KVM vendor Rose Electronics has announced a new quad-display switch that allows any four of many connected KVM switches or computers to be operated on the same screen simultaneously.

The rack-mounted device allows you not just to view the screens though, you can interact with them too, which is unique, claimed Rose's Giles Prewett. What that means is that, as long as you display device is big enough to show sufficient detail, you can operate up to four computers. Clicking and dragging zooms in on one of the screens.

From an IT perspective, typical usage would include data centre and server room control where each quadrant could display a bank of switches, broadcast centres or simply where a quad video set-up needs to be displayed on one large composite screen. Compatibility with Rose CrystalView extenders allows users to view and control computers generated locally and/or remotely up to six miles away.

"From a monitoring perspective, you'll be able to see if there's a problem, then you click on that and it zooms out to full screen," said Prewett. Other applications include stock market trading floors, and education. According to Prewett, teachers and lecturers can show and compare students' work onscreen simultaneously.

QuadraView provides three viewing modes: quad-screen where the displays are of similar sizes and any can be controlled, picture-in-picture (PiP) where the prime (controlled) source is the prevalent image and the others are in smaller windows, and full screen where only the selected computer is viewed, and other sources are hidden. Apart from computers or KVM switches, other DVI video sources such as security cameras or DVD players can be displayed, switched and managed in any quadrant. It can display resolutions of up to 1900x1200, and is firmware-upgradeable.

Prewett covered the product's development. "We're a private company, and the two engineers who started it are still running it. They're involved in day-to-day operations, so all projects originate from them. And this, like most of our products, come out of conversation between the boss, Peter Macourek, and customers who phone him directly and tell him what they'd like our products to be able to do."

European director Paul Naish said: "Users can work on any one screen just by rolling the mouse across from one to the other. Rose has been careful to include support for as many types of device as possible, so QuadraView could be used for instance to control four completely separate and different KVM switches at once.”

"QuadraView professional is built to the same high specification as our other products currently used by NASA, US military and US Federal and state governments. One of the reasons we find ourselves handling such critical tasks is that we have the lowest independently tested failure rate of any vendor on the market," said Naish.

The UK price is £3,500 plus VAT. Prewett said that the Texas-based company also plans to launch a Cat5-based KVM switch next month that will allow greater convenience and distance to be covered between console and computer.