Review: JVC JX-S111 A/V Switcher

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jay Mitchosky, Jan 20, 2002.

  1. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    I read about this nifty product on another thread in the Games Forum. Many of us new Xbox owners share the dilemma of wanting to use this console's HD outputs but have run out of inputs on our monitors (mine is currently occupied by a DVD player and HDTV satellite receiver). The JVC JX-S111 A/V selector is an excellent, easily integrated solution that works exactly as advertised.
    First off, kudos to etronics. Not only did they provide the best price I found on the 'Net (US$74.99) but they also offered excellent service. When I decided to order this unit they (along with every other Internet supplier) were out of stock. Fortunately they offer an e-mail service when a selected product is back in stock. Just a few days after I requested notice I received an e-mail indicating the S111s were available. I called, ordered, and quickly received shipping confirmation via e-mail. The bigger surprise is that my package arrived only two days after I placed my order (from the US to Canada no less) pristinely packaged in an oversized box stuffed with foam peanuts. Although I have only dealt with this site on one occasion I have to give them an unqualified thumbs up. Thanks to the folks at etronics.
    FIT AND FINISH
    Out of the box the S111 is a very sturdy unit, housed in brushed aluminum with a heavy plastic faceplate. RCA and S-Video connections are standard grade and appear to be gold plated to prevent corrosion. They are seated tight in their housings and do not move when pressure is applied. The five input selector switches up front have a solid feel when depressed. The unit is heavier than I expected – it weighs in at 3 1/2 lbs. but feels heftier than that number would suggest. In the interest of keeping this thread's load time to a minimum click the following links for product shots...

    FEATURES
    There's not much to elaborate on here. This is a five input switcher for both audio and video signals. It can accommodate three (yep, three) component video signals and two S-or-composite signals. One of the S/composite connections is located in the front - a nice convenience feature for quick access to camcorders or such when the S111 is rack mounted. Output jacks are provided for both the component and S/composite signals. Note that the respective video signals are passed in their native format to the outputs – component is component, S-Video is S-Video, and composite is composite. There is no conversion from one signal to another (something that could not be properly achieved at anywhere near this price point). This is a passive switcher so no power cable is required. Pictures of the connections are provided in the following links...

    Note that the component connections are specified for 30mHz bandwidth - this should be fine for 480i/p sources but is not enough for full resolution 1080i or 720p. In other words a progressive scan DVD player or 480p Xbox games should not suffer signal degradation, at least at smaller screen sizes. I'll be keeping my HDTV receiver running straight into my TV and have my (still interlaced) DVD player and Xbox switched through the S111. The downside is that 1080i Xbox games (whenever they arrive) will suffer a bit of high frequency rolloff, but being a video game I'm not overly concerned. If you demand full HDTV compatibility from your switcher be prepared to shell out more than US$75. Or utilize the video sections of the newer receivers/processors that support full bandwidth component switching. The composite video frequency response is listed at 10mHz (although how much worse can that signal get?!!) and audio frequency response is listed at 0Hz-100kHz.
    For those interested in the size of the S111 I have taken some comparative pictures. The specified dimensions are 14 11/16" x 2 5/32" x 8 11/64" (WHD). I find it easier to use the following references to illustrate size...

    CONNECTIONS AND PERFORMANCE
    My rack is full so I have been relegated to a mobile Xbox - haul it out to play, store it to the side when not in use. To this end I have tried to hide as many connections as possible in keeping with my clean A/V setup (see HT link below). My Xbox HD pack resides behind my TV. Both the main system connector and A/C cable for the Xbox sit just under the front lip of my RPTV's grille - when it's time to play I just reach under and pull them forward. Behind the scenes the component cables from my DVD player and Xbox HD Pack are connected to input one and two (respectively) of the S111. The S111 also sits just under the lip of the TV's grille. By default I leave it selected to Video 1 so as not to mess up my system's automation with the Philips Pronto.

    When I connect the Xbox I just poke a finger under the grille and select Video 2. This may sound like a hassle, but the previous iteration had me a) hauling out the Xbox, b) connecting the Advanced A/V Pack to the S-Video and audio convenience inputs of my S-VHS player, and c) selecting the front input on my S-VHS player. Now all I do is click one button. Because this is a passive unit there is no heat generated so I'm not concerned about it being located in a relatively tight space. Also connected behind the set is the optical digital cable to the HD Pack.
    My primary concern is any adverse impact on DVD video performance. Games are games - I don't approach them with critical viewing in mind. DVD is another thing. In my system (Toshiba SD-9000 DVD player, Toshiba 50HX70 RPTV, MIT component video cables for DVD-to-S111 and S111-to-RPTV connections, TV calibrated up the whazoo) I cannot discern any difference in DVD video performance. Colors are still true, grayscale uniformity is still tight, black levels and contrast seem to be unchanged, detail is status quo, and there is no evidence of video noise or interference. On a larger screen or FPTV rig there may be noticeable differences, but for 480i from my DVD player (and 480p from the Xbox) everything is fine. On screen the change from one input to another is almost immediate following a brief (fraction of a second) transition to black.
    CONCLUSION
    The JVC S111 switcher works exactly as it is intended. It allows me to use three component video devices with two component connections on my RPTV with no perceptible signal degradation. Its limitations are that it can't support full HDTV signals given its relatively limited bandwidth, and the lack of remote control capability may be an issue for some users as it hampers automation efforts. It is built well and easily fits into most (if not all) systems. Connections are a breeze and the addition of the front panel inputs allows for added convenience and setup flexibility. The price is right at US$74.99 (from etronics at least - I've seen it as high as US$129 at other online vendors). If you're long on devices but short on inputs this may be the right solution for you. Highly recommended.
     
  2. Trevor Schell

    Trevor Schell Supporting Actor

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    Nice review Jay!,

    Sure like the way you have your X-box connected.

    Well Done.:u:

    Now all you need is the 900mhz wireless controller and you are set.

    I purchased the PS2 wireless version and it works very well.

    The only game out at this time that supports 1080i would be Madden 2002 Football.
     
  3. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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  4. Trevor Schell

    Trevor Schell Supporting Actor

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    Ike,

    I have the January edition of NextGen magazine which is titled as a special edition: Ultimate XBox reveiw guide.

    On page 44 there is a chart that lists the 30 games that were out at the time of print.

    They list each game and then indicate with a check mark which games support Dolby Digital 5.1 as well as HDTV.

    13 games on the list support 480p.

    One game supports 720p,this one being Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2.

    One game supports 1080i, that one being Madden NFL 2002.
     
  5. Gary King

    Gary King Second Unit

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    Trevor,
    Most magazines and websites have been *very* incorrect WRT that type of information - widescreen, 480P, and 5.1 support are topics you are much better off listening to owners here than magazine editors. For example, I saw a number of websites describe Red Faction for the PS2 featuring in-game 5.1 surround sound.
    I'm fairly certain that one of the requirements for Xbox certification is that games need to support 480p. Otherwise, PS2 ports such as SSX: Tricky would just default to 480i, like they do on the Cube.
    EDIT - Since you mention that the games were available at print time, that would mean most should be here: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...&threadid=8539
    I think NextGen's list is rather incomplete.
     
  6. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    Thanks for the tip Jay.
    This would come in handy for switching between my NEC LT150 and my XBox.
    Great post - useful pictures and you covered off the main technical points quite professionally!
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Kelley_B

    Kelley_B Cinematographer

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    very nice review! This sounds like something that I will be picking up soon to replace my RCA SVideo switcher.
     
  8. pitchman

    pitchman Screenwriter

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    Jay, I agree. This is one terrific product... and at an extremely attractive price-point!
    I also picked one up from Etronics (although if memory serves me correctly, mine was $69.99 plus shipping). Either way, it does exactly what it says it will... and does it quite well.
    Now, I can easily switch from my Xbox to my PS2 and my Sony carousel DVD player... and enjoy them in all their component video splendor. Highly recommended! [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Gary
     
  9. Dave F

    Dave F Cinematographer

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    That Next-Gen table is riddled with inaccuracies (with Tony Hawk 2x and Madden as the 2 biggest mess-ups).

    -Dave
     
  10. Trevor Schell

    Trevor Schell Supporting Actor

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  11. Stacey_V

    Stacey_V Stunt Coordinator

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    Jay...
    Thanks for taking the time to write your review, excellent job BTW. It is very timely, as I am in the same boat as you...too many devices, and not enough inputs. It was that damn Xbox that put me over the edge. [​IMG]
    Anyway, you mentioned above that you felt the S111 would not be ideal for switching High Def, due to it's limited signal bandwidth. Did you try it on your High def feed? I don't recall seeing this info above, forgive me if I somehow missed it.
    Also, where did you end up getting that cable organizer stuff? (Black coil stuff in pictures)
    Regards,
    Stacey
     
  12. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Stacey
    Funny that you mention the HD feed. Check out John Tillman's post in this thread. I repeated the link to this review in HT Hardware as it is relevant there also. John has had no trouble running 1080i through the S111 into a Pioneer Elite 610 RPTV. My comment above was based on the specs alone, and that (in general) 30mHz is too lean for HDTV. John has some different information that he provides.
    Re: the cable tubing. It's simple wiring loom that you can buy at any auto parts store (you probably have Parts Source stores in your area - big red buildings - go there). The sizes I use are 3/4" and 1/4" diameter. Just a long ribbed tube with a slot down its length. Really helps keeping things tidy and dirt cheap, 10 feet for C$7ish. Funny thing is you can buy the same stuff branded for A/V cable management and it will be twice the price (although you can find 1" tubing that way, whereas the biggest automotive wiring loom I've seen is 3/4"). This stuff is a life saver. Even though you can't see my cabling (Xbox connections notwithstanding) it really helps keep things behind the TV organized. In an exposed rack it's worth its weight in gold.
     
  13. Rob Varto

    Rob Varto Supporting Actor

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    I also have the JVC switch box and couldn't be happier.

    PS - I doubt Madden 2k2 supports 1080i, I've played it and the graphics are not much (if at all) better than the PS2 version.
     
  14. Jay W

    Jay W Supporting Actor

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    Same here Rob, I've tried both the games in question and they are both in 480p afaik.
     

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