1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Which DVI Switcher - Recommendations ?

Discussion in 'LCD & LED LCD TVs' started by DrWatson, Apr 23, 2005.

  1. DrWatson

    DrWatson
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2005
    Messages:
    33
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Ratings:
    +0
    Hello, apologies if this thread is in the incorrect forum. This is my first post.
    I recently purchased a Philips PF9976 LCD and four weeks on I am still amazed at the picture quality. But .... I have this problem, one DVI socket. I have a PC (DVI) and an XBOX high def kit. (DVI) with the prospect of a DVD player (DVI) and the upcoming Sky HTDV (HDMI to DVI). So four DVI sockets required. My solution - as I am sure you are all thinking the same - A DVI switcher. Wow, these things are expensive and there seem to be few manufacturers around; GEFEN, ATEN, OPHIT & DTROVISION.

    Does anybody on this forum own one or can somebody recommend a particular manufacturer ? I don't want to shell out a lot of money for a donkey.

    Thanks
    Dr. W.
     
  2. LcdGuru

    LcdGuru
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I think they're still in the low-volume premium-pricing phase at the moment - cost of parts is <£30 but purchase prices seem to be >£200. Better to wait until they become more common.

    I was also wondering if it's possible to make a very cheap 'passive' DVI switcher - in which the serial data lines are switched (electronically) - rather than decoding then re-encoding the stream. Should work OK provided your in/out cable lengths aren't too long. In this case the cost of parts would be <£10.
     
  3. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
    Distinguished Member AVForums Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2002
    Messages:
    23,762
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    The Borders
    Ratings:
    +2,464
    DrWatson

    I own what we sell - if you know what I mean :)

    We like to test everything we supply so we always have them to hand whenever we have a new combination of source and display kit to work with.

    We stock the Gefen and Zektor DVI switchers and have a fair few others we can source pretty quickly.

    One thing you need to be aware of if your planning on mixing and matching PC and Home Theatre signals is HDCP on the likes of HDMI equipped DVD players and the upcoming SKY HD offerings.

    A lot of the DVI switchers you see are non HDCP so keep that in mind when your looking at the spec sheets.

    Its also worth looking at the 'usability' of some of these units - many of them are designed for IT systems so not very easy to operate 'seamlessly' in a Home system; the lowest cost units may not have IR and some that do don't then have push buttons.

    You also need to factor in how you switch your audio sources if your running out of Inputs on your AV Receiver or Display.

    The 'best' Home Theatre solution we've found is the Zektor DVS5.1 - though its also at the top of the budget tree; see http://www.zektor.com/dvs51/index.html

    PM me if you have specifics on anything in the Gefen range and I'll see if I can answer your questions.

    Best regards

    Joe

    PS LcdGuru - there are loads of DVI products and applications in the Presentation, IT, Broadcast and Event markets; I don't see there being wholesale price drops in the near future. The companies producing these units have been in the 'switching' and integration markets for a long time and are already 'volume' manufacturers.
     
  4. Rob1698

    Rob1698
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Of course those markets are not really 'volume' markets when compared to home TV.
    When a DVI/HDMI switches becomes a common item found in every home TV installation, of course the prices are going to come down. Not because Gefen or Zektor would be able to drop their prices, but because the production is taken up by taiwanese no-name manufacturers and they are sold under the usual shop brandnames.
     
  5. LcdGuru

    LcdGuru
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I'm confused about why a switcher needs to be HDCP compliant:

    I understand the host and display exchange encryption key information via the I2C lines on the DVI connector (pins 6 & 7). Therefore, so long as these pins are transparently routed by the switcher everything should work as if the host and display were connected directly right??

    I'm not sure whether a non-HDCP DVI receiver & transmitter can be used to buffer an encrypted stream though. If this is a problem then a 'passive' switcher which doesn't attempt to decode the serial data would be best :)
     
  6. jimg

    jimg
    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Messages:
    826
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Ratings:
    +58
    I must admit I would have thought it did not need to "understand" any protocols. I do not see why it cannot just be an electronic switch? I would not mind if it did not have a remote facility ( one less to worry about ) as I would only change source when I switched between watching a DVD and TV, and I guess I can get off the sofa once in a while! :rolleyes:
     
  7. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
    Distinguished Member AVForums Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2002
    Messages:
    23,762
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    The Borders
    Ratings:
    +2,464
    Hello all

    If you look at the Gefen product range and product numbering (which is not always the easiest to follow :)) you'll see DVI and HDTV 'DVI' or HDMI switchers - on the whole the DVI switchers will not transmit an HDCP signal whilst the HDTV products will; though there are a few exceptions.

    This is also true with the likes of Extron, AutoPATCH, Kramer etc - the DVI switchers for the IT market generally wont carry HDCP and you can end up with your HDCP enabled source not communicating with the HDCP enabled Display that's up-stream of the switcher.

    There are some products that actually 'strip' the HDCP signal - but that's another story!

    jimg - the 'beauty' of the Zektor switchers is that they 'learn' the IR from other devices; you program the relevant Input to 'react' to the IR code your AV Receiver uses when you 'select' a new source to listen to and the video switcher switches in tandem.

    Where your also using the Zektor to switch Digital Audio along with Digital Video there's even a function to allow you to 'separate' the Video from the audio so you can cycle through various Audio sources whilst retaining the Video source you want to view.

    Best regards

    Joe

    PS This may be worth a quick read - http://www.gefen.com/kvm/news/RecentNews9.jsp
     
  8. DrWatson

    DrWatson
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2005
    Messages:
    33
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Ratings:
    +0
    Joe, the Zektor does indeed look a very good switcher. But, if the wife saw the price she would divorce me! LOL. I begrudge paying so much money for what - in my mind - seems a simple piece of electronics ? I think the GEFEN maybe my choice of switch, it is not the cheapest but seems to fit my requirements. It is a shame that it appears to be twice the price over here than in the States and I am 'slightly' concerned about its susceptibility to 'stray' IR signals which causes intermitent channel hopping (see GEFENs forums). Theres is too little information around about the other manufacturers. I will email you. Many thanks for everyones input on this post.
     
  9. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
    Distinguished Member AVForums Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2002
    Messages:
    23,762
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    The Borders
    Ratings:
    +2,464
    Hello DrWatson

    I look forward to your mail message - a fair few Zektor units are supplied on a 'stealthy install' basis; they are quite easy to integrate without being spotted ;)

    We had a few problems last year with some of the Gefen DVI switchers - though of late we've not had the IR conflict issues on the latest DVI and HDMI switchers.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  10. DrWatson

    DrWatson
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2005
    Messages:
    33
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Ratings:
    +0
    The Zektor was slightly too much so I bought an Ophit DMS-R201 - until Sky and HD DVD become available anyway. The switch seems to perform Ok however the power is taken off the DVI cable. So people, if you an XBOX high definition kit using a component with a DVI adaptor don't bother with this switch - because the XBOX will never power up the switch (a slight gripe).

    My biggest gripe is Ophits technical / customer service. The R201 has a 5V input and I was hoping to get my XBOX to display a picture if I used this, so I thought I would pose the question. Well... don't bother sending these people an email. You will receive a read receipt and nothing else. No matter how many people you ask.

    In light of this I strongly discourage anyone from purchasing an Ophit. Consider another manufacturer because these people obviously don't seem to care.
     
  11. ianh64

    ianh64
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2004
    Messages:
    2,233
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    SW London/Surrey borders
    Ratings:
    +63
    Will this unit seriously switch the analogue part of the DVI-I signal? All the switches that I have seen only switch the DVI-D part of the signal so it would not work with a component/VGA to DVI-I convertor.
     
  12. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
    Distinguished Member AVForums Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2002
    Messages:
    23,762
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    The Borders
    Ratings:
    +2,464
    Dr Watson

    So maybe Zektor (on-line user Forum, UK support etc...) and Gefen (UK support) are not too expansive after all when you look at the complete package on offer!

    ianh64 is correct in that very few if any DVI switchers are DVI-I compatible - you'll need to convert the YUV Analogue signal to a Digital signal before it'll work with a DVI switcher.

    Best regards

    Joe
     

Share This Page

Loading...