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low budge, receiver alternative for folks w/ HTiB

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#1 of 1 OFFLINE   JasonGabler



  • 14 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 01 2004

Posted August 29 2005 - 05:29 AM

My set up below is pretty much the lowest-budget you can go and have anything you can, even begrudgingly, call "home theater". We just can't afford a ~$800 receiver for what I'd *really* like to do. So, I pondered a bit and realized I needed a very versatile AV selector. Combined with my HTiB I just might be able to do most of what I want. Well, I found such an AV selector and thought some of you low(est)-budget types would like to know. Its a Pelican PL-960A which I bought from BestBuy for about $100. Its really a switch box for gaming devices (e.g. Playtation, XBox, etc), but its been great for my HT setup. It may not provide the 100% best/correct signals that you all who buy Monster cables and $1000 receivers are used to, but then this is the low(est)-budget post, right?

The unit hooks up 8 components (7 rear, 1 front). Inputs 1 through 3, in the rear, have composite video, component video, s-video, TOS audio, coax digi audio, analog 2ch audio, ethernet (for online gaming). Inputs 4 through 7, in the rear, are lacking the TOS, coax and ethernet. Input 8, on the front, has 2ch audio, s-video and composite.

Be careful, when I went to buy it, the black-cased units did not have IR control capability. Only the silver units did. Look for the "Now with remote control!" sticker on the box, or something like that. I have already created a RemoteMaster (JP-1 stuff) definition for it and will up load it to the JP-1 forums soon.

My setup is, as far as the I/O that's useful to me, so I'm leaving some inputs and outputs out of the list:

Sony DAV-FC7 HTiB (acts as audio receiver and DVD player)
- audio IN: TOS 5.1, 2CH analog
- audio OUT: 5.1 speakers
- video OUT: component

Toshiba TV (oldish 32" glass)
- video IN: s-video, composite

Infocus X1 Projector (HD looks phenomenal)
- video IN: component 480p , component 1080i

Motorolla HD Digital Cable box:
- video OUT: component 1080i, composite
- audio OUT: TOS 5.1, 2CH analog

Playstation 2 (using component cables)
- video OUT: component 480p
- audio OUT: 2CH analog

Ye Old Sharp VCR
- video OUT: composite
- audio OUT: 2CH analog

Although the Pelican unit only has on output, it has an output for each type of input. This is where things start to work really well for this combination. The Sony HTiB happily plays whichever audio is currently hot, so I plug all the audio outs into the HTiB. S-video and composite outs go to the TV, and component to the projector. The Cable box runs all three video outs at the same time and this makes it a breeze to switch between using the TV or the projector - infact I can use both at the same time.

The only catch is that the Pelican unit has no up or down conversion. And that's the feature that seems to double the cost of any decent A/V receiver. So, I cannot use the Playstation2, with its component cables, on the TV and sometimes I have to play with the output format from the cable box depending on if I am watching HD or not on the TV or the projector - this, however can be avoided by giving up some screen real estate and living with a smaller 4:3 video in 16:9 aspect ration. But that's when I'm watching non-HD cable and I might as well watch on the glass TV anyway.

So, for maybe as little as 10% of the price, I got about 90% of what I really wanted. Not bad, eh?


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