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Preparing to Test 6 HDMI Switches - Suggestions?

1852 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Grayleaf
In my daughter's room, I have long had a number of AV devices using mostly component video and toslink audio for switching purposes. The switch I've used most recently in her room is the Audio Authority 1154B, which is wonderful. (I've used source selector switches in the past including JVC JX-S777 and the Audio Authority 1154A).

Recently, I replaced her 26" Samsung LNS2651D TV with a 32" Samsung LN32B650. I also replaced her SoundMatters MainStage speaker (which does DD decoding, 2 analog, 2 digital inputs) with a Sharp HT-SB300 (narrower footprint does DD and DTS decoding, 2 analog, 2 digital inputs). I really don't need the DD or DTS decoding--great if it works in practice, but the simple design, easy-to-use remote with discrete selections that can be learned on other remotes, makes it a winner in my view.

Along with the items in the previous paragraph, I'm looking to replace her component video switch with an HDMI switch.

My underlying goal is to follow the KISS principle (keep it simple stupid) and make this system as easy to use as is possible. I don't want to install a receiver, multispeaker system, etc. Thus, the speaker arrangement I've chosen creates simulated soundfields--good enough.

The audio/video source devices in her room consist of:
  • TiVo HD (750GB HD) (HDMI)
  • Apple TV (250GB HD) (HDMI)
  • Sony 5-Disc DVD Changer (HDMI) DVP-NC800H/B
  • XBOX 360 (HDMI)
  • PS3 (HDMI)
  • Wii (Component Video Out, Analog Audio Out)
  • Apple Airport Express (Toslink Audio Out)

For all of the HDMI Switches I am going to evaluate, I can route Toslink Audio from the TV's optical out to the Sharp HT-SB300 optical in.

For two of the HDMI switches, I have the option of directing the optical audio output directly from the switch to the Sharp HT-SB300. This has the added benefit of being able to listen to content with the TV turned off.

Regarding the Wii, I have ordered a Gefen EXT-COMPAUD-2-HDMID which will convert the Wii's output (audio and video) to HDMI. We'll see if it is a seamless and high quality conversion.

For my Apple Airport Express, it serves the function of providing a 2.4GHz Wireless G network on one side of my home, but it also enables the streaming of iTunes content. For that I have a Siig CE-CTC012-S2 which enables me to take the toslink output from the Airport Express and route it to the coaxial digital input on the Sharp HT-SB300 speaker. (By the way, all devices with Ethernet ports in this setup have a hard wire switched gigabit Ethernet connection to my network)

The HDMI switches that I have ordered include:
  • Oppo HM-31 (3x1 HDMI) (I bought this last spring for a different purpose, but ended up using an Octava--so I can test this as well)
  • Octava HDDA52V13 (5X2 HDMI, Toslink) (Latest Firmware Installed)
  • PureLink HS-510 (5X1 HDMI)
  • MonoPrice 5081 (5X1 HDMI)
  • Impact Acoustics 40922 (5X1 HDMI)
  • Gefen EXT-HDMI-64 (6X2 HDMI, Toslink)

The evaluation criteria I've come up with so far (this is a copy/paste from an excel spreadsheet) include:

Picture Quality (Overall)

Switching Speed

Ease of Use, Remote Effectiveness

Audio Output Directly to Speaker?


Non-HD Playback

HD Playback

Netflix Playback

YouTube Playback
Apple TV

Visibility to Switch (Button Need to be pressed?)

Video Playback

Music Playback

YouTube Playback

DD Support?

DVD Playback
XBOX 360

Dolby Digital Support

XBOX Arcade Game (e.g., Castle Crashers)

XBOX Legacy Game (e.g., Halo)

XBOX Disc-Based Game (e.g., Guitar Hero)

Netflix Playback

Netflix HDCP Authentication?

Movie Playback (with DD Enabled)

Movie Playback (w/o DD Enabled)

Dolby Digital Support Work?

DTS Support Work?

PCM or Bitstream?

PS3 Arcade Game (e.g., Toy Home)

PS3 Legacy Game (e.g., Spyro Year of the Dragon)

PS3 Disc-Based Game (e.g., Spyro Dawn Dragon)

Blu-Ray Movie Playback (with DD Enabled)

Bu-Ray Movie Playback (with DTS Enabled)

Blu-Ray Movie Playback (with PCM Enabled)

Blu-Ray Movie Playback (with Bitstream Enabled)
These items were quickly typed up over the course of a few minutes last week. I haven't given it too much thought. I won't have the Gefen devices until this week so the testing will not occur until next week.

The reason that I'm writing here today...

I presume that others would benefit from the results of these tests since these switching devices are all current, as are my source devices. If anyone would offer tweaks or additions to my testing criteria, I'd be happy to incorporate it.

I drafted my wife to man the laptop (with excel spreadsheet) and offer her perception of the differences while I go through these tests. The more expensive units (e.g., Gefen, PureLink, etc.) will definitely go back to the store if they don't cut it, but I'll hang on to the Monoprice since it's so inexpensive.

One thing I did notice during my preliminary tests is the importance of completely powering down both TV and Switch while one switch device is disconnected and a new one connected. I'm sure some of you are thinking, well no-duh, but I'm just saying this to underscore that I get it.

Enough said for the time being...
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I'll keep it short and sweet since nobody cared enough to show interest.

I had some problems with these units:

* Impact Acoustics 40922 (5X1 HDMI)

* Octava HDDA52V13 (5X2 HDMI, Toslink) (Latest Firmware Installed)

* PureLink HS-510 (5X1 HDMI)

The units that performed pretty well are:

* MonoPrice 5081 (5X1 HDMI)
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I used the Monoprice 5x1 for awhile with good results.

I've been using their 8x1 HDMI switcher and have had no issues.

Greyleaf, good job on the testing. Someone may need the info months down the road.
I'm very interested. What were the problems? What was your test methodology, cabling/distance etc?
It was a simple test. All cables were 2M to 10ft. I had a variety of HDMI cables, all 1.3 certified.

The Purelink worked in general, but didn't seem to want to communicate with my PS3 (whereas all the other switches worked in the same situation).

The Octava had issues coming out of Netflix streaming mode on the XBOX 360. Significant discoloration issues.

The Octava would lose the Tivo HD audio, particularly if one entered the Netflix Streaming capability. The Toslink out on the Tivo worked fine though.

The Impact Acoustics, if memory serves, failed in some switching situations, for example, losing audio, not showing a picture.


The objective was to find a switch that always worked, and worked well. The Gefen (which cost $642 at ValleySeek) was expensive, but it had three things going for it:

(1) It always worked--period. In a couple other switch model tests, when switching back and forth, the toslink audio signal would stop working for some of the inputs. This was easily resolved by pausing the video and pressing play again. This never happened with the Gefen.

(2) It has 6 inputs. So, from one switch, I can support:

- Tivo HD

- Apple TV

- Sony DVD Changer w/HDMI Out

- XBOX 360

- PS3

- Nintendo Wii (using Gefen's Component+Analog Audio to HDMI)

(3) It has Toslink out at the switch, so I don't have to pull the audio from the TV. Thus, the Audio will work with the TV off if I so choose.

This wasn't scientific, just a test to weed out poor performers by subjecting them to a heavy demand as a kid is likely to do.
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