Which AV Switchbox?

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by BenS1, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. BenS1

    BenS1
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    Hi all,

    I've searched to see if this has been answered already and whilst there are lots of similar posts, there doesn't appear to be one that answers my exact question. If however I've missed it and its already been answered before then I apologise for wasting your time.

    Basically, my AV system consists of (or soon will) a Sony KDL-40X2000 LCD screen (With 2 HDMI inputs), an XBox 360, a DVD player, Sky HD and a PS3 (When they are out) and a Sony Dolby Digital/DTS Amp system.

    The problem is I'll have 4 devices with HDMI outputs and only 2 inputs on the TV, so obviously I need a switchbox. But then theres the audio too, the Amp has 1 Optical Digital input and 1 Coax digital input, and again I have 4 devices I need to attach (Note that the DVD player has both optical and coax digital outputs but the other 3 have just optical outputs).

    So, I need a HDMI switchbox and an Otical Digital Switchbox.

    I've found a few of each type, however I was wondering if anyone made a good quality combined switchbox, i.e. it switches both HDMI and optical digital?

    Also, I should mention that I'm not rich so can't afford something that costs loads.

    Forgot to mention, the TV is 1080p and I'd like to use its full potential (e.g. Blu Ray, PS3 etc) so any switcher must be able of handling a 1080p input. I'm guessing this wont be a problem as the switcher should just pass the signal through untouched, but worth mentioning just incase.

    Thanks for your help
    Ben
     
  2. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello Ben

    I love it - 'I'm not rich'; but I have a £4k telly :)

    Two options that fit the bill - so to speak!

    Octava HDS4A-UK - low cost (£200.00), well designed and implement 4x1 HDMI + Optical + Coaxial switch; see http://www.octavainc.com/HDMI switch 4port_toslink.htm

    Zektor HDVI5 - more costly (£365.00) though with a few key features that may suit you better; see http://www.zektor.com/hdvi5/index.html.

    The key feature the Zektor adds to the party is Digital Audio Cross conversion - Input a mix of Coaxial and Optical Audio and all sources are Output on both the Coaxial and Optical Outputs; you then only require a single Digital Audio cable to your AV Receiver.

    Best regards

    Joe

    PS 1080p can be a problem for many switches - though not the units linked too above!
     
  3. BenS1

    BenS1
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    :) I've not got the TV yet, but hopefully it'll be an RRP of around £3500 and actually retail for under £3k. Some sites offer it at £2800 already!

    Thanks for your recommendations. Both products look great. :thumbsup:

    For me the Zektor looks most interesting, simply because of the RS232 port (I'm a Software Engineer.). Unfortunately the protocol documentation says "Coming Soon", hopefully very soon.

    The one obvious thing I notice about the Zektor is that it uses DVI ports instead of HDMI ports. Obviously I can use HDMI to DVI cables for the inputs and output, but does this have any negative effects?

    At first I thought that I'd lose the audio signal from the HDMI port as DVI can't carry audio... but apparently it can and does.

    So, do you know of any reason why the Zektor uses DVI instead of HDMI, and is it anything to worry about?

    Thanks again for your help
    Ben
     
  4. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello BenS1

    I may have a pre Release RS232 manual on file - I'll come back to you on that one.

    The Zektor has lots of great features that make a lot of sense once you see it in action.

    There is an HDMI equipped version (HDMI5) coming later in the year - mind you a lot of Installers prefer to use DVI cables and connectors as you have a 'secure' connection; unlike HDMI and its horrible 'push fit' affair.

    I believe at the time of its launch the HDMI chip sets the folk at Zektor wanted to use simply weren't available so they stuck with DVI; which they had used successfully on an earlier model.

    As you say the HDVI5 is one of the few units on that market that carries both Audio and Video through DVI sockets.

    Compatibility wise the HDVI5 has been very good so far with HDMI and DVI equipped Source and Display devices.

    Joe

    PS An awful lot of the sites with very low pricing on the KDL-46X2000 (RRP is £4k) don't have stock and when you go to the sites the price seems too miraculously jump up by a few hundred pounds.
     
  5. BenS1

    BenS1
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    Hi Joe,

    Thanks again for your help.

    If you do have a pre-release RS232 manual I'd be very interested in having a look.

    Do you have an actual release date for the HDMI5?
    I thought HDMI and DVI were pin compatable and only the connector was different, and so surely they use the same chipset? I'm not an expert though, so could be wrong.

    Thanks for the advice on the TV too. We're going for the 40" (Out next month I think) and not the 46", so hopefully it wont be 4k (Even from Sony themselves).

    Thanks
    Ben
     
  6. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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  7. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Me again

    Whilst DVI and HDMI ought to be fully interoperable our little friend HDCP makes a mockery of that idea.

    HDCP is not mandatory with HDMI nor DVI and HDMI and DVI chip set vendors implement it differently so you can run into all sorts of issues when you mix and match DVI and HDMI equipped devices.

    If every video signal you watched was free of HDCP its not an issue - though that's a bit of a long shot for most folk.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  8. BenS1

    BenS1
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    Thanks for letting me know about the manual being on the website now, and thanks for the info on HDMI vs DVI.

    So given potential problems with HDCP I guess its best for me to wait for the HDMI5 later this year? Hope its out soon.

    Thanks
    Ben
     
  9. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Hi Joe, do these HDMI switchers have more than 1 output?

    For example, is it possible to feed 2 inputs (Sky HD & 868) into it and switch either of those to 2 different outputs (504HDE & HD72i)?

    I was considering upgrading my amp but the new Pioneer AX4 still only has 1 HDMI output which is no good for switching between 2 HD displays.

    I'm not bothered about audio as that will be taken care of via Firewire/optical.
     
  10. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello all

    BenmS1 - if your not in a rush the HDMI5 is possibly the way to go; though so far we've had no problems between DVI and HDMI with the HDVI5.

    Brogan - the Zektor units have a single Digital Output; which you can split to 2,4,6 or 8 HDMI equipped Display devices using a Gefen HDMI Distribution amplifier.

    Gefen have a Four Input Twin Output HDMI switch - you can view One source on one or both of the Outputs.

    Octava have a new 3x2 Cross switch - you view One Source on Output A and a DIFFERENT Source on Output B.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  11. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Thanks Joe - that sounds like a bit of an inelegant solution.

    Presumably both of these devices hace suficicent bandwidth to allow the signal to be switched without any degradation?
     
  12. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello Brogan

    The Gefen Distributions units are ideal for all manner of installations - the Distribution amps don't require any user intervention as all of the Outputs are always active so once installed you never need to touch them.

    The Octava and Gefen units are very clean - the Octava units have automatic signal EQ on each Input.

    SKY HD and HD DVD works well through both solutions.

    Joe
     

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