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HD Video Switching - Inexpensive Solution


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#1 of 193 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted December 04 2002 - 06:34 AM

I'm seeing lots of people consider a new receiver because suddenly they have 3 or more component video sources. And these sources are now progressive or HD quality so they need the higher 24-30 Mhz bandwidth. This means considering a flagship receiver.

But many people already have a good receiver, but without enough/any component inputs.

So I have been trying to find a HD capable video switcher that does not run $500 like the professional gear.

I finally found the Audio Authority 1154 video switcher for about $195.

Posted Image

This thing handles 4 HD Video sources and both Optical and coaxial digital audio as inputs. It has one HD video output and BOTH optical and coaxial outputs. (Yes, it converts). This means you can have a mix of coaxial and optical audio sources (DVD, XBox, HDTV decoder), but they all get converted to optical or coaxial.

They also have versions for Composite and SVideo switchers.

If anyone has other solutions, please post them here.

1/24/2003 - Update

Several people on a budget have bought some Radio Shack switchers for $40-$60 and say it works fine to feed XBox, PS-DVD players into HDTV's. While I STRONGLY suggest buying a true HD switcher rather than a whole new receiver, these box's are an option:

15-1976 - 4 input, 1 output manual switcher: $40
15-1977 - 4 input, 1 output remote switcher: $60
15-1987 - 6 input, 2 output w/optical remote: $150
(Note: if you are in this price range, you should be looking at the Audio Authority, Inday, Zektor units)

The Keohi Video Switch Comparison

Inday Switcher
Zektor Switcher


The CopperBox Retail Site

The IScan Pro page. This cool device takes Composite or SVideo or Component and up-converts all 3 to 480 progressive. This was THE unit to have before the built-in line doublers on HDTV's became as good as they are today.

The JVC JX-S111 Switcher

2/3/2003 update Here is a link to someone who got the Zektor Switcher. I thought I should include a link.

2/6/2003 Someone else posted a quote from the "Secrets of Home Theater" site about video switching that I thought was on-topic for this thread:

Quote:
excerpted from the 'Secrets' review of the Anthem AVM-20:

"I, like most of my colleages at Secrets, am not fond of video switchers. Given the option, I will always run video directly from source to display. But with a multi-zone controller as powerful as the AVM-20, it only makes sense to have it. The video switch boasts a published bandwidth of 100Mhz (-3dB) which should be sweet for DVD's 480p. In pro-video circles, 3 to 5 times the bandwidth is regarded as being required for "safe passage", questioning the AVM-20's ability for 1080p material. However, to put it in perspective, not only was I unable to get good enough test equipment to check it but had I, I would have had no 1080p source to test it with! Given that HDTV set top boxes roll off their output anyway, I'm not going to lose sleep over such technicalities."

2/18/03

Someone was kind enough to post a link to a Component Video Distribution Amp : CE Labs AV400C but while it appears to work for Progressive/HD video, it does not appear to specify that it's HD rated.

6/14/03

Here is a link to AV Toolbox AVT-5842 which is a bright green 4-input, 2-output HD switcher. It does not appear to do digital-audio, but does switch L/R audio. Not bad for ~$90.

Posted Image Posted Image

Someone posted about the Sima Video Converter that not only switches component video, but up-converts composite & SVideo to component. Nice, but in the $800 range.

#2 of 193 OFFLINE   Greg Kolinski

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Posted December 04 2002 - 11:28 PM

ssooooo ,let me get this straight.....with this I can convert the S-video that comes from my DSS sat box to componant for mt HDTV???PLEASE tell me it s soPosted Image

Greg

OOPS, I reread you post,it wont do it will it??Mater of fact ,is it even possible to convert Svideo to componant??Posted Image
The more I learn about this stuff ,the dumber I get

#3 of 193 OFFLINE   Mauricio_BR

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Posted December 04 2002 - 11:38 PM

Greg,

I´m afraid not.

What it will convert is the digital audio signals.

You cannot extract the VC video signla from S-vhs just because it´s not there (as its needed).

B R

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#4 of 193 OFFLINE   Jay_E

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Posted December 05 2002 - 02:28 AM

There is a simliar model from inday for $168 that has been around for quite some time. The main difference is that it is remote controllable (rather than auto sense switching) and it does not switch audio. I don't think that the lack of audio switching is that big of a deal as long as your AV receiver has enough inputs. Most receivers have only 2 component inputs, but they usually have many more digital inputs (my Onkyo 898 has 7). It's nice to have reasonably priced options.

Jay

#5 of 193 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted December 05 2002 - 11:14 AM

Jay: Thank you for the link to Inday. I like the remote-control ability.

But when you think about how to hook things up, I think the Audio Authority box might work a little better.

Lets thrash this out:

AUDIO AUTHORITY:

You hook your XBox, DVD player, HDTV decoder to the AA box. You run the output directly to the TV and the digital-audio to the ... DVD input on your receiver.

To Use: fire up the source and switch the receiver to "DVD". The AA box takes care of both the audio and video as you flip between DVD/HDTV/Game

INDAY UNIT:

You run all the video through the Inday box, then to the TV, but run the digital audio from each device through your receiver.

To Use: Fire up the source then use the recevier remote to pick the audio source, then use the Inday remote to pick the video source.

A bit more work with the Inday unit unless you have a remote that can do macros for you.

Quote:
with this I can convert the S-video that comes from my DSS sat box to componant for mt HDTV???PLEASE tell me it s so

Greg, check out the IScan Pro from Digital Image. It will do what you want (but not for $200 Posted Image).

#6 of 193 OFFLINE   Jay_E

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Posted December 05 2002 - 11:32 AM

Quote:
A bit more work with the Inday unit unless you have a remote that can do macros for you.
I can't imagine anyone with a reasonably good HT system not having a remote with macro capability. I'm sure some people don't have one, but for me (and especially for my family)a good remote with macro capability is a must have. Considering you can buy one for as cheap as $19 (radio shack or OFA) it's a no brainer.

I have a pronto 1000 and a RadioShack 15-1994 and most of the time I use the RS. With it I control an Onkyo 898, Mits. HDTV, RCA DTC100, Sony UTV, JVC 723 DVD, JVC S-VHS, and X10 lighting. I don't use my receiver for video switching of HDTV and progressive DVD so macros are a must. I only use it to switch s-video and composite. Most normal viewing activites are accomplished with one button macros. It certainly helps that all of my equipment has the necessary discrete remote codes.

Jay

#7 of 193 OFFLINE   Craig_Kg

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Posted December 05 2002 - 11:53 AM

Looking at the Inday site, the cheaper RGB4X model doesn't come with a remote but will learn the codes used by your system remote to switch sources so you just need to click your remote at the receiver and then at the switcher. If they are close together, then just the one remote click should switch both - no macroing needed.

This is VERY neat! Posted Image
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#8 of 193 OFFLINE   Aaron H

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Posted December 05 2002 - 02:22 PM

Anyone here with actual experience with the Audio Authority? I have been looking at both of these for a while now. Yes, the Inday is nice with the IR codes. They even have the pronto codes on the website. With macro's, this would be a piece of cake.

But if the Audio Auth. works as promised, it has its place, too. I'm considering the Pioneer 43TX which has only 4 digital inputs. With a PS2, XBOX, DVD player and HDTV tuner, these run out very quickly. The digital audio switching of the AA looks very nice. Just gotta be sure that it switches properly.

Aaron

#9 of 193 OFFLINE   Joe Brasi

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Posted December 06 2002 - 01:04 AM

What's the bandwidth for these switching boxes. Obviously this is very important for HDTV, since it needs to be about 50 mhz+ to switch HDTV without worry. 24-30 Mhz is NOT enough to display 1080i without signal loss or degredation.

#10 of 193 OFFLINE   Aaron H

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Posted December 06 2002 - 01:17 AM

From the Inday site:

"Very Wideband. Greater then 230MHz."

Aaron

#11 of 193 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted December 06 2002 - 03:03 AM

Quote:
What's the bandwidth for these switching boxes

CRAP! Nothing on the site says it's HD compatible, neither does the PDF Manual. Let me give them a call...

Ok, the Audio Authority people claim that there is a 3 db drop at 100 Mhz for the 1154 switcher.

My understanding is that as long as the drop is less than 15 db for TWICE your maximum frequency, the device (cable or switcher) has enough bandwidth.

(I grumbled at the guy for not posting on the web site or in the manual that the switcher is HD compatible.)

#12 of 193 OFFLINE   Luke_Y

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Posted December 08 2002 - 08:47 AM

Quote:
it needs to be about 50 mhz+ to switch HDTV without worry. 24-30 Mhz is NOT enough to display 1080i without signal loss or degredation.


Do you really need 50+ MHz bandwidth to pass HD without degradation? I have heard a bit less.
Luke

#13 of 193 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted December 08 2002 - 03:30 PM

As the frequency gets higher, some rolloff will happen.

For a coaxial-cable, the rule-of-thumb is to look at the highest frequency you expect to send (35 Mhz), Double this value (70 Mhz). Then look at the ammount of roll-off the cable has at 70 Mhz. If it's less than 15 db - the cable is acceptable.

In truth: as long as the 35 Mhz signal is not degraded by more than 15 db - you COULD say it's HD compatible. But I'd prefer to know what the cable/device does at 70 or 100 Mhz and know that the cable/device has lots of headroom.

#14 of 193 OFFLINE   Luke_Y

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Posted December 10 2002 - 10:15 AM

Bob, thanks for the reply. I think I follow you. My confusion comes from a few areas. Reading several posts saying that you need 50-100 MHz to pass HD without degrading it some, reading several posts that state you need significantly less than that to pass without degrading, then also seeing all the new receivers advertising 100 MHz switching implying that that much bandwidth is required.

Crutchfield lists the component switching bandwidth of my 3802 as 27 MHz in their specs, but when you look at the spec pg on the Denon site for the 3802 they don't give the bandwidth but do state;

"• 2 sets component video inputs, compatible with wideband (480p, 720p, 1080i) response for progressive DVD, DTV •"

So what do you think ? Are the stats at Crutchfield wrong or is Denon a bit misleading in their description?
Luke

#15 of 193 OFFLINE   Aaron H

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Posted December 10 2002 - 10:25 AM

I would tend to believe that Denon is being a little mis-leading. Sure, the component inputs are "compatable" with a HDTV source, but they don't say whether or not the signal is degraded at all. I would say that a component input with 5Mhz bandwith is "compatable" with a HDTV tuner. But I sure wouldn't want to do it.

For me, I'm going to stick to one of these switchers that have 100+ MHz bandwidth. I remember several posts where people said that they have 1080i going thru the 3802 and didn't notice any degregation. So maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. Easy for me to say, I guess, since I'm still trying to decide what to buy and can use this info in my decision. Not so easy for someone who already has a receiver.

I do know the overwhelming thought is to by-pass all of the video around the receiver and go directly into the TV. And these switchers come in handy when you run out of inputs on the TV.

Aaron

#16 of 193 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted December 10 2002 - 02:37 PM

To be honest, people have run HD video through older receivers and not noticed any signal problems. The roll-off of the higher frequencies takes either trained eyes or electronic equipment to measure.

So even if the Dennon units only have 27 Mhz bandwidth - I think it's quite safe to consider it HD compatible.

#17 of 193 OFFLINE   RobertR

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Posted December 10 2002 - 03:49 PM

I guess the 350 MHz bandwidth of my Extron switcher is overkill...

#18 of 193 OFFLINE   Luke_Y

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Posted December 11 2002 - 11:26 AM

Bob, thats sort of what I was thinking, and what I was figuring Denon was insinuating. What kind of things would a "trained eye" notice if the signal was being degraded by limited bandwidth? A general softening, artifacts, or what?

Thanks, I always find your posts quite informative.
Luke

#19 of 193 OFFLINE   Ian C

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Posted December 11 2002 - 02:14 PM

I have Audio Authority's S-video/optical auto-sensing switcher. It works, but it is picky with the cables, and my Gamecube will not work with it at all. Perhaps I need better cables for the Gamecube as well, but it's just not worth it. The box also sometimes doesn't automatically switch (get sound, but no video or vice versa), but if you play around with it then it will work.

Overall, I think I paid $130 for it...cheaper than a new receiver, but once I upgrade receivers I will be selling it along with my old receiver. However, it has overall done its job, although its a tempermental little beast.

Ian

#20 of 193 OFFLINE   Andy Anderson

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Posted December 12 2002 - 06:14 AM

Quote:
Looking at the Inday site, the cheaper RGB4X model doesn't come with a remote but will learn the codes used by your system remote to switch sources so you just need to click your remote at the receiver and then at the switcher. If they are close together, then just the one remote click should switch both - no macroing needed.


Craig-

Yup, however, read closer--the cheaper Inday model is remote controllable, but does not have discrete codes for each video input--that is, it makes you cycle through each input until you have the right one. For example, if you have all 4 inputs hooked up, and you are currently watching input #2--if you want to switch back to input #1, you have to go "Input--input--input" Essentially, you need to send 3 commands to the box. With the slightly more expensive model, it contains discrete remote codes for each input so that you can easily access any input with just one remote command. This is a cool thing for folks with macro-enabled remotes. If you have the cheaper box, you can't really use the sdame macro unless you always start out on the same input channel.

Bob-

I had also considered the AA switcher--great bang for the buck, but then I started thinking of a couple things--if I used it to switch both video and audio, I'd lose my reciever's switching features (different audio settings for each input, etc.) Also, I use my DVD player as a CD player (I know, I know)--If I set my priority levels this way (from lowest to highest) HDTV receiver, DVD player, Xbox--then if I ever was playing a CD on the DVD player--I'd never be able to see my HDTV STB. Not a huge deal, but it could be an annoyance.

I'm probably going to go with the Inday RGB4X-R due to it's remote switchability. I'm the king of macros, and I think this will work best for me. Both switches are reviewed on this (very helpful) site:
http://www.keohi.com...s/switches.html
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