Components with DVI input or
output jacks are now hitting the shelves. The problem is that there is
usually only one jack on digital projectors, and you might have two
components with DVI outputs, such as a DVD player and high definition
Over the past few months, we have
received many inquiries from readers who have this exact problem.
What to do?
Get a DVI switcher.
Gefen has recently begun selling
DVI switchers, and is one of only a few sources for this product at present.
They make several types, including 4 inputs - 1 output, 2 inputs - 1 output,
and a 4x4 matrix switcher. The version reviewed here has the 2 inputs and 1
The HDTV Switcher is a 2x1
electronic design that is powered by a 5 volt DC wall wart. It comes with
two 6 foot DVI cables (you can opt out of the cables and save $25 if you
already have cables), and an IR remote control.
You simply connect your two
sources to the DVI-D jacks on the rear panel (photo above, left), and the TV
to the DVI-D jack on the front.
The front panel also has the jack
for the DC supply, a jack for an IR cable if you want to have the switcher
out of the line of sight for the remote, and a push button for selecting
Input 1 or Input 2. The remote also lets you select the input.
The switcher is high bandwidth for
1080i signals and is HDCP compliant.
The Gefen Switcher worked
flawlessly, switching between my two DVI sources (DVD player and satellite
box). Since not all cables work
with every DVI combination (some are single link and others are dual link),
I would suggest going ahead and getting the cables option with the switcher,
because they worked fine. Otherwise, you might find that you have no video
and think it is the switcher, when it is really just a cable mismatch.
I did not see any difference in
image quality between going direct and going through the switcher. However,
you may experience some glitches in the aspect ratio handling of the
display, as I did. This is probably due to the source suddenly losing its
lock to the display, or vice versa, in the DVI chain, which is digital, not
analog. However, this has nothing to do with the switcher. It is just a
problem that has to be solved in future DVI technology.
To our many readers who have
written in asking about DVI switchers, your problem is now solved with the
Gefen product. If you have more than two DVI sources, then get the 4x1
version. At $249, it is not cheap, but switching a high bandwidth digital
signal is not as easy as switching analog audio through RCA jacks. In the
future, we are going to see DVI and HDMI switchers built into processors and
receivers. But, that does not solve the here and now problem. Gefen has
taken care of it with their new product line, which appears to be very high
- John E. Johnson,