I went ahead and jumped. I have 4 in hand and more on the way.
The lack of excitement means I think, that people don't know what the box can do.
As these are configured, they have 8 built in wideband inputs, 2 built in wideband outs, and 4 HD-SDI output Universal Scalers. That's 4 1080P or selectably lower SDI outputs. Each selected from any of the 8 inputs on the fly. Inputs that can be RGB (VGA), Component, S-Video, Composite... Grab a HDMI to VGA converter and you've got HDMI for the new toys without component outs.
What I use it for is to feed a Blackmagic Design Decklink Quad. It's 4 HD-SDI capture inputs in one card slot. All piped seamlessly right into Arena. Which frees up slots for RAID controllers and more video cards.
So, 4 live camera feeds? 4 other Computers? Your iPad or Android device? Media Players... With push button or scriptable automated on the fly selection.
I go a bit further, and have a wideband matrix switch in my rig. I have all 8 video outs from my arena box run into the switcher along with my backup server and other toys. The media players, the ipad, the blueray, the two guest VJ ports... Then I run 4 of the backbone switcher outputs to the 824. The scalers stay set at whatever output that you choose and will auto detect and adjust to whatever you feed them. So no more hunting for the right setting to get your capture device synced. Once you got it, it stays. The cards also each have a test signal generator, position, zoom, and lots of other adjustments.
I'm also excited about having the ability now to output SDI to the venue. Some of the places I play are SDI only, and with the 824, I'm in control of the conversion. Not the monkey in the booth in back.
An SDI matrix switch will be my next investment, for flipping between the 824 and HD Camera feeds into the Decklink Quad and Venue feeds out. Go look at the price of HD-SDI cameras. Compared to our other HD options, those things can be had dirt cheap. It offsets the thousand dollar BMD card fast.
Pricing wise, I got a great deal, but they were not free.
I think 750 for the 824 frame with one card in it.
1000 for 2 cards
1250 for 3
1500 for 4.
That's cheaper for 4 than most single universal scalers sell for used and a tenth of list.
I'm also open to a bit of barter. Specific toys I'm after:
ChamSys Magicq Maxi PC wing
16x16 or better hd-sdi matrix switch (a BMD videohub would do nicely)
3k+ HD projectors
ISM-RGB cards for the ISM-824
Other sexy VJ or lightguy toys...
If you have any questions, or would like me to try a particular configuration, let me know.