Digital Zone S6 4K HDR HDMI Splitter Review
Two into eight equals 4K HDR
What is the Digital Zone HVS-6208?The Digital Zone S6 is a 4K HDR HDMI splitter that allows you to run multiple displays from one or more sources. Granted it's not a product you are ever likely to need under normal circumstances but there are occasions where it can be useful to run multiple displays in such a way. Stores obviously do this a lot, as well as exhibitions or digital advertising, and it's also handy for running comparisons and testing multiple displays simultaneously - which means Digital Zone's S6 is a product that really piques our interest here at AVForums. The S6 is made in South Korea and comes in two versions – the HVS-6204 which can run four displays simultaneously and the HVS-6208 which can handle eight. As at the time of writing (September 2017) the former will set you back around £400 and the latter costs about £500. The HVS-6208 is the model that's in for review and whilst even we are unlikely to actually need to run eight displays simultaneously, we're certainly interested to see how it performs.
DesignThe S6 is surprisingly attractive for an HDMI splitter and it adopts a two-tone approach with a combination of silver and black. The top uses a gloss black finish, the front and sides are a matte silver and there is a black lower section with a clear panel at the front. There are air vents at the sides and rear and the S6 includes a fan, which is audible when near the splitter. There are some basic controls along the front, a blue power indicator LED to the left and blue indicator LEDs in the clear section below the controls, whilst all the connections are at the rear. The construction is plastic and the build quality is very light, which makes the S6 less well-made than it appears. This is a shame as we'd like to see a professional product like this have a more robust construction. There is an external AC power adapter that connects to a socket at the rear of the S6.
The S6 isn't as well made as it's attractive design might suggest
Connections & ControlAt the rear of the S6, along with the socket for the power adapter, are all the other connections. Here you'll find two HDMI inputs and eight HDMI outputs, all of which support up to 4K/60p, HDR and HDCP 2.2. There is also an RS232 connector for external serial control, a connection port for an IR extender and a USB port for firmware updates.
There are two ways to control the S6, either using the touch sensitive controls on the front of the splitter or using the provided remote control. On the front there is a power on/off button, a function button and four numbered buttons with 1 and 2 allowing you to select between input 1 or input 2. Conversely there is the infrared remote control, which is rather small and fiddly but also has a power on/off button and four input buttons, although only 1 and 2 are applicable. There's also a function button and eight function keys with the first four related to the splitter's dynamic modes and the second four related to its static modes.
There are two HDMI inputs, eight HDMI outputs and a small remote control
Features & SpecsIn terms of features, as we've already mentioned the S6 includes an infrared remote control and the splitter has two HDMI inputs and eight HDMI outputs. The HDMI 2.0a connections can support up to 4096 x 2160p at 60Hz (YCbCr/RGB 4:4:4) as well as High Dynamic Range (HDR), BT2020 and HDCP 1.4 and 2.2, all at 18Gbps. The S6 has a series of indicator LEDs along the front that show Sync, which indicates valid input signals, HDCP which shows that either HDCP 1.4 or 2.2 is being used, EDID if emulation is being used, HDR if the signal includes HDR metadata and Input which shows which of the two inputs is being used.
In terms of its functions the S6 offers four dynamic modes and four static modes. To select the dynamic modes you can either press the F key on the remote and select 1-4 or touch the F button on the front for more than 2 seconds and then select 1-4. To select the static modes you simply press the F key on the remote and select 5-8 or double click the F key on the front and the select from 1-4 again. When selecting a mode the FE1-FE4 LEDs on the front of the splitter will blink and the selected mode will then be illuminated.
In terms of the dynamic modes, F1 is Normal, which is the safety configuration that chooses the relative output of all the connected display devices. F2 is Max Audio which chooses the relative video output of all the connected display devices but uses the maximum setting for the audio. F3 is the Copy mode which follows the EDID information of the display connected to the first HDMI output. Finally F4 is Max All and this mode selects the maximum video and audio capability based on all the connected displays.
The static modes are 1080i which forces video at 1080i/50, 60Hz and audio at 2-channel PCM, 1080p which forces video at 1080p/50, 60Hz and audio at 2-channel PCM. There is also 4K which forces video at 4K (2160p/30Hz or equivalent) and audio at 2-channel PCM, and finally there's 4K 6G which forces video at 4K 6G (2160p/60Hz or equivalent) and audio at 2-channel PCM.
The splitter is easy to setup and the presence of a USB port means the firmware can be updated
PerformanceSetting up the S6 is very straight forward and for the purposes of our testing we connected two sources to the splitter – our Murideo Fresco Six-G pattern generator and an Oppo UDP-205 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player. We then connected two 4K displays to the S6 and selected the normal mode. That was it and we could then switch between the two sources whilst simultaneously display images on both displays. There is plenty of flexibility in terms of the configuration of the S6 and if, for some reason, eight displays wasn't enough, you can actually run many more by simply daisy-chaining a number of S6s together.
In terms of performance there was no degradation of the image, the splitter didn't have any issues with HDMI handshaking or HDCP and the switching was seamless and immediate with no delays or other issues. The S6 could pass whatever we sent through it and we used the Murideo to select a number of different resolutions and signal types, all of which the splitter handled with ease. Perhaps most importantly it passed High Dynamic Range without any issues and we were pleased to see that it handled both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, which will come in handy for further evaluation of those two formats. The firmware on the S6 can also be updated via the USB port, so hopefully the splitter should be able to keep track with any future developments (Hybrid Log-Gamma or HDR10+ perhaps) but as it stands, the S6 does everything we need from a splitter.
It's a cliché but the S6 does exactly what it says on the tin and does it well
- Effective performance
- Easy to setup and use
- Attractive design
- Eight HDMI outputs
- Remote is small and fiddly
- Build quality is rather flimsy
Digital Zone S6 4K HDR HDMI Splitter ReviewThe Digital Zone S6 is one of those products that does exactly what it says on the tin, it's an HDMI splitter that can handle 4K and HDR. You can connect two sources and then run four or eight displays simultaneously, depending on whether you go for the HVS-6204 or HVS-6208. The splitter can handle all the current standards, including Dolby Vision, and it performed perfectly with no HDMI handshaking or HDCP issues. It's easy to setup and use and very flexible in terms of its configuration. The design of the unit itself is attractive but the remote is very small and fiddly and the build quality is poor for a professional product. However if you need to run four or eight displays simultaneously then the S6 will get the job done and it will do it well.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £499.00
Ease of Use9
Value for Money9
Our Review Ethos
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