Saturday, February 18, 2006

AV Switches

Joytech AV Control Center 240C

- $90 at best buy. Hard to find now. Mostly sold out.
- 6 component (7th input on the front is composite/svideo only)
- 4 optical
- remote with descrete IR codes for each input
- custom LCD display (5 chars max). Label each input anything you want.
- Backlight turns on briefly only when turning on the unit or switching inputs.
- Picture does NOT jump/roll during bright contrast scenes.
- Quality looks good for the most part with ONE exception. On an xbox over component 480p if you use the optical audio hookup it for some unkown reasons generates an "interference" like pattern that is only really visible on black or really dark scenes when sitting close. If you unplug the optical cable then it immediately clears up and the picture looks fine. This is consistent across all 4 inputs that have optical. Of course the other 2 component inputs look fine since they don't have optical inputs. I've tried two different units from two best buys and they both behave exactly the same so this issue is systemic.
- I've read reports of rolling/screen jitter during very bright scenes. This seems to only happen with CRT's. I never experienced this since I'm using a LCD flat panel.


Score(Pelican) Universal System Selector Pro 2.0

- $100 at gamestop ($80 at frys)
- 5 component (6th input on the front is composite/svideo only)
- 3 optical
- remote with descrete IR codes for each input
- LCD desplay only lets you toggle between preset labels. You can't write your own.
- Backlight is on all the time.
- Picture does NOT jump/roll during bright contrast scenes.
- Quality looks very good on input one. But on inputs 2-5 there were various problems. Several inputs showed lots of wavey lines, one looked completely purple. I exchanged it for another unit (from a different gamestop even). This time different inputs were broken and exhibited similar problems. Input 1 was always perfect but at least 2-3 of the other inputs were really really bad. It seems there is a major build quailty issue. I ended up returning it.

If you can find a working unit the Score isn't too bad for the money. Right now I'm learning to live with the Joytech. The distortion really isn't noticeable during gameplay. Besides I really need the 4 way optical switch with remote. The cheapest I found that is for $90 so think of the video switching as a bonus.

What I'm really waiting for is this joytech switch:
4 way component, 4 way optical, with remote, $99 retail
It's suppose to be out in a couple of months. I hope it fixes the optical interference issue.
UPDATE: It seems to be out now:

Additional info:

4 way optical switch with remote: (not sold anymore?) ($120) (3 way manual)

cheap way to combine two optical (as long as both devices aren't on at the same time)


THE top of the line (and the most expensive):

Other higher priced tier options:

4 way component only switch

4 port HDMI switch

5 port HDMI switch

another hdmi/video only switch: - thanks curtis104

3 way component/optical with remote $65 + 11 shipping (never heard of these guys: (review) - thanks 13th shadow

UPDATE 4/9/06
A new switch: Psyclone Source Selector PSC01 just showed up at Best Buy for $100. It's a 4 way component all with optical. My friend just got one so I should have more info soon. He says the quality is great. No loss in picture quality. The only drawback, and it's a pretty big one, no discrete remote IR codes. You only get up/down select buttons.

UPDATE: 11/26/06

- Psyclone PSC01 Component Switch with the new 7 button advance remote
- $105 at best buy
- You can't tell by the box if it has the new remote. Just open the box (it's not sealed) and the remote should be taped to the center of the switch. Just look for the extra buttons.
- I tested all 4 ports with X360 over component 720p with optical 5.1 sound. It all worked perfectly with excellent video quality across all 4 ports. Quality is better than the Joytech 240c.
- The new remote is great with discreet input selection.
- Switching is smooth and pop free.
- I didn't test the ethernet since I have a dedicated 16 port ethernet switch I'm already using.
- 4 sets of inputs each with component, composite, s-video, and optical. 1 set of outputs.
- LCD display which you can customize. It seems to stay lit (and it's pretty bright) all the time unlike the joytech which fades to black after a few seconds.

This is hands down my new favorite near $100 switch with great functionality, quality, and value.

UPDATE 12/17/07
- I reviewed the Monoprice 5X1 HDMI switch (REV 2.1) at the end of this post:

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