PST(B) feed for the “on deck” input
  • Aux: The selected input for the AUX mode on the console
  • Sub Program: Identical to the Program view, but with separate control for PinP/ key or DSK layers
  • 16 Input View: Outputs a 4x4 grid of all SDI and HDMI inputs
  • 16 Still View: Outputs a 4x4 grid of all still images stored on the V-160HD
  • Multiview: Outputs the PVW and PGM views side by side, along with eight cross-point input views

You can assign these views to any of the three SDI outputs, any of the three HDMI outputs, or the USB-C output. For my live event workflows, the expanded number of output ports over the Roland V-60HD would reduce my reliance on an SDI distribution hub to split a program feed to a recorder and two dedicated hardware encoders. The HDMI outputs can all be used, for example, for the operator to view all inputs, multiview, and program (or preview) across several displays simultaneously or to push to the projector(s) in use at the event venue.

I also love the embedded display on the V-160HD console in the upper right in Figure 1. You can check your inputs very quickly without the need for an external HDMI or SDI display.

7. Macros and Sequencer

While I wasn’t able to fully test these brandnew capabilities, the V-160HD switcher can record and store up to 100 macros, which can then be used with the new sequencer controls as well. (A macro is a list of ordered procedures you want to happen for any given effect in your program, just like you may have used macro scripts in desktop video/image-editing programs.) If you like tight control and preplanned visual effects for your live events, you’ll love these new features.

The demo unit I tested had several demo scripts pre-programmed, animating one or more PinP (or key) compositors from one area of the screen to the other. The new sequencer feature set allows you to arrange multiple memory and macro presets and manually step through them in an orderly fashion during your live event. It also lets you automate the procession between macros. In addition, you can load and save macros and sequences from USB memory.

As a quick aside, the demo unit uses a proprietary binary format for the saved macros or sequences when saved to USB memory. I was hoping to see a text-based format for these settings so that any text editor could be used to make new macros or sequences or modify them.

8. Enhanced Control With External Apps

Roland continues its tradition of enhanced control and display of its switcher settings with the Remote Control Software (RCS) desktop applications for Windows/macOS, as well as a new iPad app. I’ve used the RCS desktop apps with older Roland switchers, and I expect to see the same fine-tuned controls in the V-160HD version of the RCS app. The desktop RCS apps communicate with the V-160HD over the Ethernet connection, and the iPad app (Figure 3, below) requires a Wi-Fi connection to the same IP subnet that the V-160HD is connected to with the Ethernet port.

Figure 3. The Roland V-160HD iPad remote control utility

9. Console Button Highlight Colors

I’ve already written about my excitement over the extended console operations, which don’t require you to go menu hunting in the V-160HD, as you need to do in other switchers I’ve used. I’ll mention another feature that helps any switcher operator quickly learn and understand what’s happening and when: button highlight colors. The MODE button below the PinP/key 3 controls enables the operator to quickly switch between the aux, memory, and macro features and have specific coloring.

The PinP/key and DSK controls have unique highlight colors across the console as well. You should never be in the position of not knowing which setting is active on the console.

10. Physical Dimensions

I’m amazed that all of these features are packed into a unit that’s just barely bigger than the V-60HD switcher. The V-160HD would be a tight fit in the Pelican Air 1485 case that I use for the V-60HD, but I’d probably go with a larger case to accommodate the power supply as well.

There are so many more features in the V-160HD, such as PTZ camera control, remote tally support, user-defined buttons, and the 40-channel digital audio mixer, just to name a few. When you’re considering a new hardware video switcher, as hybrid events become the norm in this COVID era and beyond, I highly encourage you to check out the V-160HD.

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